- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WINDERMERE, Fla. | Listed as a “monument to unparalleled success,” the largest home for sale in the United States comes with plenty of space but no carpet, tiles or interior walls. It’s up to the future buyer to finish it.

The mansion started by time-share tycoon David Siegel boasts plenty of big numbers: 90,000 square feet. Twenty-three bathrooms. Thirteen bedrooms. Ten kitchens. A 20-car garage, with additional space for two limos. Three pools. A bowling alley. Indoor roller rink. Two-story movie theater. Video arcade. Fitness center. Baseball field and two tennis courts.

All that and more for $75 million “as is.” There’s an option to buy it completed for $100 million.

Nicknamed “Versailles” for the French royal palace that inspired it, the edifice hit the market recently. Construction was halted last year to save money in a recession that proved particularly hard on Mr. Siegel’s once-booming industry.

“This mansion is a great anecdote of the overconsumption that led to the housing bust, and it might be the poster child of such overindulgence,” said Jack McCabe, a Florida-based real estate analyst.

The unfinished palace at 6121 Kirkstone Lane makes Tiger Woods’ place just down the street in this gated Orlando suburb look more like a guesthouse.

It has the square footage of nearly two football fields, is almost double the size of the White House and about 36 times the size of the average American family home. The master bedroom alone, which would have had a rotating bed under a skylight, is twice the size of a standard house.

“It’s like a living piece of art,” said Lorraine Barrett, a Coldwell Banker real estate agent who has the listing.

She said Mr. Siegel, who has 12 children, easily could have moved forward with construction but wanted to avoid cutbacks at his company, Westgate Resorts. Requests to interview Mr. Siegel were not returned through Westgate Resorts or Miss Barrett.

Selling a high-end home is never easy, and that’s only magnified in this recovering market.

Sheri Chase, founder and president of Chase Realty International, has had the listing for a $100 million estate in Lake Tahoe, Nev., for about four years. The 20,000-square-foot home on 210 acres of property is owned by Tommy Hilfiger co-founder Joel Horowitz.

“There are only so many billionaires in the world,” Miss Chase said.

There also aren’t many homes in the U.S. priced so high.

The Lake Tahoe estate is the third-most-expensive on the market, according to the annual ranking by Forbes magazine. That’s only behind a $150 million mansion in Holmby Hills, Calif., owned by Candy Spelling, widow of television giant Aaron Spelling. Another Holmby Hills mansion, owned by Suzanne Saperstein, the ex-wife of Texas billionaire David Saperstein, has a $125 million asking price.

Mr. Siegel’s mansion is tied for fifth by price. But it has, by all accounts, the most square footage under one roof in America for a home after the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.

Taxes alone on the property, if sold at $100 million, would be between $1.45 million and $1.74 million annually, according to the Orange County property appraiser’s website.



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