New Drama for Ocean Drive’s Most Dramatic Landmark

Casa CasuarinaCasa Casuarina wouldn’t be a bad title for a telenovela; the Mediterranean Revival mansion on Ocean Drive is certainly photogenic enough to serve as the setting for a soap. And the house’s history is dramatic enough to provide plotlines for one or two long-running dramas.

The fortune that built the mansion dissolved into bankruptcy almost as the house’s gates first swung open.* After decades as a bohemian (or, at least, bohemian-looking) oceanfront rental property the house was purchased by international design megastar Gianni Versace, who, in true empire-builder fashion, demolished an Eisenhower Modern hotel next door to the Casa to make room for a pool deck.

Versace was murdered on the mansion’s front steps and since his death Casa Casuarina has mainly served as a high-end spa/resort/sink of swank. Now the South Florida Business Journal reports that the specter of bankruptcy is again hovering over the storied site. It’s green eye shade stuff compared to the Casa’s previous decades of drama, but the Journal’s story includes a slideshow which allows outsiders to get a glimpse inside. Entre nous, the bedrooms aren’t great, but the pool deck is to die for.

*OK, it didn’t happen that fast. But it’s a great story!

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