Being from Chicago, I can never forget the two most famous words of the 1990s, ”I’m Back”, referring to when Michael made his famous comeback to basketball after giving up his baseball career with the Chicago White Sox. Now, two words describe Jordan’s new Florida home, “He’s In!”. As the finishing touches got put on Jordan’s new home, 18 months of construction, 6 months of planning have produced what I will term “The Jordan Contemporary House”.
The Jordan house makes a clean break with the Mizner Traditional Mediterranean architecture so familiar to the Palm Beach area for the past 80 years. Other celebrities are breaking out as well in this direction, as evidenced by Rory McIlory’s and Tiger Woods’ houses.
What we are seeing now is a shift to clean lines, much more glass, sliding pocket and disappearing doors, marble and stone that is honed instead of polished, kitchen cabinets and granite that are white or cream. We are seeing slate-colored roof tiles made of concrete.
Architecture is much more open, meaning that rooms are less defined by walls and more defined by furniture layout. Living rooms in many cases have disappeared completely and great rooms have emerged with 80″ TVs and open kitchens. The outside is now part of the inside.
The Jordan house counts 18 separate roof structures that break the massiveness into houses within houses. It is so tastefully done, the architecture is brilliant, as there is an intimacy uncommon with size.
The Bear’s Club, developed by the world’s greatest golfer, Jack Nicklaus, is now home to the world’s greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan.
The Bear’s Club was just a huge empty piece of land for years with a few cows and a lot of barbed wire owned by John D. McArthur until it was sold to Jack Nicklaus who had a dream for his ultimate golf course community. Jack Nicklaus later split the parcel into two pieces and developed the 2nd parcel into the Ritz Carlton of Jupiter, now the Trump National Golf Club of Jupiter.
While The Bear’s Club and The Ritz share the same stop light and first few hundred feet, the Ritz home owners drive straight and The Bear’s Club members and homeowners turn right into a magnificent, gated, stoned entry.
Michael Jordan’s House | Tiger’s Sports Complex | Venus Williams’ Mansion | Celine Dion’s House | Donald Trump’s Private Club | Burt Reynolds & Friends | Elin Nordegren’s Home | Rory McIlroy’s House | Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach Home
The caddies at the Ritz, when asked what the difference between the two clubs is, respond that the “Ritz homeowners are all millionaires, but the Bear’s homeowners are billionaires”. While that may not be universally true at The Bear’s Club, they do have more than their share of ultra-wealthy members.
MJ’s choice of a 3-acre homesite at The Bear’s Club is not all that unpredictable. His desire for privacy will certainly be well-served there, as entry to The Bear’s Club is well guarded.
His home has already been landscaped with a literal forest of trees, giving little or no glimpse of his mammoth 28,000-square-foot home, together with 3 separate structures; a guard house, guest house and pool house.
He paid $4.8m for the land and $7.6m for the construction, making this $12.4m mansion probably the most expensive non-waterfront home in the Palm Beaches. MJ’s total commitment when furnished will probably exceed $20m.
What is surprising, comparing Jordan’s piece of land to Tiger Woods’, (click here to see Tiger Woods’ Jupiter Island home) is that Tiger put together 3 parcels on Jupiter Island so that he has frontage on both the ocean and the Intracoastal. It would be interesting to see what the Jordan home resells for, being that its location, while great for MJ’s privacy, is not ideal for resale to the trophy and yacht buyer.
Jordan’s house has 11 bedrooms, 6 on the 2nd floor alone, a 2-story guard house, an athletic wing together with basketball court, and a lavish workout facility. It’s rumored his huge media room with state-of-the-art electronics is ‘cigar friendly’.
While MJ loves cigars and gambling, it’s rumored he’s tamed the latter in deference to Jack Nicklaus’ wishes to ‘tone it down’.
The Bear’s Club has 55 estate residences, with starter estate homes beginning at $4-5m and the largest homes being priced just under $20m. Besides the estate residences, they have 3 other categories, Golf Villas, 14 Club Cottages, and 13 Vintage Estate Homes. (Click here to see all of Michael Jordan’s new neighbors homes on the market at The Bear’s Club real estate for sale.)
The stone-clad Clubhouse is truly magnificent looking, both architecturally and the lush, dark-wooded interior. Jack Nicklaus spared nothing when building this masterpiece, notwithstanding the $90,000 initiation fee and $25,000 annual dues.
The golf course is not your typical palm tree lined Florida course; instead, the property is blessed with hundreds of mature pine trees and well maintained scrub that eats golf balls when struck off line.
The greens are firm, ultra-fast, and can be treacherous when cut very tight. I played there over a dozen times and always averaged about 3 to 4 strokes higher than my normal score. The course has a very high course rating and is fair but on the difficult side. Their caddy program is terrific.
Comparing it to Trump National Golf Club of Jupiter, where I was a member for 4 years before 2 back surgeries forced my early retirement from golf, I found the Trump to be a hair easier, maybe 1 to 2 strokes. Jack Nicklaus also designed the Ritz (now the Trump) and made it his chief project to not let it be a lesser course, and he definitely achieved his goal. Both courses are terrific, great challenges, and a joy to play.
Having built homes in Highland Park, Illinois, I remember when MJ bought his parcel of land in Highland Park and built a 29,000-square-foot house together with a 3-hole golf course in his backyard. MJ had the number 23 on his entry gate. We are still waiting to see if that gate will go up. Will history repeat itself?
–Cary Lichtenstein is a former golf rater for GolfWeek Magazine. He started playing when he was 7 years old. His handicap varied from 4-5. He lives next door to The Bear’s Club at Admirals Cove. Cary and his son, Jeff Lichtenstein, are realtors for Illustrated Properties and Christies Great Estates.