Make us your home page
Instagram

Is Florida's biggest backyard swimming pool in Pinellas County?

EAST LAKE

Just how big is Florida's biggest backyard swimming pool?

If you believe the sellers of a $14.3 million East Lake mega-mansion, it's very, very big, with 14 waterfalls, a lazy river and enough chlorinated glory for eight typical suburban pools.

The gargantuan estate, listed this week as Tampa Bay's second-most expensive on the market, is already a masterpiece of excess, with its opulent 21,000-square-foot mansion and 13 full bathrooms.

It even has an entertainment wing, "The Village," modeled after a cobblestone piazza, with a smoky cigar pub, a mahogany library and "book shoppe," an ice-creamery, and a marquee movie house caked under 4 pounds of gold-leaf trim.

But, like many Floridians anticipating summer, we were most interested in the pool, with its own hidden slide, jungle-style rope bridge, "volcano" hot tub and 15-foot diving platform.

William Baumgart, 54, and his now ex-wife, Nancy, built the home in 2006, the same year he sold his Clearwater-based TransContinental Title Company to one of America's largest title insurers for an undisclosed amount.

And they don't appear to have skimped. Surrounding the lolling lazy river, which takes five minutes to float, are stucco boulders handmade by the same fake-rock designers of the Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando.

Six commercial pumps and thousands of feet of buried pipelines keep the water flowing; six separate heaters keep it warm. A gardener was hired full-time to maintain the water park's towering palms, birds of paradise and jungle flora.

The 12-foot-deep pool alone holds 200,000 gallons — enough, say, to top off the Sulphur Springs Water Tower or SeaWorld Orlando's penguin pool. But we couldn't help but wonder: Is it really the Sunshine State's biggest home pool?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, no one keeps a ranking of the state's most mammoth residential pools. The experts had no clue, either. The Florida Swimming Pool Association and the national Association of Pool & Spa Professionals didn't know. Neither did the president of Aquatic Consultants, a Miami luxury pool maker, or the editor of Luxury Pools magazine.

Fred Kimball, secretary for Associated Swimming Pool Industries of Florida, knew the world's largest pool (the San Alfonso del Mar Resort's sailable mega-pool, in Chile), and the deepest (the scarily abyssal Nemo 33, a 113-foot-deep dive pool in Belgium). As for the biggest just in Florida? No dice.

But there's at least one contender in the battle for king of backyard pools: the South Florida estate of singer Celine Dion. Now selling for $72 million, the island compound boasts water slides, a lazy river and three sprawling pools totaling 500,000 gallons.

In 2007, a Palm Beach Post report found the diva's estate guzzled 18,000 gallons of water a day, enough to fill 10 Olympic-size pools every year.

So the crown for biggest pool seems, for the north Pinellas County palace, out of reach. But try to hold your tears. The mansion also boasts a 1,200-bottle wine cellar, room for 238 gallons of wine. That's more than enough to forget that it's just a silly pool.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or dharwell@tampabay.com.

Is Florida's biggest backyard swimming pool in Pinellas County? 02/28/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 3, 2014 12:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Irish 31 brings flair, flavor to Wiregrass

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery opened its fifth location at The Shops at Wiregrass earlier this month.

    hillsevbiz072117: Irish 31 has opened at the Shops at Wiregrass with a warm, wood decor. Photo courtesy of Irish 31.
  2. Family fun featured at Lutz-area ice cream shop

    Business

    LUTZ — For Joe Schembri, ice cream reminds him of fun times he spent with his family as a child.

    hillsevbiz072117: Joe Schembri has opened the Ice Dreamery in Lutz. Photo courtesy of Joe Schembri.
  3. Clean Eatz offers low-cal options in South Tampa

    Business

    Inside Clean Eatz, almost everything is under 500 calories.

    Clean Eatz will offer healthy dining options in South Tampa. Photo courtesy of Clean Eatz.
  4. Salon brings a Parisian experience to Tampa

    Business

    A new salon in International Plaza, opened by French women Geraldine Jousseau and Estelle Mattingly, takes clients on a trip to Paris.

    Le Studio Paris offers a variety of salon services in International Plaza. Photo courtesy of Le Studio Paris.
  5. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]