Tech Billionaire Eric Schmidt Expands Waterfront Property Holdings in Miami BeachOctober 14, 2023
According to sources familiar with the matter, Eric Schmidt, the former chairman and CEO of Google, has been quietly acquiring a series of waterfront homes on Miami Beach’s Sunset Islands. In late September, Schmidt made headlines by acquiring two adjacent properties on the islands, combining for a substantial $63 million. This acquisition includes the purchase of a mansion owned by developers Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer at 2511 Lake Avenue, which changed hands for $36 million, and the neighboring property at 2501 Lake Avenue, which was acquired for $27 million. Together, these contiguous lots span a significant 1.2 acres and closed just one day apart.
This recent purchase is part of a broader trend of Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, amassing a collection of homes on the Sunset Islands, a process that began in 2020. Most of these acquisitions, totaling nearly $114 million, are located on Sunset Island II, the largest of the four artificial, gated islands west of the Miami Beach Golf Club.
Schmidt is the latest in a series of high-net-worth individuals adding to their residential real estate portfolios in South Florida, joining the ranks of fellow billionaires like hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and the Bezos family.
With a net worth exceeding $20 billion, according to Forbes, Eric Schmidt remains tight-lipped about his real estate endeavors. Neither Schmidt nor his representative, Stuart Grossman of LKLSG, commented on these acquisitions. The agents involved in the two most recent Miami Beach sales declined to comment, while Jill Hertzberg of The Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker appears to represent Schmidt in most of his residential purchases in the city.
The former home of Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer was initially listed for $45 million in February, with Hertzberg and her teammate Jill Eber as the listing agents. Ultimately, it sold at a 20 percent discount from the original asking price. Notably, billionaire media mogul Barry Diller expressed interest in the property but still needs to finalize a purchase.
Eric Schmidt’s acquisitions also extend to other properties, facilitated through Delaware entities managed by the exact attorney. In late 2021, a waterfront house on Sunset Island II was sold for $17.4 million, and Schmidt is linked to this transaction. Schmidt is also reportedly the buyer of a $25.5 million waterfront home on Sunset Island II in 2022, and he acquired a waterfront teardown on Sunset Island II in 2020 for $8 million, securing approval to construct a new house on the lot in the following year.
Schmidt may also be associated with at least two homes on Sunset Island I, amounting to an additional $25.3 million in acquisitions. Records show a series of purchases through Delaware entities managed by the same law firm representing Schmidt.
Not limited to residential real estate, the Schmidts are also backing the development of a five-story office building in South Beach. They hold an 88 percent stake in the entity that owns the development site of Fifth Miami Beach at 944 Fifth Street and 411 Michigan Avenue. Construction on this project commenced earlier this year after the developers, Sumaida + Khurana and Bizzi & Partners, tapped Cushman & Wakefield for leasing.
Before his tenure at Google, Eric Schmidt served as chairman and CEO of Novell, a software company. He then took the helm at Google, where he served as CEO from 2001 to 2011, followed by a role as the company’s executive chairman until 2015. Subsequently, he became the executive chairman of Google’s holding company, Alphabet, and later a technical adviser to Alphabet until 2020.