Has Heat’s James Found A Home?

The 7,600-square-foot house in Coconut Grove’s Hughes Cove neighborhood that Miami Heat star LeBron James is rumored to be  interested in is much more modest than the $49 million home belonging to car czar Alan Potamkin, which he was said to be looking at a few months ago.

“It’s much further from the $50 million that people speculated he was going to spend,” said Kevin Tomlinson, a VP at One Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami Beach, who is not involved in the possible purchase. “It was just sort of a house for him to land until he could find the right house, it seems.”

Two real estate brokers confirmed James definitely showed interest in the waterfront home David and Barbara Lipman have owned since the end of 2001. One broker said James is rumored to have been signed a contract, but the negotiations became rocky and the status of the contract is unclear.

The house, at 3309 Devon Court, was last listed in 2007 for $7.6 million and has not been on the market for several years. At that time, Peggy Brin had the listing, but it’s unclear whether she is still associated with it.

The Palm Beach Post reported Sunday that James had a contract on the property.

One broker told the Business Journal that depressed pricing could push the value of the five-bedroom, five-bathroom house down to about $5 million.

Security and water appeared to be important in July, when James, or his representative, approached the car dealer about his 21,000-square-foot waterfront home in tony Gables Estates. Although Potamkin’s home had been on the market, his attorney denied it was being marketed for sale in July, and said there was no deal in the works with James.

One broker said the Lipman deal makes more sense as a rental than a purchase because of the modesty of the home and the transient nature of the NBA. Several basketball players have homes in the Cloisters next door, including former Heat players James Posey, Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley, the latter of whom was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and is moving out, one broker said.

One broker speculated that, if James follows through on a purchase, it might have more to do with taxes than anything else, with his accountant saying, “buy now.”

James won’t be anywhere near Miami for the short term. To ensure privacy, the team is holding camp this week at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach.

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