A Waterfront Classic

Link to Palm Beach Daily News Story

It’s no surprise that horses played their part in Mary Jo Condren and her late husband deciding to buy a home in Palm Beach.

William Condren, after all, was part owner of two Kentucky Derby winners — Strike the Gold in 1991, and Go for Gin in 1994 — and the 1996 Preakness winner, Louis Quatorze. He also co-founded and served as director of the National Thoroughbred Association and as a trustee for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

His wife took up riding again with her daughters, and in 1995, when the Condrens bought their Estate Section home at 240 Banyan Road, their daughter, Jennifer Bargas, was still in college and riding in Wellington.

“My sister, Jennifer, was involved in horseshows,” explained Elizabeth Condren. “I was finishing up college then, and Jennifer spent more time in Florida than my brother, Colin, or I.”

Their parents also made regular visits to Florida from New York.

“My father would go down to Gulfstream to watch the horses race. That was a factor in their coming to Florida,” she says.

“When my parents saw this house on Banyan, they liked it. They enjoyed the size and flow of the rooms, the view, the light airy feel — and it’s at the end of the block, so it’s quiet.”

After William Condren’s death in 2007, Mary Jo continued to live in the house but has decided she wants to spend more time at her summer home in Southampton to be closer to her daughters, who live nearby.

Accordingly, the Condrens’ four-bedroom villa — with 11,365 square feet of living space, inside and out — is listed by Cristina Condon of Sothebys International Realty. She has it priced at $21.5 million.

U-shaped floor plan

Built in 1991 on a lot measuring three-quarters of an acre, the house was developed by the Condron’s neighbors at the time, Diana and Lowry Bell, Elizabeth Condren recalls. The interiors were designed by Palm Beach decorator Scott Snyder.

With a U-shape configuration featuring north and south wings, the main house is oriented toward the west to make the most of its Intracoastal Waterway views. Rooms facing the water also look out to the pool and patio, an expansive lawn and the dock. In the waterway beyond is the northern tip of Everglades Island.

The main entry to the two-story house is on the east side, with an arrival court running the length of a raised garden. The garden lies between the main house and a two-story building that houses the three-car garage and an upstairs guest apartment with a living room, bar and two bedroom suites.

The front façade for the modified Georgian-style house features quoins at the corners, shutters at the windows and an elaborate arched surround around the front doorway. Triangular pediments pierce the roofline over the central portion of the house as well as over first-floor windows that flank the front door.

The design of the gardens is based on an axis with a central fountain and radiating walkways leading to the main house, the east building, a south covered walkway and the motor court.

Water views abound

Inside, the foyer and stair hall are quite grand, with a curved staircase and a variety of moldings. Floors here and in the main living areas are covered in marble.

The living room features a carved-stone fireplace, deep crown molding, classical surrounds around the doorways. French doors with fanlights above them lead outside to the covered loggia.

In the south wing are the kitchen, breakfast room and dining room, and in the north wing are the library and den.

Both the dining room and den have French doors fronting the loggia and with picture windows capturing views of the pool and Intracoastal. The central portions of the windows are crowned with fanlights, and all the windows set off with pilasters.

The den also has an alcove bar, a pecky-cypress coffered ceiling and a terracotta-tile floor.

The library features a hardwood floor and plantation shutters at the windows, along with custom cabinetry and paneling with decorative molding and wainscoting.

Upstairs in the north wing is the master suite, which includes a bedroom, two bathrooms, a dressing room and a sitting room with a morning bar and arched French doors opening onto a balcony. Windows in the master bedroom offer water views, and other features include crown molding, casement windows and a hardwood floor.

Also on the second floor are three en-suite guest bedrooms. In all, the property has five bathrooms and two half-baths.

‘House was fantastic’

Elizabeth Condren recalled the home as a happy one.

“When I was in college, this was a vacation house for me. We have a little back garden off the kitchen, and I’d pick up the scent of jasmine,” she said.. “The house was fantastic. I’d come with good friends, and I loved seeing everybody and hanging out by the pool.”

A Waterfront Classic photo

Higher-than-average ceilings are found throughout the house, including those in the second-floor bedrooms. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

The property measures three-quarter of an acre and freatures extensive gardens. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A second-floor balcony overlooks the pool. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

Because of its U-shaped configuration, many of the rooms have views of the extensive pool area facing the water. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A Palladian-style window showcase the view from the formal dining room. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

In the north wing, the family room directly faces the pool area. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

From the living room, sets of French doors with fanlights above them open onto the covered loggia. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

In the foyer and stair hall, a curved staircase provides a focal point. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A fountain anchors the approach to the house at 240 Banyan Road. The estate is listed for sale at $21.5 million by Sothebys International Realty. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

The library is appointed with detailed paneling and millwork. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

An elaborate frontispiece, typical of the Palladian style, adorns the front fa ade. The axis of the house runs straight from the front door to pool beyond. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

An aerial photo looking south shows house s position in relation to the gentle curve to the Intracoastal Waterway. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

Get going with hybrid cycle

Link to original Palm Beach Daily News story

Here’s a bike that might make a perfect holiday gift. And it might be a perfect vehicle for your New Year’s resolve to get more exercise.

The GoCycle changes back and forth from your power, with manual shifting, to electric power, with gear shifting engaging automatically

Karbon Kinetics Limited’s GoCycle G2 lets you pedal away to your heart’s content (and health), or you can choose to be completely lazy, thanks to this electric bike’s combination of two drive systems: a three-speed hub gearbox, as well as a front hub-mounted 250W motor.First and foremost, the GoCycle electric bike is an actual bike, can be ridden as a bike and feels like a bike.

To get it going under its own steam, so to speak, just push its little red turbo button on the dashboard display on its handlebars, and you’ll zip around effortlessly.

The faster you were going when you pressed the button, the faster you’ll be propelled, although it won’t go much above 20 mph.

How far will it take you? Well, it depends on how much effort you put into it. You can ride forever under your own power; you can go up to 80 miles if you do some of your own pedaling; or you can travel a distance of 8 to 12 miles, if you don’t pedal at all, depending on the terrain.

Created in 2002 in Britain by ex-Formula One design engineer Richard Thorpe, the GoCycle’s second generation was launched in the United States at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in fall. The GoCycle G2 is ergonomic, environmentally friendly, elegant and fun to ride. It has a comfy saddle, and its fore-aft weight distribution, with a low center of gravity, makes it agile and responsive to ride.

How does it work? Utilizing its easy-to-use dashboard display on the handlebars, the rider can monitor the battery level; set the riding mode to city, eco, on-demand or custom; change gears; and regulate speed.

In addition, it has a trip odometer and calories-burned calculator. Also available is a Smartphone GocycleConnect app, which links to GoCycle with Bluetooth, and you can set modes that way. The app also can shut the GoCycle off, if it gets stolen.

With GoCycle, you don’t have to worry about getting into the wrong gear. The electric motor powers the front wheel, while the pedals power the rear wheel.

Either you are in command, changing the gears as you pedal along, or, when the motor is engaged, you let GoCycle intuitively change gears for you.

“What makes this bike unique, is that you can use it as a bicycle with no drag from the motor. It’s just so easy to ride. It figures out what you need and gives it to you. It’s amazing,” said Roger Moore, owner of Nautical Ventures of Dania Beach, a business that carries GoCycles.

Other features include high-tech, durable injection-molded magnesium fabrication; three-speed fully enclosed drive chain (so your clothes don’t get greasy or caught up); and interchangeable side-mounted front and rear wheels with hydraulic disc brakes. It comes in white, black and gray; and it weighs 35 pounds.

With four parts – frame, wheels, saddle – it’s technically foldable (to a dimension of 2 by 2.5 by 1 foot) and storable, so it’s ideal for yachts. Also, since it’s easily adjustable without tools, its driving position can be changed, and it can be made to fit a variety of body types, so the bike can be shared by different riders.

No special license is necessary; it can be ridden wherever a bike can be ridden.

The GoCycle, priced at $5,199, comes with a storage case, and is available at Nautical Ventures, 50 South Bryan Road, Dania Beach, where it also can be serviced. For information, call (954) 926-5250.

Accessories, including packs, mud guards and lighting, can be purchased.

“We just became dealers, and we’ve already sold a few,” Moore said. “We sell tenders, and for people with boats who want portability, it’s killer.

“We call it the ‘GoCycle smile.’ Customers, who take it for a ride, come back with big grins. It’s cool with all these intuitive features.”

Suspended in air, hovercraft lets you fly

Link to Palm Beach Daily News Story:

If you buy a Universal Hovercraft Renegade IQ, not only can you hover, but you also can use it as a Jet Ski, snowmobile, amphibian, airboat and four-wheeler. No matter your destination, this hovercraft is an easy-to-drive two-passenger vehicle.


The Renegade IQ hovercraft, which comes with an LED headlight, rear-view mirrors, and cruiser windshield, is priced at $32,000.

Like a Jet Ski from the floorboards up, it has handlebars and a bench seat. But it also has a vertical fan that blows air underneath the hull, and a flexible skirt around the edge that keeps the air from dissipating too quickly, creating a bubble of high pressure that lifts and moves the craft.

“Mom can get in one with her kid, turn a key, hit the throttle and enjoy a hovercraft ride,” said Matt Stewart, who represents the company and also works for Nautical Ventures in Dania Beach.

“I could teach a 10-year-old how to drive it in a few minutes.”

For those who want some excitement, “you can be at a 30-degree drifting turn, while also doing 360-degree spins, if you can imagine that. It’s epic,” Stewart said. “The sensory experience is unparalleled.

“I can teach people to do 360s right off the bat, too.”


A sort of science-fiction vehicle that moves suspended in air, it seems otherworldly, even if you know the physics behind it. And, while it can’t go to Mars, it can go places no other vehicle can, such as over shallow water, thin ice or deep mud, as long as the surface is relatively flat.

It has a 29 horsepower engine, can go up to 50 mph and cruises at 35 mph. Seven gallons of gas will take you 140 miles. It’s registered as a boat, so you don’t need a driver’s license.

If you live on the water, you can just drive it out of the garage and into the water. Or, if you are in the water and want to bring it onto a beach that allows boats, you can drive it up on the sand.

They are compact, relatively lightweight, and can easily be stowed aboard most yachts.

With a foam core that’s wrapped with layers of Kevlar, it’s crash proof, Stewart said.

“Others have two fans: one that lifts and one that pushes forward. What the Renegade has is the lift and thrust with one propeller, so it’s less weight, which means you can pull it on a trailer behind a Mini Cooper; it’s simpler to operate and quieter.”

In the making for 10 years

Universal Hovercraft, headquartered in Rockford Ill. and founded by Bob Zang, has been in existence for 30 years. “The current owner, Bill Zang, likes to say ‘Uncle Bob didn’t invent them, but he was a pioneer,’ ” Stewart said. “From what I understand, Bob saw one on TV when he was young, and said ‘I’m going to make those,’ and that was it.”

The Renegade, made to be consumer-focused, has been in the making for 10 years. Its soft start was three years ago, and it was officially launched during the Miami Boat Show in 2014.

Universal Hovercraft makes 20 models, including commercial crafts, sports crafts that can hold several people, search-and-rescue crafts, and even a craft for kids.

Flies off the water

If you want to get really fancy, you can purchase its highest end hovercraft, the Hoverwing, which flies off the water.

The Renegade IQ, which comes with an LED headlight, rear-view mirrors, and cruiser windshield, is priced at $32,000. While it can go on any trailer, one designed specifically for it, the EZ Load Trailer, is priced at $1,890.

To price-compare some options, if you want to put the Renegade IQ together yourself, you can buy it as a kit for $23,995, or you can go all out and get the 240-horsepower Hoverwing for $190,000.

The Renegade IQ is available at Nautical Ventures, 50 South Bryan Road., Dania Beach. For $80, you can attain a demo-flight experience. For more information, call (954) 926-5250.