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Hulk's house off market

Hulk Hogan's mansion, once on the market for $25-million, is no longer for sale.

Not only that, the Hulkster said Wednesday he really didn't leave the area.

But Hulk, what about that classic episode of Hogan Knows Best where your family packs up the dogs, ferrets and critters to move to Miami Beach?

"That's just TV,'' said the 53-year-old wrestling legend, also known as Terry Bollea.

Hogan said he has been staying at his Clearwater Beach house and has been taping the show, which is on its third season, in Miami Beach. He bought a $12-million house there in April.

Hogan said he did initially plan to sell the 17,000-square-foot Belleair home to make his life easier.

"I was begging someone to give me $25-million for the house,'' he said. "I'm so spread out.''

But earlier this month, Hogan and his family decided not to sell the Belleair house after all.

"They came back for the holidays and said this is home and they love the area,'' said Coldwell Banker real estate agent Marcia Ellis, who listed the Hogans' home and sold the original Belleair property to the Hogans 14 years ago.

"It's the home the kids grew up in and they just wanted to hang onto it,'' said Scott Acord, senior director of publicity for VH1.

The Hogans bought the Miami Beach home with Brooke, 18, in mind, Acord said. She launched her debut album, Undiscovered, and her record label and producer were located there.

Acord said Hogan Knows Best has wrapped up shooting for the season, and about eight more episodes are due to air.

Local fans may be happy to hear Hogan is staying put.

But a couple of his Belleair neighbors are not, especially Mary Rinker. She said she and her husband, Marshall, were routinely pestered by barking dogs and a relentless rooster named Lilly next door.

"As soon as I'm able, I think I'm going to put my home on the market,'' said Rinker, 76, who is recovering from pneumonia, her voice still raspy.

Marshall, who suffered from a debilitating illness, died in April, she said. "That's why I wanted so badly to have peace and quiet,'' she said.

Last year, Hulk and his family were embroiled in a smackdown with their neighbors and Belleair town officials over their menagerie.

At one point, they had six dogs, two cats, three French hens, 11 other birds, five tortoises, two chinchillas, two ferrets, two iguanas, two rabbits, two toxic frogs and Lilly.

Eventually, they told officials they would cut back to six animals: four dogs, a bird and Lilly, which they said shouldn't count because they had a permit for him.

Their two chihuahuas, Foxy and Star, and their Maltese, Cookie, didn't count either because they were actors. The dogs were registered with the Screen Actors Guild and resided at the family's Clearwater Beach house, they said.

Other animals, including at least one cat and some ferrets, later appeared on their reality TV show, but no verification of their acting credentials was provided.

In July 2005, a circuit court ruled that Hogan complied with town codes that limit domestic animals to five per household.

The Hogans bought the Belleair property, which included an older, Spanish-style house, in 1992 for $2-million. They had the house demolished and spent four years building the two-story Belleair mansion, which looks like a medieval French chateau.

The home overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and has a guest house, boathouse, pool and waterfall, maid's quarters and four-car garage.

A few doors down on Willadel Drive, a 13,000-square foot home with a guest apartment, koi pond and 240,000-gallon lagoon-style pool is on the market for $16-million.

Neighbor Edwin "Doc" Friesen said the block has been pretty quiet over the past few months. But he expects neighbors to hear cackling and barking again when the Hogans return.

"I really didn't think they wanted to sell,'' Friesen, 77, said. "Twenty-five-million was too high.''

Lorri Helfand can be reached at 445-4155 or lorri@sptimes.com.

FAST FACTS

The Hulkster's Belleair digs

Style: Country French

Year built: 1996

Size: 17,145 square feet

Bedrooms: 5

Baths: 8

Half-baths: 3

View: Intracoastal Waterway

Other features: Guest house, boathouse, pool and waterfall, maid's quarters and four-car garage

Special touches: Imported French roof tiles. Handmade leaded glass windows. Custom copper sinks, hand-carved limestone and steel countertops in the kitchen.

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