Construction workers' pickup trucks and vans line the sidewalk along this wealthy stretch of Gulf Boulevard.
A yellow loader scoops dirt into a bin under the shadow of an American flag flapping in the front yard, while a blue crane lifts a worker to a window on one of nearly a half-dozen balconies facing the Gulf of Mexico.
The buzz of power tools and heavy equipment can be heard down the serene stretch of beach by fans, neighbors and passers-by wondering when they'll catch a glimpse of Ryan Howard, the Philadelphia Phillies slugger who is having the 17,602-square-foot estate built from the ground up.
The roughly $5.8 million project is well under way, as Philly.com recently reported that a sale pending on Howard's 8,900-square-foot Pennsylvania home is expected to close in a few weeks. The outlet said the estate is listed at $2.95 million.
Howard's former home featured six bedrooms, 71/2 baths, two exercise rooms, a gourmet chef's kitchen, a wine cellar, a movie theater, a pool, a fire pit and a brick patio, according to media reports.
That means the first baseman's new digs — being built on the gulf 10 miles south of the Phillies' Clearwater spring training complex — will be an upgrade with eight bedrooms, at least 10 baths, a two-story library, a trophy room, two kitchens, three laundry rooms, two elevators, a wine room and a bowling alley. Doorknobs for the beige home with its terra-cotta roof, one the largest homes in the bay area, will cost $80,000 alone, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2012.
But perhaps the coolest feature? A swimming pool complete with an underwater treadmill and lazy river that floats under the mansion.
"Everybody loves it. They stop and stare at it," Lara Sullivan, a 37-year-old beachgoer who passes the site on daily walks with her husband, said before wisecracking: "We think it's beautiful, but the poor guy needs 10 air conditioners. We wish our kids could babysit for him."
The Tampa Bay Times previously reported that the sprawling waterfront estate, being built by Brandon Construction of Palm Harbor, is expected to be complete in 2015.
Contact Keyonna Summers at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. Follow @KeyonnaSummers.
by the numbers
$5.8M Cost of Ryan Howard's new home in Belleair Shore.
8 Number of bedrooms.
10 Number of bathrooms.
$80,000 Amount spent on doorknobs for the home.
17,602 Square footage of the mansion.