tampabay.com

Belleair home has one hulk of a price tag

Wrestler Hulk Hogan is listing his mansion for $25-million and has moved to Miami Beach.

By TOM ZUCCO
Published June 20, 2006


Just Listed! Belleair. Single family home. 5 bedrooms/8 baths, 17,145 sq. ft. Nice lot. Updated kitchen. Close to shopping and schools. Motivated seller. $25,000,000.

 The House of Hogan is for sale.

Pro wrestling legend/actor Terry Bollea, known to most of the world as Hulk Hogan, and his wife, Linda, put their country French style Belleair mansion up for sale last month.

The asking price: $25-million.

This isn't just any run-of-the-mill mansion. It is believed to be the most expensive home on the market on the west coast of Florida, and according to Forbes magazine, it is the eighth most expensive home for sale in the South.

Where to begin?

The roof tiles are imported from France. The floors are center-cut oak that's hand-carved in a basketweave pattern. The windows are handmade leaded glass. The kitchen has custom copper sinks, hand-carved limestone and steel countertops, and a fireplace, one of seven in the 17,000-square-foot house.

Outside, across the 2.3-acre grounds overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico, is the guest house, the boat house, the pool and waterfall, the maid's quarters and the four-car garage.

Bollea and his family moved about three weeks ago to Miami Beach, said Coldwell Banker Realtor Marcia Ellis, who sold the original Belleair property to the Bolleas 14 years ago and listed their current home.

The family moved over the Memorial Day holiday to a new $12-million bayfront estate on Miami Beach's North Bay Road.

The reason for leaving, Ellis said, had nothing to do with the Bolleas' running legal battle with neighbors and the town of Belleair over the menagerie the family kept, including a rooster named Lilly. After the family parted with all but six of the nearly two-dozen animals it kept, a court ruled last year that Terry Bollea did not violate town codes.

Ellis said the Bolleas moved to Miami so the couple's two children, Brooke, 18, and Nick, 15, can pursue music and acting careers.

While the Pinellas County property appraiser stands to gain a sizable windfall when the Belleair home is sold the house was assessed last year at about $6.4-million, and property taxes were $126,207, the Tampa Bay area is losing a home-grown celebrity, at least full-time.

But Bollea, who graduated from Robinson High in Tampa, still owns a more modest 3,500-square-foot house on Clearwater Beach, and his mother lives in the area.

In recent years, as his wrestling career wound down, Bollea made a successful transition from the ring to the small screen, and his Belleair home was part of the formula.

Hogan Knows Best, a reality-based show on VH1, has been climbing in the cable ratings as it enters its third season. While the focus is on the Bollea family, the Bollea house was also a star.

"You can get lost in it,'' Ellis said. "The rooms are enormous, but you don't have an empty feeling.

"Linda's mother is a decorator in California, and Linda certainly has an enormous talent.''

Sorry, the house is being sold unfurnished.

Hogan bought the Belleair property, which included an older, Spanish-style house, in 1992 for $2-million. He had the house torn down and spent the next four years building his dream home. The carpenters who made the custom doors, cabinets and other wood fixtures lived on site.

Ellis said Bollea's new 17,000-square foot house in Miami, where the reality show will now be filmed, is modern, a striking difference from the Belleair home. And while it was a difficult decision for the family to move, the Hulkster took it the hardest when it came time to leave.

"I can't tell you how long we talked about selling it,'' Ellis said. "It was a very difficult decision. The kids were babies when they were building this house. Nick was an infant in a stroller and Brooke was a toddler.

"But with his (Terry Bollea's) mother still here and the house on Clearwater Beach,'' Ellis said, "he doesn't feel as though he's completely moving away.''

Bollea also has a home in Los Angeles that's on the market for $5.9-million.

"I've got to downscale,'' Bollea told the Miami Herald recently. "We'll head toward Miami like the Beverly Hillbillies.''

Selling an exclusive home comes with certain challenges, given the small pool of potential buyers.

But the home next door sold for $8.5-million about five years ago, Ellis said, and she believes, "there's a buyer out there for this home, and we'll find them.''

But don't come empty-handed. In a practice common when selling multimillion dollar homes, prospective buyers must be able to show they have the money to purchase the home in order to look at it.

"I do get weird calls on it,'' Ellis said. "A lot of people want to have an autographed picture of Terry.''

That's one thing, she said, she can't do.

Tom Zucco can be reached at zucco@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8247.