Bid On This Myakka Ranch in Sotheby’s Inaugural Real Estate Auction

Looking for an almost off-the-grid retreat in the country? Sassy the goat, guava fruit, a stocked lake, a tractor and the furniture are included with this 42-acre property, called Rancho da Florida—oh, and the grounds manager is willing to stay, too. This turnkey retreat has everything you need to weather a pandemic or the apocalypse—or simply nurture your nature-loving soul.

But act swiftly—the countdown is on.

Listed at $7,899,000, it’s one of 10 properties featured in the inaugural live real state auction at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City. Although bidders can raise their paddles virtually at any time, the live, in-house auction kicks off at 5 p.m. tomorrow and stops when bidders do. Laura Brady, CEO of Sotheby’s concierge auctions, expects that time to be roughly 7 p.m.

Open since 1774, Sotheby’s auction house is historically known for jewelry and art auctions, but its real estate platform is growing. The live auction is a first.

“We’ve sold properties valued at over $100 million. We most recently sold ‘The One’ [a renowned home in Los Angeles], for $141 million dollars,” Brady says. “Typically we represent properties over $2.5 million.”

Although the luxury-focused platform increases product visibility worldwide, and the brand points to a curated, specialized product, taking the auction route comes with some degree of risk.

When bidding wraps up, sellers Russell and Juraci Ireland must accept the highest bid. Right now, that’s $2,014,000. To increase interest, Rancho da Florida demands no reserve.

The couple doesn’t frequent casinos, but Russell Ireland is familiar with the art of the gamble. “I think when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re somewhat of a natural gambler,” he says. It’s certainly safer than dealing with the fraudulent buyer who was going to buy the home last year when it was listed for $8,995,000.

Ireland, who’s originally from Long Island and at 79 is now retired, owned and ran a horticulture and landscape design business called Ireland Gannon Associates. The business did the Macy’s Flower Show in Herald Square in New York City and built putting greens and British-inspired conservatories for clients. That’s why the sprawling property at 29641 S.R. 70 East is a slice of Eden, with careful landscaping and a garden that rivals any grocery store produce section. Think: citrus, papaya, guava, mango, figs, peaches, bananas and avocados. Collard greens, beets, okra, parsley, carrots and tomatoes. An arbor with passionfruit and shu-shu vines. Bananas. There’s also sugarcane, acerola and blackberries.

Ireland also designed the property’s lake and placed the house in such a way so that “when you look out the window you either see water or livestock,” he says. The lake is stocked with tilapia, largemouth bass and Florida river catfish.

Primed for agriculture, the property features three fenced pastures and comes with a couple of longhorns, bulls, red and black Angus cattle, pigs, two donkeys to keep potential coyote visitors away, wild ducks that come play with the domestic ducks, chickens and goats. There’s even a cattle pond and two deep-water wells.

Designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects, the home was built by Josh Wynne Construction in 2019, which is known for sustainable building. The single-level, three-bedroom, three-bath home is modeled after Florida’s historic dogtrot-style architecture, with a series of indoor and outdoor areas connected via open-air breezeways.

An outdoor kitchen has a Brazilian wood-burning stove and 600 square feet under the roof, an 11-stall horse barn, a workshop with a walk-in freezer, a pole barn, and farm equipment. There is also a heated spa and a 40-foot heated outdoor pool along with a manager’s house and detached guest studio if hands-on farming isn’t necessarily your thing.

Rancho de Florida is so unique there are no comps to guide its pricing (home sale prices are based on comparable homes in the same neighborhood). Indeed, with so much space and eco-elements galore—it’s considered one of the most energy-efficient properties in the state—it’s truly one of a kind, with nothing like it for miles.

“There’s a lot of value in the infrastructure alone,” Ireland says. A 10kW solar array, high-efficiency HVAC with humidity control and fresh-air exchange, rainwater capture, passive cooling and heating, and a whole-house generator all but cancel out an energy bill. The couple bought the property in 2017 for $700,000 and tore down the previous southwest ranch-style home, where plumbing and electrical were in need of a redo. Russell says the new build cost them roughly $2 million.

After building several custom homes and renovating others on Long Island, the Irelands saw Rancho da Florida as their forever residence. However, Juraci, who’s originally from Brazil, is moving back to that country due to family needs and Russell has bought another home in Lakewood Ranch while he figures out his own next steps.

Interested? Call Natalie Tanner of the Peter Laughlin Group, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, at (941) 539-0989.

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