SARASOTA — If you're rich, you can afford to buy a multimillion-dollar home just to tear it down for your new mansion.
If you're Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik? You can afford two.
Vinik, the hedge fund megamillionaire and hockey baron who just bought Tampa's Channelside Bay Plaza, started demolition last week on a waterfront home near Sarasota's St. Armands Circle that he and his wife, Penny, bought in May for $3.5 million, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune said.
Wreckers didn't have to go far. The Washington Drive home sits next door to a $4.25 million Key West-style estate that the couple razed late last year.
With both homes leveled, the Viniks plan to spend more than $3.5 million building a coastal compound there with views of the Sarasota bayfront and downtown skyline, permits show.
It'll be a palace away from their other palace, in South Tampa, where the family owns a 10,000-square-foot estate in the Palma Ceia neighborhood.
Last week, Vinik, 55, finalized the $7.1 million purchase of the beleaguered Channelside shopping plaza. That buy will add on to two dozen downtown acres he has gathered near his hockey team's home at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Vinik, who also owns a piece of the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Storm, an Arena Football League team, declined through a spokesman to comment on his plans for the Sarasota home.
Paying for builders or wrecking crews, shouldn't be a problem for Vinik, who once managed one of the nation's largest hedge funds and whose net worth has been estimated at about half a billion dollars. The Viniks are still trying to sell their 11-bathroom megamansion in one of Boston's priciest suburbs, dropping the price to $14.5 million after listing it for $17 million last year.
Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or [email protected] Follow @drewharwell.