ST. PETERSBURG — More than two years after hitting the market for $18 million, the historic Snell-Bishop house on Snell Isle is under new ownership.
Toby Oldham, a representative of American National Investments, confirmed that the Tampa-based investment company is the new owner of the 10,000-square-foot house that sits on 1.6 acres at 375 Brightwaters Blvd. NE. Oldham, who also has an interest in the Fox Jazz Cafe in Tampa's West Shore district, said the prominent house will not go back on the market in the near future.
"The house needs a lot of work. The property needs a lot of work," he said. "We're going to see what we can do with it."
Public records aren't yet available to show what American National Investments paid for the property.
The house was built in 1928 by developer Perry Snell and was then home to syndicated cartoonist Wally Bishop and his family for 65 years.
Michelle and David Rau bought the house for $5.1 million in 2006 and made extensive renovations. In 2009 they put it up for sale with an asking price of $18 million. They eventually reduced the price and listed the property as two separate parcels, one with the house for $7.5 million and an empty lot for $3.5 million.
The city has not been approached about splitting the property, said Philip Lazzara, zoning official for the city's planning and economic development department.
In May 2010, Branch Banking and Trust Co. filed for mortgage foreclosure against David Rau. The suit has slogged through the court system for almost two years with little action.
The clerk of court notified both parties on March 14 that it will be dismissed on May 14 due to lack of prosecution.
The Raus' attorney, Jay Verona, declined to comment.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.