The Phils were a couple of hours south today against the Rays in Port Charlotte with the B minus squad, so no need to follow the game. Just checked and sure enough they lost 6-1, runs seemingly hard to come by now matter who has a bat in their hands this spring. (But hey, it’s still early!) That gave us the opportunity to drive over to Belleair Beach and check out the progress on Ryan Howard’s mansion.
Frankly the amount of progress in a year’s time since we last saw it doesn’t seem impressive, but that may just speak to how many features he’s going to have in and around the house. As originally described, the $23 million dollar house was to include a Venice-style lazy river running from the swimming pool underneath a series of bridges, in addition to a bowling alley with breakaway walls.
Here is the back yard of the house, and you can see one of the bridges and the pit for the lazy river (no snide remarks about lazy, please).
That will be some kind of view from the back decks. There is currently a vacant lot next to the property, and you can visualize that from the rear of those lots there is nothing but open Gulf of Mexico views!
Fox TV in Tampa reports that the house draws a steady stream of onlookers. The house is being built on three lots that Howard purchased for $3.5 million, and sits on Gulf Blvd. and 17th St. in Belleair Shores. Pedestrians find it hard to cross the one lane “boulevard” due to the slow drivers gawking as they pass by.
Turns out Howard has literally hired a gatekeeper to keep unauthorized persons from walking around the property. She makes sure to try and spook passersby, like a good scarecrow, telling them that the Sheriff has been driving around and issuing tickets to people even if they are just seemingly loitering to take pictures. (I got the veiled threat, lady, but yo – I was raised in Philly and I know my rights. And, as another guy on his bike said to me: “I’m a season ticket holder. I paid for part of that house.”)
Actually I must say the gatekeeper was comparatively nice to me, and when I asked her about the projected date for the house being done she said: “November”, with a straight face.
Well, now that you’ve gotten this update there really is no need for you to stop by the property other than to say you make the trek to Howard’s Hacienda. But should you feel the urge to visit – if the Gatekeeper is correct – I’d suggest you whiz by on skates just in case the Sheriff cruises by. Y’all know how things go down South, and it ain’t quite like South Philly.