What do a big Bush fundraiser and an aging rock band star have in common?
This is too precious to pass up. Prominent Republican fundraiser and Fort Myers developer Al Hoffman (photo, left) -- the founder of WCI Communities who served as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and who was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as ambassador to Portugal -- has just sold his south Fort Myers home.
For $5.12 million. To Cliff Williams, bass player for the hard rock group
AC/DC. My personal favorite AC/DC tune? Highway to Hell.
That's Williams in the group photo below, on the right, from earlier days with the band, and in a more recent 2008 concert.
According to a Fort Myers News Press story, Hoffman originally had asked $17 million for the 13,000-square foot house on 1.8 acres when he put
it up for sale five years ago upon his appointment as ambassador. Here's the News Press story.
But he gradually reduced the price as Lee County’s residential real estate market collapsed, the story states. An auction was scheduled for March 13 to sell the house to the highest bidder no matter what the amount bid. But the night before the auction, it was canceled and Hoffman negotiated directly with buyers.
The developer that built much of Sun City Center, Carrollwood Village and the Westshore Yacht Club became a victim of the housing meltdown in 2008 when WCI Communities, once considered one of Florida's most prominent builders, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It emerged from Chapter 11 last year.
WCI traces its origins to Tampa-based Florida Design Communities, which builder Al Hoffman Jr. founded in 1985. Florida Design and Westinghouse's real estate division, WCI, merged in 1998. The company went public four years later and enjoyed many prosperous years. In what a 2008 St. Petersburg Times story called a "move of stellar timing," Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2005 to assume his ambassador duties to Portugal. He's now back in the Fort Myers area doing what he loves: Development.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist