Deep-pocketed executives, a semiretired wrestler and professional athletes past and present plunked down millions for the Tampa Bay area's 10 most expensive homes sold in 2012.
In a year of good news for the average homeowner, with mid-level local home sales prices rising to $133,000, these mansions and manors embodied Tampa Bay's top 1 percent.
Selling for $3 million or more, these estates on Tampa's Davis Islands, the Belleair coast and other luxury locales sold for a combined $38.5 million. That's enough to buy the average local home 289 times over.
But why settle for the ordinary when you can live in a home with its own tanning salon or private gym? Or when you can buy a $3.4 million mansion, just to tear it down?
Here are the 10 priciest homes sold last year, based on property records and sales data from the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.
Sold April 13 to Michael Galinski
17,145 sq. ft.; 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 3 half bathrooms
Belleair, Willadel Drive: Topping the list is wrestler-turned-restaurateur Hulk Hogan's former mansion on the Intracoastal Waterway, famous in its own right as the backdrop for reality show Hogan Knows Best. If you think a $6.2 million price tag is stunning, consider that Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, had this manse on the market for five years, starting at $25 million. Galinski, CEO of America II Electronics, a St. Petersburg global distributor of semiconductor components, paid cash for the gated mansion, crafted after a European country manor and built on a sweeping waterfront bluff. Hogan downgraded a week later into a mansion a third the size. (More on that later.)
Amenities: Tanning salon, four-room guest house, two-room "play house," swimming pool with waterfalls, two docks
Sold Oct. 22 to Richard and Anna Steeves
8,595 sq. ft.; 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms
Davis Islands, Tampa, Baltic Circle: In 2010, Joel Cantor, the developer of St. Petersburg's Signature Place condo tower, built this Key West-style mansion on a ritzy Davis Islands coastline, opening it to a fundraiser for first lady Michelle Obama and renting it to New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez and visitors to the Republican National Convention. Then, in October, he sold it to the chief executive of a medical giant based in Britain. Was Cantor already bored with its custom-made outdoor kitchen, power window treatments or Honduran-wood entry doors? No, he said. He just wanted to spend more time at his Colorado mountain hideaway.
Amenities: "Infinity-edge" pool, full office wing, entry chandelier on a $55,000 power lift
Sold Sept. 28 to Michael and Lori Kosloske
9,786 sq. ft.; 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom
Tampa, Villarreal De Avila: This Mediterranean-style mansion was built in 1999 on nearly 3 acres of lakefront at Avila, one of Tampa's poshest country clubs. Its ornate three-floor foyer opens into nearly 10,000 square feet of palatial living, with upstairs lofts, oversized closets and a lanai summer kitchen. The buyers are the founder and a chief officer of Health Insurance Innovations, a Tampa provider of Web-based individual health insurance plans that went public in December with plans to raise up to $86 million.
Amenities: Multitiered luxury home theater, wood-paneled library with fireplace, guest cabana
Sold June 11 to Yosef Rotman
7,501 sq. ft.; 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom
Belleair Bluffs, Harbor View Lane: This English country-style manse, with an eye toward the Belleair Causeway, sold for $1 million less than it was listed for in 2010. But don't doubt its extravagance. About 3,500 square feet of marble buffers the vanishing-edge pool, spa and fountains. The two-floor open living room is lined with granite and hardwood. And a gourmet kitchen boasts three pantries, a refreshment bar and a kitchen office. For those who opt for function over form, there are special filtration systems for the water and air, a lightning-protection system and a 100-kilowatt generator keeping the lights on in case the power goes out.
Amenities: Lightning-protection system, rose garden, backup generator
Sold June 28 to Vincent Jackson
9,533 sq. ft.; 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms
Tampa, Exmoor Street, Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club: Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson bought this 1924 estate off the greens of the Palma Ceia golf course a few months after the 29-year-old signed a five-year, $55 million deal. With it, he got a spacious playroom with multiple closets, custom stonework and woodwork, and a four-car garage.
Amenities: Caterer's kitchen, housewide intercom system, four-car garage
Sold May 10 to Hillswater Holdings LLC
Basics: 6,763 sq. ft.; 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms
Tampa, The Riviera Street, Beach Park: Named Villa Terracina after an Italian resort, this 1925 home fronts an inlet of Old Tampa Bay just south of WestShore Plaza. But it's hard to know who is enjoying its stone fountains and towered master suite: The company that bought it was incorporated by registering agents in Miami, and its only officer is a management firm in the capital of the British Virgin Islands.
Amenities: Restaurant-style kitchen, boathouse, great room with century-old ceiling beams
Sold Dec. 13 to James and Teresa Gail Norman
5,676 sq. ft.; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom
Davis Islands, Tampa, Ladoga Avenue: This 1954 home sits on 27,000 square feet in Davis Islands, with a back yard, gazebo and pool on the Currituck Channel. But the couple who bought it, a Tampa General Hospital senior surgeon and his wife, plan to rip the home down and build anew. The home was last sold in 1974 to Tampa eye surgeon Dr. Raymond Agia and his wife, Susan, for only $93,500. For those keeping track at home, that's 36 times smaller than the latest sale.
Amenities: Guest house with rec room, 9- to 16-foot ceilings, half a football field of open bayfront
Sold Oct. 26 to Brad and Monica Culpepper
6,109 sq. ft.; 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom
Davis Islands, Tampa, Bahama Circle: The last of three Davis Islands digs to pad out our list, this 2004 home was bought by Buccaneer-turned-personal injury attorney Brad Culpepper and his wife, Monica, who competed last year on Survivor: One World. Out front, a remote-controlled gate opens into a porte cochere and grand marble foyer. Out back, a pool deck and balconies overlook Hillsborough Bay.
Amenities: Master's retreat with waterfront balcony, private boat lift, full gym
Sold April 20 to Terry and Jennifer Bollea
5,400 sq. ft.; 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms
Clearwater Beach, Eldorado Avenue: Remember the Hulk, from home No. 1? This estate just south of Clearwater Beach's millionaire enclave of Mandalay Point is where he landed. Terry Bollea and his wife, Jennifer, may have moved from the largest home on this list to the smallest, but the place is still massive. The 1,000-square-foot "master retreat" boasts a gulffront terrace, luxury bathroom and morning bar, and the home is awash in granite, marble, cherry wood and Brazilian teak. Not bad for a downsize.
Amenities: 900-bottle wine cellar, elevator, 1,500 square feet of gulffront balconies and lanai
Sold Aug. 30 to James and Johari Rollins
6,500 sq. ft.; 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 1 half bathroom
Culbreath Isles, Tampa, Saint Croix Drive: This South Tampa mansion was bought by James "Jimmy" Rollins, shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies, which plays spring training games across the bay in Clearwater. Built in 2008, with 22-foot ceilings downstairs and 11-foot ceilings upstairs, it also features a library, a bayfront pool and, as a sales listing said, "all the over 3 million dollar bells and whistles."
Amenities: Butler's pantry with wet bar, two-floor formal living room, 22-foot ceilings
Drew Harwell can be reached at (727) 893-8252 or email@example.com.