“This is the most impressive home to ever hit the market in the Tampa Bay area,” said Stephen Gay, the Smith & Associates agent who holds the listing for baseball legend Derek Jeter’s $29 million mega-mansion, in a recent report from the New York Times. He might have a point. The palatial spread, which certainly befits a hedge fund billionaire or Middle Eastern oil tycoon, is the most expensive and largest house to be built on Davis Islands, an ultra-exclusive residential archipelago south of downtown Tampa.
The home, which sits on two lots purchased in 2005 and 2006 for a total of $7.7 million, has been nicknamed by locals as “St. Jetersburg” due to its aircraft hanger-like proportions. The retired baseballer, now CEO and part owner of the Miami Marlins, custom-built the nearly 31,000-square-foot behemoth in 2012. The property measures in at 1.12 acres that overlook Hillsborough Bay, and completely dwarfs the surrounding residences. It contains seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, eight half bathrooms and has almost 9,000 square feet of outdoor space, with so many porches and balconies it could be mistaken for a boutique hotel.
Needless to say, everything in the estate was constructed on a grandiose scale, from the limestone steps leading to a Romanesque portico, to the 24-foot-high foyer that also features a curved staircase set against a bay of floor-to-ceiling windows. Dark-stained woods, sumptuous cream and earth-toned silks and suedes, miles of wrought iron railings and stacked crown moldings festoon the mansion’s cavernous spaces. Highlights on the main floor include a massive, antique-looking limestone fireplace over which a flat-screen TV hangs in the double-height living room. The dining room enjoys scenic bay views while a double-island kitchen sporting banks of gleaming white Shaker-style cabinets and top-end, panel-front appliances that stand ready to cater a large banquet.
Elsewhere in the residence, there’s a lushly paneled club room that features a billiard table and full-service bar, along with numerous flat screen televisions. Upstairs, the master bedroom comes complete with a sitting area, fireplace, two custom closets and a spa-like bathroom that opens to a private, bay-view balcony. And, naturally, the home has a laundry list of luxuries that include a wine cellar, a movie theater and a well-stocked fitness center. There’s also an in-law suite and a separate au-pair wing that offers domestic staff their own lounge and kitchen. Outside, there’s the obligatory outdoor kitchen and grilling station, an 80-foot long saltwater swimming pool and a private dock with two boat lifts. Cars can be kept in the property’s two three-car garages.
“St Jetersburg” is currently being rented by new Tampa Bay resident and Jeter’s pal, Tom Brady, who signed on to toss the pigskin for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prospective buyers won’t, however, get a chance to hang with Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen; showings will be few and far between. Besides, there just are not that many people who can write a check for $29 million and want to live in a palace-sized mansion in Tampa.
Jeter previously owned another Tampa home, a five-bedroom and five-bathroom, Mediterranean-style spread that measured in at just shy of 4,500 square feet. Purchased way back in 1997 for $675,000, it was sold in 2011 for $900,000 to pro tennis player John Isner.
The former Yankees slugger used to live large in New York City, of course, and he made property gossip headlines a decade ago when he put his 5,425-square-foot condo at Trump World Tower for sale. He paid $12.6 million for the four-bedroom and 5.5-bathroom unit in 2001, initially listed it for sale in 2010 at $20 million and eventually settled for $15.5 million in 2012.