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NBA-sized party pad up for sale

Ex-NBA star Matt Geiger's East Lake estate is on the market, but he isn't moving far.

By ELENA LESLEY
Published June 27, 2007


EAST LAKE - Matt Geiger's mansion is the envy of any bachelor. The sprawling estate boasts several lavish bars, a DJ station and dance floor, hot tubs, a pizza oven and even a cigar room.

Only problem is, Geiger is settling down.

The former NBA player recently had a baby with his girlfriend, and another is on the way.

So he has put a price tag on the party pad: nearly $20-million.

"It's not really baby-friendly, " Geiger's Realtor, Toni Everett, said of the 28, 000-square-foot house.

The master bedroom and the other bedrooms aren't on the same floor, and Geiger wants to be closer to his children, she said. Plus, she said, there isn't anyplace suitable for a playroom.

But he isn't moving far. Geiger is building a child-friendly house in nearby Bison Creek Estates, a gated community that he is developing on Keystone Road.

Contacted Tuesday, Geiger, 38, declined to comment. The 7-foot-1 former Countryside High School star built his home after his NBA career with the Miami Heat, the Charlotte Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers ended.

When it was finished, Geiger's mansion became the largest residence in Pinellas County.

The house "was really built for entertaining, " Everett said.

And Geiger put it to use.

Since the home was completed in 2003, the basketball star has hosted a number of parties for friends and charities - from a New Orleans-themed bash to "Geigerween, " for which he transformed the mansion into a supersized haunted house.

Geiger went all out: 40 televisions, 18 of them wired with Xbox so that Geiger and his buddies from high school could play video games together, plus a 330, 000-gallon pool and a 5, 200-square-foot guest house.

The big house has had a crack at the big screen, too.

Scenes from the movie The Punisher were filmed there in 2003. In the movie, Geiger's home became the estate of a gangster played by John Travolta.

Geiger enjoyed a putting green and a man-made lake stocked with 2, 500 bass and had a personal herd of livestock that has included 12 buffalo, 11 Watussi, two donkeys, a miniature horse and one cow on the 40-acre estate.

Though some might question the practicality of selling such opulent real estate in today's deflated housing market - the asking price for Hulk Hogan's Belleair mansion recently dipped from $25-million to $17.9-million - Everett said she isn't worried. "It's what I do, " she said of selling pricey homes.

The Pinellas County Property Appraiser's Office puts the market value of Geiger's estate and an adjacent piece of property at $11-million, based on other sales from 2004-2005. The property tax bill for the estate would be more than $177, 000 - a year. The vacant parcel, if the agricultural exemption is lost, would cost another $48, 943 in taxes.

The key may be finding buyers who like to party.

"In many ways it is a perfect house for a couple who entertains, " she said.

Though the interior is all high-quality, according to Everett, it would be a shame to let some of Geiger's more playful amenities go to waste: the pool with a central lava pit, the gaming center, a hot tub where bathers can play checkers.

Geiger and Everett had been discussing putting the house on the market for about three months. Everett said she has already shown the house, listed at $19.9-million, to two prospective buyers, and has two more signed up to see it.

"I don't think it's going to be too hard to sell, " she said.

Elena Lesley can be reached at elesley@sptimes.com or 727 445-4167.

BY THE NUMBERS

 

28, 000 Square footage of the house.

40 Number of televisions in the home.

18 Number of televisions in the home wired to Xbox.

330, 000 Gallons of water in the swimming pool.

5, 200 Square footage of the guest house.

$177, 000 Yearly property tax bill.