On September 30, 1929 – one month prior to the stock market crash – a building permit was issued to the owner of 5800 North Bay Road for the construction of a new Miami Beach mansion overlooking Biscayne Bay. The owner of the property was James H. Hammond of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The home was designed by architect John Bullen at a construction cost of $87,000, approximately $1.5 million in today’s dollars. For the 1920s, it translated into an exorbitant amount spent to build one’s winter home.
In more recent times, the property was owned at different times by celebrity singers J-Lo and Phil Collins. In 2005, the home underwent an extensive 3 year renovation. The Mediterranean estate evokes the architecture of Spain & Italy with a grand two-story rotunda cupola foyer, spacious living areas with 150-year-old reclaimed hardwood floors, a formal dining with vaulted ceiling and exquisite arched arcades that opened to a Dominican coral stone patio, overlooking a half-acre exotic garden with a 6,000 gallon koi pond and covered terraces surrounding a historic courtyard.
The prolific architect for 5800 North Bay Road, John Bullen, was known for his 1920s Mediterranean style architecture. One of his most well known structures was 44 Star Island, built by John H Levi who was a founder of the City of Miami Beach and partner of Carl Fisher.
His design of the two-story single-family residence at 1775 Jefferson Avenue, located in the Palm View Historic District, currently has a Contributing Historic status.
Another French influence Mediterranean style mansion designed by Bullen in 1929, was the 10,000 sq. ft. waterfront property at 4765 Pine Tree Drive.
Some other properties that John Bullen designed in the 1920s in the Mid-Beach area were 5217 La Gorce Drive, 4745 Pine Tree Drive, 5345 Pine Tree Drive, 4343 North Bay Road, 5725 North Bay Road, 6070 Alton Road, 4450 Post Avenue and 5145 Lakeview Avenue.
His office was located at 825 Lincoln Road, a building he designed in 1925. In 1926, Bullen also designed the commercial storefront at 600 Lincoln Road in the Mediterranean style.