Penthouse In Grove Lures Noven Chief

Noven Pharmaceuticals president Robert C. Strauss is trading a restored coral rock home near Coral Gables for a two-story penthouse at the recently built Grovenor House in Coconut Grove.

Strauss and his wife, Camilla M. Cochrane, paid $5 million for the four-bedroom condo at 2627 S. Bayshore Drive. The unit covers 11,810 square feet, including 4,749 square feet of terrace, and comes with a private pool and an exercise room.

The couple closed the deal March 14 and is now painting and installing wood and stone floors throughout the penthouse.

The Strauss and Cochrane coral rock home at 769 San Bruno Ave. has been on the market since at least November, area brokers said. With an asking price of $7.5 million, the seven-bedroom house is under contract. The couple bought the 8,135-square-foot home in 1992 for $875,000 and later added a vacant parcel in 1995 for $600,000. Today, the 67-year-old structure spreads on 3.28 acres filled with trees.

Strauss, 64, joined Noven in 1997 as president and chief executive. In 2001, he became chairman. Before that, he served as president, chief operating officer and director of Ivax Corp., after 14 years with Cordis Corp.

Strauss’ compensation in 2004 was $1.01 million plus $4.8 million in exercised options.

In January, he acquired 40,000 Noven shares before a Jan. 11 deadline to exercise the options. He paid $5.63 a share, increasing his stake in Noven from 131,349 shares to 171,349 shares.

Noven stock (Nasdaq: NOVN) traded at $17.21 at midday Thursday.

Miami-based Noven develops prescription hormone-therapy patches for postmenopausal women. Last year, the company sold the most prescribed estrogen therapy patch in the nation for the third consecutive year, controlling a 45 percent market share. Noven is also expanding. A few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved Daytrana, a patch to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children aged 6 to 12. Shire PLC, the global licensee of Daytrana, is expected to launch the product in the first half of this year, according to Noven.

Noven’s net revenues last year were $52.5 million, 14 percent higher than a year earlier. Product revenues increased 10 percent to $40.5 million.

The firm’s net income was $10 million, or 42 cents diluted earnings per share, compared with $11.2 million, or 46 cents diluted earnings per share, in 2004. The earnings drop resulted from writing off the unsuccessful development of Noven’s fentanyl, a patch to manage chronic pain. The FDA decided to not approve Noven’s developmental fentanyl patch in the third quarter of 2005, and the company had to destroy the pre-launch inventories of the failed drug. If fentanyl had succeeded, Noven would have earned $12.7 million, or 27 percent, more than it reported last year.

Italian-born Ugo Colombo, the developer of the Bristol and Santa Maria towers on Brickell Avenue, built the luxury 32-story Grovenor House.

He enlisted respected Miami architect Luis Revuelta of Revuelta Vega Leon in Coral Gables to plan the tower and Florentine interior designer Michele Bonan to design a two-story lobby.

“Out of the many buildings I’ve seen in Miami, I think I’ve seen them all, this is the nicest,:” said Bryan Sereny, a senior sales associate with the Chariff Realty Group in Miami Beach. He was not involved in this sale.

Colombo picked a nautical theme to reproduce throughout the building. Pictures of yachts and ships adorn the corridor walls.

The quality of the building finishes makes Ugo Colombo’s project stand out from all the new projects being built in Miami, said Kevin Tomlinson of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell in Miami Beach.

“Everybody who has money is talking about the quality and prestige of this building,” he said. Tomlinson was not involved in this transaction.

The 116 condos at the Grovenor House pre-sold before the building was completed late last year, and closings on the units began in January. Currently, 21 units are up for resale. They range from 1,595 square feet to 4,026 square feet and are selling at prices ranging from $845,000 to $3.2 million.

When Strauss moves in, one of his neighbors will be Greenberg Traurig shareholder Lucia A. Dougherty. The former Miami and Miami Beach city attorney paid $2.4 million in February for a three-bedroom condo on the 27th floor. Dougherty played a substantial role in getting the once-controversial project off the ground. Coconut Grove neighbors initially opposed the size of Grovenor House and tried to persuade the Miami City Commission to vote it down. Colombo hired Dougherty to negotiate the design with neighbors, city planners and commissioners. The fight dragged for more than a year but her efforts succeeded.

Colombo is currently building Epic at the mouth of the Miami River in downtown Miami.

“He likes to build one building at a time,” Sereny said. “And he does it well.”

Epic will consist of a 48-story tower with 632 residential units and 62 hotel rooms and a 60-story tower with 596 residential units and 29,600 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Paola Iuspa-Abbott can be reached at piuspa@alm.com or at (305) 347-6657.

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