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St. Thomas Mansion Sells for Record $8.9 Million Via Remote Auction

By Michael Gerrity

Platinum Luxury Auctions announced this week the closing of Villa Whydah, a four acre pirate-themed property sitting on the westernmost tip of St. Thomas. The final sales price was $8.9 million, which is a new record for residential properties on the island of St. Thomas. Although Platinum planned for the auction to be held at the property, all of the bidders elected to participate in the auction remotely. "Given the nature of the bidding audience, we created a virtual auction environment, with a live bidding room digitally streaming an audio/video feed to each bidder," stated Bradley Pruitt, Platinum's director of sales. The buyer purchased the property site-unseen, a scenario that the firm says is exceptionally rare, especially for a record sale.


Trayor Lesnock, Platinum's president and founder added, "This is an exceptional testament to the potency of the luxury auction process, and to the power of the purchase motivation it produces for even the most unique real estate assets." Villa Whydah received more than 105,000 website visitors and 141 bona fide buyer inquiries during the auction's marketing period. The virtual bidding process lasted only 15-20 minutes, and included 4 bidders who were scattered throughout the United States. "This is a huge sale for both St. Thomas and the broader USVI market," stated Lee Steiner, cooperating listing broker and principal of USVI Sotheby's International Realty. "Along with a number of other high-priced transactions this year, this auction sale demonstrates the strengthening luxury market in the USVIs. We're already looking forward to the next auction with Platinum's team."


Lesnock credited the sale's success to his project management team, led by Pruitt and associate David Ashcroft, as well as to the owner's faith in the auction process that allowed them to use enticing terms to sell the property. The firm also employed a unique marketing strategy, which included mailing a custom-designed scroll that displayed a property treasure map, nodding to Villa Whydah's pirate decor. Considered one of the finest Caribbean properties on the market, Villa Whydah consists of seven structures spanning more than 15,000 interior, and 4,000 exterior square feet. The structures include a main residence with an in-law suite, an outdoor entertainment complex, a stone gazebo, two guest cottages, a stone tower, and caretaker's quarters with a 4-car garage. There are a total of 8 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms, in addition to 3 outdoor showers. Decor and furnishings offer pirate-themed accents throughout the home, including an office meant to resemble a captain's chambers on a ship, and a "dungeon," serving as storage space or a playroom.

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