1. Business

Davis Islands home sale, at $5.2 million, fetches Hillsborough's highest price so far this year

TAMPA — High-profile developer Joel Cantor sold his Davis Islands mansion Monday for $5.2 million, in what real estate agents are calling Hillsborough County's most expensive sale of the year.

The 8,500-square-foot waterfront home, where first lady Michelle Obama held a fundraiser last October, was listed for sale in June for $6.5 million, sales records show.

Cantor, 48, said he fielded three offers before selling the six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home to Richard Steeves, chief executive of British-based medical giant Synergy Health PLC. Steeves paid extra for the home's furnishings.

Developer of downtown St. Petersburg's Signature Place tower, Cantor built the Key West-style mansion in 2010, adding a chic "infinity-edge" pool, an ornate entry chandelier, a full outdoor kitchen and his own office wing, which he dubbed the "command center."

But Cantor said he chose to sell the palatial home because he wanted to spend more time at his "mountain hideaway" in Telluride, Colo., with his wife, Shannon, and four sons. He also owns a condo on St. Pete Beach near the Loews Don CeSar Hotel.

Over the past two years, the home played hotel to several wealthy renters, including New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, who stayed there during spring training.

Declaring the dollar "bipartisan," Cantor, a Democratic donor, also hosted renters at the home for four days during the Republican National Convention. The cost: $25,000.

Steeves' firm, which provides sterilization services to hospitals, bought Tampa-based SRI/Surgical Express in June. The company supplies sterile surgical gowns and instruments to nearly 500 hospitals and surgery centers across the country.

In moving from London, Cantor said, Steeves will have a chance to "really enjoy the sunshine," as the home sits on 200 feet of open waterfront.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Steeves is 50 and earns more than $1.4 million a year.

Drew Harwell can be reached at (727) 893-8252 or