The Real Deal Weekly Dirt: Messi Mania Intensifies

The frenzy surrounding Lionel Messi’s arrival in South Florida – and who he’s brought with him – is unreal. 

I have a Google Alert set for “lionel messi miami house.” Some days, I get more than a dozen emails. One website posted about renderings showing a very futuristic and unrealistic mansion that an artist designed for Messi with seven swimming pools, a 20-car garage and three helipads.  

I reported last week that his longtime teammate, Sergio Busquets, bought a waterfront home in Broward County. Then, Google alerted me that the house Busquets purchased was near Messi’s home, per a blog. (As far as I know, Messi doesn’t own a house — yet.) 

Busquets paid about $8.7 million for a waterfront home in Sea Ranch Lakes, a very small coastal town in Broward where we speculated Messi could be living. (Messi was spotted at a Publix in Sea Ranch Lakes, fueling this speculation.) 

For a while, many assumed that Messi was living at the unit he owns at Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach. But according to an MLS listing, Messi has been renting the unit out since February for $28,500. 

On top of eventually cashing out on the investment, some athletes buy condos because of the convenience, amenities and security they offer, says Lucas Boccheciampe of Vantage Luxury Real Estate.

“David Beckham is living at One Thousand Museum for the same reasons,” Boccheciampe said, referring to the Inter Miami co-owner. “It’s a super-secure building, with few neighbors, and great amenities.” 

Last year, LeBron James bought a unit at the Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach. 

But Messi will prioritize privacy, as best he can. Boccheciampe said that when Messi rented a waterfront home in Key Biscayne, superfans in kayaks tried to get his attention from the water. Police had to close off the street. 

Developer Kevin Venger said that more than anything, buyers like Messi want to be able to enter and leave their homes without being seen. Venger was part of the team that developed Regalia in Sunny Isles, where Messi’s family owns a unit, and One Thousand Museum, where Beckham owns. 

“They want to protect their families and be able to enjoy their life without it being splattered around magazines,” he said. 

What we’re thinking about: What will happen to ex-HFZ developer Nir Meir and Ranee Bartolacci? ICYMI, Bartolacci unveiled some wild allegations in her divorce filings. Send me a note at


Residential: German music producer Frank Farian sold the waterfront vacant lot at 3100 North Bay Road to a Delaware LLC named for the address. The Miami Beach property sold for $13.6 million, with plans for an 11,600-square-foot mansion. 

Commercial: Steve Ross’ Related Cos. paid $194.6 million for the South Flagler House condo development site at 1355 South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. Frisbie Group and Hines sold the 3.4-acre property, where they had planned to build the two-tower, 28-story development. 

— Research by Adam Farence 

27 Star Island Drive (Credit: Become Legendary/Dina Goldentayer)
27 Star Island Drive (Credit: Become Legendary/Dina Goldentayer)


Venture capitalist Christopher Burch (ex-husband of Tory Burch) listed his waterfront mansion at 5050 North Bay Road for $49 million. His Miami Beach estate includes a 7,000-square-foot main house, a 1,500-square-foot guest home and 140 feet of frontage on Biscayne Bay. Mirce Curkoski and Albert Justo of One Sotheby’s International Realty have the listing. 

A thing we’ve learned 

India successfully landed its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the south pole of the moon, making it the first country to explore that region of the lunar surface. It is only the fourth country in history to land spacecraft on the moon, behind Russia, the U.S. and China, per the Washington Post.  

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • A Zillow listing falsely reported that Donald Trump sold his historic Mar-a-Lago Club for $422 million, Newsweek reports. The listing, which has since been corrected, showed Trump sold the resort on Aug. 4, fueling rumors of the former president’s trouble with legal fees. “Mar-a-Lago has absolutely not been sold nor will it ever be. This rumor is asinine,” Eric Trump told the outlet.
  • Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis said he would investigate Farmers Insurance after the company said it would not renew 100,000 policies, the Orlando Sentinel reports. More than a dozen insurers have left the Florida market, and rates continue to rise. 
  • Trans rights took another hit in Florida. The state’s education board approved a new rule stating trans college staffers can be fired for using bathrooms that align with their gender identities, according to NBC

Special thanks to my colleague Kate Hinsche, who contributed to this newsletter.

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