Friday, August 17, 2018
Opinion

Tampa philanthropist's house is about thinking — and building — big.

I don't know about you, but this probably best sums up the difference between the super wealthy and, well, the rest of us.

Local philanthropist and mogul Dr. Kiran Patel has just broken ground on an opulent 63,000-square-foot mansion/compound/complex/his own state in Carrollwood. The property will include (take a breath here) two 8,400-square-foot wings, a 15,376-square-foot Great Hall (it better be!), two separate 7,500-square-foot homes, three guest houses and a 12-car garage.

Obviously, Patel and his wife Pallavi will have Lowe's on speed dial.

But when you first heard of Patelworld, didn't you think to yourself: 'My Gawd, what's his electric bill going to look like?' Yeah, me too. Alas, the difference.

Look, there's no envy here. Dumbstruck awe, sure.

Over the years, the Patels have been one of this community's most gracious benefactors with their name plastered on all manner of buildings and monuments to their generosity. About the only other moniker that gets greater exposure is: Avenue.

Patel's affluence is certainly a tribute to: A) his financial acumen and/or B) proof that investing in managed care health companies is a really, really good business move.

But wait! There's more.

The reported $6.5 million Patelville will be built on 17 acres near Busch Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway. Or put another way, the White House sits on a mere 18 acres, but the Obama family has to live above the store.

Renderings of what the finished product and grounds will look like are something out of the Ponderosa on growth hormones meets what an estate would like if — IF — Donald Trump had a sense of taste. Or put another way, it makes the San Simeon Hearst Castle look like living in a box down by the river.

No one can argue Patel earned his wealth and can do whatever he darn well pleases with his money. In this case, it pleased him to build Patelandia.

Those of us not gifted with Patel's keen business mind pretty much confine our financial planning to buying Powerball tickets, which allows us the momentary pleasure to think what we might do with vast financial resources — at least until Saturday night.

So if the kind of Patel-like cash suddenly plopped in our laps, I rather doubt the Petunia of the Peloponnesus and I would expend a chunk of our fortune on a personal Monopoly board.

The landscaping alone would be too daunting. Since we are more adept at killing plants than Agent Orange, the constant foliage replacement would soon deplete the nest egg. And really, populating 17 acres with plastic pink flamingoes to hide all the expired shrubbery would seem a bit over the top.

At the groundbreaking for Patelvania, the good doctor told the Tampa Bay Times' Amy Scherzer that the United States and Europe were the most guilty of consuming resources.

"At the current rate the Western World uses natural resources, we would need six earths to provide the rest of the world the same lifestyle," Patel said, fretting about natural resources and lifestyles as he sat at ground zero of what will be a 63,000-square-foot Utopia-On-Trout Lake filled with concrete, marble, wood and other resources.

Who knows what something so grand symbolizes, or says about Patel's home design/decorating philosophy. But this much is certain: The man knows how to think big — Xanadu-On-Busch Boulevard big.

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