Billionaire Jim Clark, who sold estate near Palm Beach for record $173 million, buys house

A trust associated with billionaire Jim Clark, who co-founded Netscape, has paid  a recorded $12 million for a  1.2-acre waterfront estate in Wellington. Clark, who for years lived in Palm Beach, earlier this year sold his estate in nearby Manalapan for $173 million, a Florida residential record.
A trust associated with billionaire Jim Clark, who co-founded Netscape, has paid a recorded $12 million for a 1.2-acre waterfront estate in Wellington. Clark, who for years lived in Palm Beach, earlier this year sold his estate in nearby Manalapan for $173 million, a Florida residential record.

Billionaire Jim Clark, who set Florida residential price record this summer when he sold his estate near Palm Beach for $173 million, has closed a $12-million deal to buy a waterfront house in western Palm Beach County.

Clark bought 12365 Cypress Island Way in Wellington through the same trust he used to buy and sell his estate in Manalapan, the wealthy town south of Palm Beach. Clark sold his 22.44 acres in Manalapan in June to software billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp.

Clark, an internet pioneer who co-founded Netscape, was a longtime Palm Beach resident before he bought the estate in Manalapan.

Jim Clark
Jim Clark

The estate Clark’s trust just purchased in Wellington consists of a four-bedroom house and a separate three-bedroom guesthouse on 1.22 acres in the Cypress Island development of the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club. In all, the buildings have 16,275 square feet of living space, inside and out, property records show.

With about 278 feet of water frontage, the house faces a canal across from a golf course.

Known for its equestrian facilities, Wellington lies about 20 miles west of Palm Beach.

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The Wellington deal was “the largest sale ever in Palm Beach Polo & Country Club,” said the listing agent, David Welles of Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty. He declined further comment.

The sellers were equestrian Ellen Van Dyke Holtgers, who acted as trustee of a revocable trust in her name, and her husband, Ansgar Holtgers, according to the deed recorded Monday.

The Wellington estate billionaire Jim Clark's trust just bought at 12365 Cypress Island Way in Wellington has a four-bedroom main house and a separate three-bedroom guesthouse.
The Wellington estate billionaire Jim Clark's trust just bought at 12365 Cypress Island Way in Wellington has a four-bedroom main house and a separate three-bedroom guesthouse.

The property was last listed at $13.25 million, according to the multiple listing service. It had been on the market previously at $12.5 million until the listing dropped out of the MLS. It re-entered the market at the higher price about four months ago, Welles’ listing shows.

Agent Maria Mendelsohn of Douglas Elliman Real Estate represented Clark’s interest in the deal, the MLS shows.

Ellen Holtgers trust paid a recorded $11 million for the estate in 2015, a couple of years after the traditional-style house was bult.

Clark’s former Manalapan estate was one of a kind

The 2000 S. Ocean Blvd. Trust, which Clark used to buy the house, is named after the address of his former Manalapan estate. Clark bought that estate and part of a nearby island in February 2021 for a combined price recorded at $94.37 million, although sources familiar with the transaction said more than $100 million actually changed hands in the 2021 deal.

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Clark had purchased the Manalapan property from the billionaire Ziff family, which made its fortune in publishing and investments. The bulk of the Manalapan estate measures 15.65 acres, but the slice of nearby Bird Island in the Intracoastal Waterway brought the land total to 22.44 acres, according to property records.

In June, a trust linked to billionaire Jim Clark sold, for a recorded $173 million, this massive ocean-to-lake estate, seen in the foreground, in Manalapan near Palm Beach. The deal set a Florida residential sales record, and the buyer was a company controlled by software billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp.
In June, a trust linked to billionaire Jim Clark sold, for a recorded $173 million, this massive ocean-to-lake estate, seen in the foreground, in Manalapan near Palm Beach. The deal set a Florida residential sales record, and the buyer was a company controlled by software billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp.

With dense vegetation and a park-like setting, the Manalapan property is truly one of a kind. It has about 1,200 feet of beach frontage and about 1,300 feet of waterfront on the irregularly shaped side facing the Intracoastal Waterway. Together, the main residence and several outbuildings offer nearly 85,000 square feet of living space, inside and out, with 33 bedrooms. An underground tunnel beneath South Ocean Blvd. connects the main house on the ocean parcel to the residence’s front entry on the lake portion.

Clark has a net worth estimated by Forbes.com at $2.8 billion. His wealth ranked him in 389th place on the latest edition of the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.

In June, Clark told the Wall Street Journal that he and his wife, Kristy, were selling the property because they weren’t spending as much time in Florida as they had anticipated when they bought the estate. He described their decision to buy it in 2021 — about a year into the coronavirus pandemic — as a “spur-of-the-moment purchase.”

The Clarks have homes in New York City and Bedford, New York.

Jim Clark co-founded Netscape, one of the first commercial web browsers, and more recently established CommandScape, a South Florida-based company focusing on high-tech building-management systems for commercial properties and large residential estates.

The native Texan also was involved in the founding of WebMD and Shutterfly.

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Clark restored, enlarged landmark estate in Palm Beach

In Palm Beach, Clark was well known for restoring and expanding Il Palmetto, the landmarked ocean-to-lake estate he owned for nearly 20 years at 1500 S. Ocean Blvd. on the stretch of coastal road known to locals as Billionaires Row.

Clark sold that 5.14-acre estate in 2018 in a closed-door, off-market deal in which as much as $90 million changed hands, sources have told the Palm Beach Daily News. The estate is today the home of construction and energy mogul Leo Vecellio and his wife, Kathryn.

In April 2021, Clark sold another Palm Beach house at 120 Jungle Road for $30.08 million, records show.

Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates handled both sides of the deals when Clark parted with his properties in Palm Beach and Manalapan.

West Palm Beach attorney Ronald Kochman is the trustee of the Clark-controlled trust that just bought the Wellington estate. Kochman declined to comment, and Jim Clark and the Holtgers could not be reached.

Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison

Ellison’s company bought the Manalapan estate from Clark’s trust in a private transaction.  Ellison has a net worth of $86.8 billion, according to Forbes.com. He landed at No. 4 on the latest Forbes 400 list, and in April was ranked the eighth richest person in the world on Forbes’ annual list of billionaires.

In August, Ellison listed his other oceanfront estate —  in Seminole Landing near North Palm Beach — for $145 million.

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Darrell Hofheinz is a USA TODAY Network of Florida journalist who writes about Palm Beach real estate in his weekly “Beyond the Hedges” column. He welcomes tips about real estate news on the island. Email dhofheinz@pbdailynews.com, call (561) 820-3831 or tweet @PBDN_Hofheinz. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Daily News: Billionaire who sold home near Palm Beach for record $173M buys house