If you’ve ever taken a drive down Gulf Boulevard, chances are you’ve noticed the spectacular beachfront homes that line the west side of the scenic drive.
But one home in the Belleair Shores area is drawing more attention than others, both for its prolific size and for who owns the property.
According to reports, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is having the 34,000-square-foot mansion built at a cost of roughly $25 million. The home will reportedly include a lazy river water feature and a bowling alley, among other costly amenities.
The place has been attracting onlookers like Howard crushes fastballs, with everyone from neighbors to government officials weighing in on the project.
A recent article published in the Belleair Bee quotes a nearby resident as saying she “doesn’t like the noise of the construction next door. Meanwhile, city officials recently agreed to grant an immediate six-month extension to the contractors should construction extend beyond the city’s two-year building code limit.
But when Patch visited the construction site last week, the construction foreman said the project shouldn’t take as long as has been reported.
“I don’t know where these reports of two and half, three years are coming from, but it won’t take that long to complete,” said Tom Payne, Senior Superintendent for Brandon Construction of Palm Harbor.
Payne said the project has been progressing rapidly since his company began working on the site about seven months ago.
In fact, other than the gaggle of onlookers and trespassers he’s had to shoo off the property, everything has gone smoothly.
He also had nothing but kind words to say about Howard, whom he referred to only as the homeowner.
“I’ve worked on a lot of jobs, for a lot of big clients, and I can honestly say he is the nicest man I’ve ever worked for,” Payne said of the 33-year-old slugger.
“He has never asked how long will it take or when will it be done,” he added. “In fact when he left after spring training, he said, “I’ll see you in November”.”
In case you’re wondering how Howard can afford such a residence, he signed a 5-year, $125 million contract in 2012; he is scheduled to make $20 million in 2013 and $25 million in each of the next three years.
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