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South Beach's former Versace mansion to go on auction block in September

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Miami, Jul 17 (EFE).- Casa Casuarina, the Miami Beach mansion where Italian designer Gianni Versace was gunned down in 1997, will go on the auction block on Sept. 17, press reports said.

A U.S. bankruptcy court judge gave the green light to Fisher Auction Company to hold the sale, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

The fate of Casa Casuarina, located in the South Beach district of Miami Beach, has been up in the air because current owner Peter Loftin recently declared bankruptcy.

Bidders must place a $3 million deposit in escrow with the Boca Raton, Florida, law firm of Marshall Socarras Grant to qualify to bid on the mansion, the South Florida Business Journal said.

They must also show proof that they have $40 million in funds, the business paper said.

Loftin, who owns the mansion on whose front steps Versace was gunned down, purchased the property in 2000 for $19 million and converted it into a luxury hotel.

Casa Casuarina, located on South Beach's world famous Ocean Drive, is a popular stop for tourists visiting Miami Beach.

The iconic mansion was put on the market for $75 million, but no buyers have stepped forward and the Nakash family, of Jordache jeans fame, purchased a loan on the property from a German bank and is trying to foreclose.

The Nakash family has an interest in the Victor Hotel next door to Casa Casuarina, which was constructed in 1930 by Alden Freeman, an heir to the Standard Oil fortune.

The mansion, which has 10 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, is known for the statue of Aphrodite in its garden.

Gianni Versace bought Casa Casuarina in 1992 and turned it into a palace in the style of the Roman Empire.

The Italian designer was gunned down on July 15, 1997, by Andrew Cunanan, a male prostitute suspected of murdering four other men.

Cunanan committed suicide in a Miami Beach houseboat eight days after killing the 50-year-old Versace.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130717/south-beachs-former-versace-mansion-go-auction-block-september