Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is tearing down a 12-year-old waterfront mansion on Sarasota’s St. Armands Key he recently purchased for $4.25 million.
The price and tear-down of the 2001 home stunned area real estate experts and neighbors, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which quoted Vinik’s agent as saying the former hedge fund manager and his wife “fell in love with St. Armands.”
Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett confirmed that Vinik purchased the 6,125-square-foot house, but otherwise said Vinik does not comment on his family matters.
Realtor Priscilla Daulton told the Herald-Tribune it was the No. 2 sale in the county in price in April. This week, she told the newspaper she expected the new owner to remodel the house but admitted he could do what he wished with the property.
The 23,758-square-foot lot, at 112 N. Washington Drive, is two blocks from the upscale shops of St. Armands Circle, and the east-side waterfront view faces across Sarasota Bay into downtown Sarasota.
So what’s coming down? The property appraiser says the two-story home had four bedrooms, 4˝ bathrooms, a fireplace, pool, spa and dock.
Neighbors told the Herald-Tribune that Vinik is expected to replace it with a three-story home.
Vinik, who owns the hockey team, the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League and about 20 acres of land near the arena, has an estimated net worth of about $515 million.
Wickett, the Lightning spokesman, said the Sarasota purchase has no bearing on his Tampa Bay business interests, including the Lightning or the land he owns across from the Forum.
The property appraiser valued the property at $3.7 million in January, suggesting Vinik overpaid for the home.
If so, it would not be the first time.
In August 2010, Vinik and his wife, Penny, paid $6 million for a home in South Tampa’s Palma Ceia neighborhood — the most expensive existing home ever sold in Hillsborough County. They also purchased a smaller home next door for $3.2 million.
The sale came in the middle of a struggling real-estate market in the region.
“It doesn’t make sense, really, why he would pay that much for these two homes,” Jim Glaros, assistant chief deputy at the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office, said at the time.
This year, Vinik announced he was shutting down the hedge fund that he managed from Tampa, and was returning remaining money to his outside investors.
Tribune reporter Michael Sasso and TBO.com producer Rick Mayer contributed to this report.