Fashion ForwardAugust 19, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
The very spot where fashion icon Gianni Versace was gunned down more than a decade ago will soon welcome upscale partiers, as plans are moving forward to turn his Miami Beach mansion into a lavish restaurant and nightclub. It’s somewhat fitting, since Versace was a fixture in South Beach’s pumping nightlife scene, that Peter Loftin, the owner of the Ocean Drive address, would convert the 20,000-square-foot home into the kind of elite hotspot Versace himself would surely have visited.
In the decade that Loftin has owned the Casa Casuarina home, he has implemented several concepts in an attempt to make the estate a revenue-producer, including creating a private members-only club, operating a plush — although oft-complained about — 10-room hotel and opening up the estate for public tours (it is, after all, said to be the third most photographed home in the country, after the White House and Graceland). Recently though, Loftin joined forces with lawyer-turned-restaurateur Scott Rothstein, who is a partner in the two-location, star-studded eatery Bova Ristorante with Chef Tony Bova, to bring a third Bova location to life in Versace’s former digs with the moniker Bova @ Casuarina.
The private club — with members shelling out a rumored $35,000-$50,000 membership fee — will continue to operate, and the restaurant will run alongside the members-only events that take place elsewhere within the estate. Rothstein also told the Miami Herald that members will be able to walk into the restaurant unannounced, while everyone else will need a reservation. The thinking is that, as dinner winds down, the space then morphs into a prime host for the jet-setting, A-list nightclub party already taking place amongst a closed circle of South Beach elite.