Dragon Point sells for $800K; a new dragon may debut

The buyer is “definitely interested” in building a dragon at southernmost Merritt Island.

The president of a Palm Bay construction company has purchased Dragon Point for $800,000 in cash, and he hopes to build a new mansion at the southernmost tip of Merritt Island within 18 to 24 months.

What’s more, he hopes to build a new iconic dragon statue — Rojak, Annie’s hidden hatchling — to guard the confluence of the Indian and Banana rivers as an eye-catching nautical landmark.

“We just felt it was a very unique piece of property. We wanted to have a rebirth of the point and reconstruct the home, and hopefully bring back one of Annie’s little babies that were hatched,” said Don Facciobene, president of Don Facciobene Inc. General Contractors.

“There’s a surprise about Rojak, but I don’t want to disclose that to you yet,” Facciobene said.

Today’s announcement brings closure to more than a decade’s worth of questions that swirled around what Brevard zoning officials consider the county’s highest-profile home.

The mansion deteriorated over the years, and Annie — the funky 20-ton reptilian statue sculpted in 1971 by Miami “warlock” artist Lewis VanDercar — fell apart during a 2002 storm. Then the land was tied up in court for years amid ownership disputes, and code enforcement violations racked up.

A subsidiary of Private Bank Minnesota acquired Dragon Point from a court-appointed receiver in 2012. Last spring, the Brevard County Board of Adjustment granted five zoning variances allowing construction of a new mansion within the general footprint of today’s weatherbeaten 5,707-square-foot home.

The Carpenter/Kessel Homeselling Team listed Dragon Point on Nov. 12 for $975,000. Paccione’s purchase offer was accepted Dec. 5, and the contract closed this afternoon as a cash transaction.

“It’s great for the community. That site has been sitting abandoned for many years, and it’s great to see someone’s going to take ownership of it and build the home that that property deserves,” said DeWayne Carpenter, a partner with The Carpenter/Kessel Homeselling Team at Dale Sorensen Real Estate.

“With 600 feet of waterfront, that’s an iconic property. That’s a premiere site to have. That’s going to be spectacular to see that being built,” Carpenter said.

Facciobene personally bought Dragon Point. His construction management group, which boasts specialized equipment and about 75 employees, will develop the 0.86-acre property. Asked if he plans to live in the future house, he replied, “that’s a possibility”

“My architect Mike Karaffa has a wonderful contemporary vision, with lots of modern shapes and feature. It’s going to be a modern home that’s clean and crisp,” Facciobene said.

However, he cautioned that he must still obtain permission from Brevard County building officials to demolish today’s storm-battered structure, build a new house and bring Rojak to life on the rocky point.

“We hope the Lord smiles on us and allows us to get our permits,” Facciobene said.

In 1982, VanDercar upgraded Annie by sculpting four dragon hatchlings alongside the concrete monster: Joy, Sunshine, Charity and Freedom. Expanding on that legend, Facciobene said Rojak was a fifth hatchling “that Annie kept hidden underwater,” and he “will likely grow to the same size as her mother.”

“We have to stay tuned to see what happens with that,” he said.

Contact Neale at 321-242-3638, rneale@floridatoday.com or follow @RickNeale1 on Twitter. See other stories by FLORIDA TODAY’s Rick Neale at http://tinyurl.com/ossgc3b.

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