UPDATED: APRIL 19, 2017 8:40 AM — The president of Altamonte Springs-based Picerne Development Corporation of Florida paid $4.15 million last week for a piece of Winter Park history, and one of the city's largest lakefront mansions.
Located in the 1000 block of Genius Drive, the 1.8-acre lot is one of just three behind the gate in Windsong Preserve. The home features Lake Virginia and Lake Mizell frontage on three sides.
The buyer was Robert M. Picerne, head of one of the Orlando area's largest multifamily owner-operators. His Southeast division of the parent company has properties in more than 20 states, and 20,000 units overall. The company has six projects under construction in Central Florida now, that exceed $300 million in investment.
Built in 1925, the home was owned by Rollins College from 1956-1976 and used as its Conservatory of Music (known as Martin Hall). It was sold and restored back to a private residence in 1976, and named in 2013 as one of "10 Homes in Winter Park That Matter."
With 8,200 square feet of conditioned area, the home features four bedrooms and four baths over two floors, an office and theater room, an expansive 56-by-20 foot "Florida Room" across the back, a 1 bed/1 bath guest apartment above the three-car garage, swimming pool, spa and summer kitchen.
The seller was Edward M. McMillin, who built his family's fortune with a snack pie company in Erie, Pennsylvania, and retired to Central Florida in the early 1980s.
McMillin has owned the Winter Pines Golf Club in Winter Park since 1980, where his son Jon is general manager. McMillin previously paid $1.925 million in 1987 for the home.
Mick Night and Jon Pinel of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate were listing agents on the property, and procured the buyer.
The agents have sold two of those three lots in Windsong Preserve, with the third listed now. Pinel met McMillin outside his home a few years ago, got to chatting and developed a professional friendship.
After McMillin's wife Ione died, he reached out to Pinel to explore selling the property. It was initially listed in October 2015 at $5.69 million, lasted more than 550 days on the market and showed roughly 20 times.
"That house is historic, everyone loves it but some potential buyers wanted to tear it down and rebuild, and then again didn't want to (demolish it) for fear of community backlash," Pinel said. "So we found the absolute perfect buyer for this. He's actually going to add 10,000 square feet to the house, with 5,000 square feet under air and 5,000 in garage and porch space. But it will retain the complete character of the 1925 home."
Picerne sourced a $3 million loan from Bank of America to help finance the purchase.