Cher Makes a Name for Herself in Real Estate

Although she has been one of the world’s greatest stars as a singer, comedian and actress, Cher might have had an even more successful career as a real estate developer.

From Florida to California and Hawaii, Cher has had her hand in designing and decorating a number of homes including on the Big Island in Hawaii at the exclusive gated Hualālai Resort where she and her architect-partner, William Long, designed a stunning ocean-view, Bali-style house – a result best described as contemporary meets exotic.

The current owner, billionaire businessman Bob Parsons, who founded GoDaddy in 1997 and the founder of PXG/Parsons Xtreme Golf has put the home on the market fully furnished for $10.955 million.

Since 1970 when Cher and Sonny Bono bought their first serious home, Cher has been fully engaged in managing the decor, first in conjunction with decorator Ron Wilson. She would tell him what she wanted, he would say it was impossible, and she said, “just do it.” He always did and worked with Cher on her next five home acquisitions through 1991. In 1996, she bought a property in Miami Beach when she took over the decorating herself and also launched Sanctuary, her mail order catalog.

By now, her style was permanently grounded using large pieces and varied textures, simply without clutter. After selling the Miami Beach mansion in 2002 she bought and decorated another grand mansion in Malibu, then advanced from decorating to designing the actual home in Hawaii with the assistance of Mr Long in 2008.

Taking full advantage of Hawaii’s perfect weather and gentle tradewinds, Cher’s design maximized these climate elements by emulating the Balinese open-pod architectural style with great expanses of movable glass walls that create a vanishing threshold for indoor-outdoor living.

Since air conditioning is rarely necessary and overhangs prevent rain showers from coming in, it’s not only refreshing but also a practical approach to year-round living. Spread across just over three quarters of an acre, the 9,446-square-foot house is made up of a series of pods that are arranged with the owner occupying the central pod which contains the main living and dining rooms, kitchen, casual dining on the lānai, and master suite. Guests have separate individual pods at the courtyard entrance so they don’t have to traverse the main living area when coming and going.

Overall, the home includes six bedrooms, six full and two half baths. Some of the baths open to private gardens for outdoor showering. The master suite faces the ocean, has an office and private deck with wrap-around water feature. The master bath has custom-stone sinks and a free-standing soaking tub open to its own private garden. Outside there is an infinity-edge pool and spa with wide panoramic views of the ocean and the members-only Ke’olu Golf Course. The buyers will also have access to the resort’s shared amenities, which include tennis, golf, a swimming pool, private beach club, six restaurants and access to the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai.

Cher designed and decorated Bali-style house inside the gated Hualālai Resort is now for sale, priced at $10.995 million. The listing agent is Rob Kildow, director of residential sales at Hualālai Realty, Kona-Kohala Coast.


Photos courtesy of Hualālai Realty   

At a skyscraper in Times Square recently, real estate developers and philanthropists Douglas and Susanne Durst and The Durst Organization hosted a benefit to support The Everglades Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting and restoring the Everglades through science, education and advocacy. 

The Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg and the Dursts were joined by renowned nature photographer Mac Stone, author of the award-winning book Everglades: America’s Wetland. Stone provided the event’s 150 guests — celebrities, politicians and business leaders among them — with a visual journey through the storied ecosystem. Guests were also treated to light fare from chef Claus Meyer (co-founder of Copenhagen’s renowned Noma restaurant), whose Michelin-starred cuisine is inspired by nature.

© Patrick McMullan

The images captured by Mac Stone helped encourage attendees to become involved in the protection of the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in North America and home to 78 threatened or endangered species. Diking, damming and development have shrunk the wetlands to nearly a third of its original size and contributed to toxic algae blooms. Stone suggests diverse perspectives — including water policy, wildlife protection and urban planning — animate any conversation on the Everglades.

“The Everglades may not have the dramatic vistas of treasured national parks like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but is equally deserving of our adoration,” insists Stone. “Although the Everglades lives in Florida, it’s a national treasure — one of the most unique, and imperiled, places in the world,” he says, adding, “We all have a mutual stake in these wetlands, which are part of our natural heritage.”

“Florida is being ravaged by a perennial algae crisis that’s destroying our beaches, fisheries, tourism and real estate industries,” says Eikenberg, who explained to the guests in Manhattan that New York State faces similar algae blooms. “Our two states share so many important cultural and economic connections, so it’s only natural that we should come together in the interest of protecting one of the last truly unique wildernesses,” says Eikenberg.


He notes that the Everglades, which is the source of fresh water for more than 8 million Floridians, is critical to the state’s economy and that new legislation for protection and restoration is required. “The Everglades is the only place where crocodiles and alligators coexist,” notes the Foundation CEO, who quips, “Members of Congress could learn from that!”

The Dursts are best known for building skyscrapers — projects like One World Trade Center and One Bryant Park practically define the Manhattan skyline — but they are passionate about preserving Florida’s endangered wilderness. “We have a home in Florida and have experienced first-hand the devastation that toxic algae blooms can have, not only on our environment, but on the local economy of communities connected to the ocean or waterways,” reports Douglas Durst.  

Viewing the Everglades as a canary-in-a-coal mine, Durst states, “They, unfortunately, are previewing what will befall all of our nation’s waterways if we don’t act quickly to combat this problem.” The environmentally conscious Durst adds, “We’re proud to join The Everglades Foundation in raising awareness of this vital issue and helping to tap new streams of support for their work.” Eikenberg responds, “The Durst family and Durst Organization demonstrate that development and environmental preservation are not mutually exclusive, and we were honored to be hosted by them.”

The High End sat down with Kevin Venger to discuss his experience designing ultra-luxury buildings, working with industry greats, and meeting buyer demands.

By Hannah Fakhrzadeh

Kevin Venger, the co-developer behind Miami’s Regalia, Ten Museum Park and Paramount on the Bay has always been intrigued by the concept of developing and designing beautiful and luxurious buildings. “I have been developing, designing and building since I was a child. From my first self-performed treehouse to the art of the high-rise tower, I have always been intrigued by the concept.” To find out more about Venger’s designs and concepts, we sat down with him to see what he had to say.

What peaked your interest in building and developing in the luxury real estate market?

I am always fascinated by the near-endless possibilities of the luxury real estate market, because the buyer’s demand is not the norm. The ability to implement first-to-market materials, finishes and work with the world’s best designers affords a sense of excitement and thrill for me.

Considering the fact that expectations are high for properties in the industry, what are some of the hyper-specific design needs billionaires are asking for?

Billionaires with multiple homes around the world no longer want to invest extensive time into building out a new residence’s interior space, which often can take two years to complete and requires time involved in the selection process when working with an interior designer. Rather, they are seeking a more turnkey experience in which they can purchase a home with the millwork, finishes and often interior furnishings already in place to quickly move in.

Requests such as floating staircases and glass-faced pools are becoming more common. How do you explain the rise in the desire for such artistic elements?

Today’s home needs to equally be artistic and functional. Rare and unique elements are serving more than ever as conversation pieces, which are memorable to those who visit the residence and on a daily basis for the owner. From the floating staircase to the glass-faced pool in Regalia’s $35 million Beach House condo residences currently for sale, one cannot escape the exclusive sense of place in this home because of its one-off features. Those who purchase a residence such as this demand no less, and want to ensure their living experience cannot be easily replicated.

Can you discuss the climate of Miami’s $20 million and up real estate market?

While certain regions of the world have experienced financial woes, the ultra-luxury sector remains insulated and continues to draw interest due to its long-term value within the marketplace. As a result, the ultra-affluent market does not tend to fluctuate in the same manner.

Where do you see the market going in the future?

Miami is poised to reach a level of global attention as it continues to grow. With increased activity from China, Dubai and beyond, the next 10 to 15 years of Miami’s legacy will be defined by new foreign interest and prime investment opportunities for those who deem the city as the “new” London or New York in terms of projected future prices and its art, culture and lifestyle.

Photo courtesy Morris Moreno

One of your developments, Regalia, is one of Miami’s most sought-after oceanfront towers. Can you discuss the inspiration and idea behind it and what can be expected from it?

Our level of expectation exceeded the archetypal luxury condominium found in Miami, with our finishes comparable to the finest residences in New York City. For our buyers, we sought to create a curated living experience that was highly intimate in nature, with only 39 residences each residing on their own private full floor, which is very unique to the U.S., and further transcends beyond their residence into the amenity spaces in order to still feel livable and residential. 

Inspiration behind Regalia’s exterior are the waves and wind; we felt it was important to have a meaning to its facade and be place-specific. The design embodies the beauty of Sunny Isles Beach and its oceanfront surroundings. Given Regalia’s location, the building marks the gateway between Sunny Isles and Golden Beach, so its design must be impactful, yet welcoming.

For the interiors of the residences, you tasked Charles Allem to design it. What made you choose Allem?

Charles Allem is a master at designing truly livable interior spaces that appeal to all tastes. Being that Regalia has many international residents, it was crucial to design for everyone, with subtle mixes of materials, color, textures and artwork that seamlessly work together. Allem created an ambience that flows to naturally unify the interior and exterior design palate.

Photo courtesy ARX Solutions

Another design you are behind is One Thousand Museum; can you discuss the idea behind that and what it offers?

One Thousand Museum celebrates an exterior facade (“exoskeleton”) design accentuated by curvaceous flow that continues elegantly into the interiors. This concept has never been seen on this side of the world. One Thousand Museum will greatly make a design impact within the downtown Miami urban setting, forever changing the skyline as a visionary masterpiece. As the only ultra-luxury building in the area with just 83 residences, it will remain a legacy project for Miami and another for Zaha Hadid.

The architect behind One Thousand Museum is Zaha Hadid. Can you describe Hadid and her legacy?

Her legacy speaks for itself already. She is one of the most fabulous individuals and unique designers that I have ever worked with. Since Miami will mark her first high-rise residential tower in the Western Hemisphere and her love of the city was well known (as she had a permanent residence here), One Thousand Museum is a really special project that adds to her worldwide legacy.

You’re behind many other luxury buildings like the Four Seasons Hotel & Residences Miami, Ten Museum Park and Paramount on the Bay. What have you learned from developing these projects that helped you with Regalia?

A residential project’s design, services, operations and use of materials all have to be in perfect harmony in order to create an ultra-luxury, five-star lifestyle experience. These elements cannot function on their own for true luxury to exist.

Top left photo courtesy Neoscape; top middle photo courtesy Ken  Hayden; top right photo courtesy Catapult 13

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