Belleair house sells for record $10.25-million

Bigger homes have changed hands in the Tampa Bay area, but last week's $10.25-million sale of Clearwater yacht dealer Bill McGill's Belleair estate set a local record for price.

Fetching a higher price than even palaces owned by names like DeBartolo, Gruden and Glazer, the 12,900-square-foot French-English country mansion on the Intracoastal Waterway sold to orthopedic surgeon James St. Louis, founder of Tampa's Laser Spine Institute.

What does $10-million get you? Perched on a 2-acre bluff, the house is crammed with 6 miles of wood trim among its five bedroom suites and eight bathrooms. It overlooks a 240,000-gallon swimming pool fashioned into a rocky lagoon fed by a waterfall.

Japanese carp glide through a lily-padded pond. If St. Louis needs advice on inflicting rather than healing spine damage, his neighbor two doors down is Terry Bollea, a.k.a. retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

"The lagoon pool is nicer than the pool at most resorts," said agent Frank Malowany of Smith & Associates Real Estate. "I showed the house to more than one person. I didn't have anyone who didn't leave there in awe."

McGill, chairman and president of MarineMax, the nation's largest boat and yacht dealer, built the house out of hurricane-resistant steel and concrete in 2001. He's been trying to sell it for years and listed it most recently for $16-million.

His asking price was second only to the $19.9-million demanded by ex-basketball player Matt Geiger for his 28,000-square-foot Tarpon Springs spread. Geiger's house is still on the market.

The McGill transaction bests the previous price record set by another Belleair Bluffs sale in 2001.

"I did not find anything higher than the $7.8-million from that 2001 sale," chief deputy property appraiser Pam Dubov said. "It's not a market for the average buyer."

While McGill's was the most expensive sale in the Tampa Bay area, his wasn't the biggest house ever sold. Corporate raider Paul Bilzerian's 28,263-square-foot pile in Tampa's Avila holds that honor. Investors snapped it up for $5.55-million in a bankruptcy sale in 2006.

More luxury Pinellas waterfront homes with celebrity appeal have hit the market this year. Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott recently listed his Yacht Club Estates home for $3.45-million.

Belleair house sells for record $10.25-million 06/02/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2008 1:39pm]

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