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Versace mansion finds secret buyer

A broker says the purchase price for the home of the slain fashion designer sets a record for Miami-Dade.

A secret buyer has signed a deal to buy Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion _ the palatial villa made famous when the fashion designer was gunned down on its front steps almost three years ago.

Managing broker Alan Jacobson, of Wimbish Riteway Realtors, would not disclose the sale price Wednesday, but said it surpassed the record for Miami-Dade and Broward counties. That record was set when Sylvester Stallone's Miami mansion fetched $16.2-million in December.

The asking price for Versace's 12-bedroom, 13-bathroom mansion on Miami's trendy South Beach was $25-million. Survivors of the fashion mogul put the property on the market last August.

The 13,250-square-foot Mediterranean-style palazzo across the street from the Atlantic Ocean is the only residence on a stretch of Ocean Drive that is mostly home to bars, fashionable restaurants and hotels.

Jacobson said a contract was signed Tuesday and closing on the property would be complete within 90 days. He said conditions of the sale prevented Wimbish, affiliate of Sotheby's International Realty in Palm Beach, from identifying the buyer.

"It's been shown many times to people with recognizable names as well as those from out of the country," Jacobson said. "There have been several offers on the property," although this was the first contract.

Versace paid $2.9-million for the Amsterdam Palace apartments in 1992. Then, he bought the Revere Hotel next door for $3.7-million and demolished it to make room for the gardens and swimming pool. The house was built in 1930.

Versace was shot twice in the head by serial killer Andrew Cunanan as he returned to his home after walking down the street to buy magazines on the morning of July 15, 1997.

Cunanan, who was wanted in the murders of four other men across the country, immediately became the chief suspect. A manhunt that gripped South Florida ended nine days later when Cunanan killed himself aboard a houseboat 2{ miles away.