Auto dealer, philanthropist sells Celebration mansion for $3.4M to Iowa entrepreneur
By Mike Salinero
May 02, 2019 | 5:51 PM
Alan Jay Wildstein, a Sebring-based automotive sales executive and philanthropist, got $3.4 million for his waterfront estate in Celebration, according to a deed signed last Friday in Osceola County.
The 9,303-square-foot, French country-style estate is located on Lakeview Drive in the Celebration East Village I. The 0.73-acre property features 211 feet of waterfront (pond) and conservation property. The mansion itself encloses 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. Architectural extras include curbed arches, soft lines and rare stonework.
Wildstein is founder and president of Alan Jay Automotive Network of Sebring. Other businesses that Wildstein owns or partners in include Gold's Gym in Sebring, Sebring Automotive Services, Melting Pot restaurant in Sarasota and the Grillsmith Group of restaurants.
Wildstein is a philanthropist whose monetary gifts to South Florida State College in Avon Park resulted in the two-year college renaming its performing arts center the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts. Comedian Jay Leno performed at the renaming ceremony.
Wildstein and his auto business have won numerous awards including Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, Florida Retail Federation Retailer of the Year, and the Sebring Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
Michael Crawford, Realtor with Core4 Realty Group, Keller Williams at the Lakes, represented Wildstein and the buyer, Craig Alan Upton. Crawford, who lives in Celebration, said he and Wildstein have known each other for years. Both serve on the board of directors for the Celebration Exotic Car Festival, which benefits the Make a Wish Foundation.
Crawford said Wildstein sold the house because he bought another home in Sarasota.
"I believe his father had started the (auto sales) business and he expanded it," Crawford said of Wildstein. "He is a true businessman. He works hard and he treats the people who work for him really well."
Upton, the new owner, is founder and former president of KPI Concepts of West Burlington, Iowa. The company designs and fabricates shelving, tables and other interior accessories for large commercial enterprises. One of its early and largest customers is the international supermarket chain, Aldi.
Upton, who is now retired, reportedly started his first business, Kitchens Plus, in his two-car garage, according to an article in The Hawk Eye newspaper of Burlington, Iowa. The company was able to land an initial contract to design and build 10 display tables for Aldi in West Burlington. That order led to Kitchens Plus building 5,000 more tables for the grocery chain. He later sold Kitchen's Plus to form KPI Concepts and focus solely on commercial work.
Crawford said Upton and his family saw the Eastlawn Drive home on a website Core4 Realty Group designed for the estate. Upton told Crawford's group that he loved the home but wanted to see similarly luxurious mansions before he made a decision. After touring exclusive neighborhoods such as Lake Nona Estates, Butler Chain of Lakes and Golden Oak, the custom home community in Walt Disney World Resort, Upton chose the home in Celebration, Crawford said.
The home was custom built in 2009 by McNally Construction Group. Features include leaded glass doors, hand-forged iron works, marble and stone fireplaces, wide-plank, hand-scraped vintage hickory wood flooring, tray and coffered ceilings and faux painted and Venetian plastered walls.
The gourmet chef's kitchen comes with Jerusalem gold marble counters; Viking professional four-burner stove with grill and griddle; built-in, sub-zero refrigerator and freezer; Miele steam oven, dual dishwashers and Miele one-touch coffee machine.
"I would say this home rivals and even surpasses features I've seen over" in Golden Oak, Crawford said. "Plus, you're in a community where there are families, you have a downtown you can walk to, where you have trails for running and biking. It has more of a sense of community."
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