There's a trend among Phillies players (see Harry Leroy Halladay III) to have homes not too far away from the team's spring training facility down in Florida, so it's no surprise Ryan Howard and his $125 million contract extension are putting down some roots in the area.
But not just any roots. In fact, Howard is building one heck of a mansion in the town of Belleair Shore, roughly ten miles from the Phillies spring home at Bright House Field in Clearwater.
The "Casa Del Howard" will surely be an enjoyable spot to head home to after a tough day of spring ball. Local newspaper the Bellaire Bee says the home will be a "$23 million, 17,500-square-foot home on a gulf-front lot covering over an acre."
Derek Jeter and his 30,875-square-foot mansion is not impressed.
Okay, so Howard's mansion isn't exactly the same square footage of the Yankee shortstop's colossal castle, but check out the details of the Phillies slugger's new home, complete with the potential for a gondola ride.
Once again, from the Bellair Bee, the home will feature a:
“Venice-style lazy river running from the swimming pool underneath a series of bridges,” and a bowling alley on the ground level with breakaway walls. Dawson termed the river “a fundamental part of the design.” He said the whole Howard family was really excited by the Venice canal, and would not want to give it up.
But building your own personal Venice-style canal is a time consuming project, and the community of Bellaire Shore recently enacted a tough new ordinance a couple of years back to prevent construction projects from dragging on too long. You see, the ordinance allows for 24 months from the start of construction to the completion, but no way you could get Howard's crib done in that time.
Venice was not built in a day.
So what's the moral of the story? Well, basically the town is going to do what it has to in order to accommodate the unique design aspects of Casa Del Howard. They could simply drag their feet in actually enforcing the building code or deal with the magistrate, who is just a great guy.
Also, the special magistrate “could grant whatever he wants.” He described James Yacavone, the magistrate, as very reasonable.
It's good to be the magistrate.
And it's even better to be the Big Piece.
>>Howard house forces code review [Bellair Bee]