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After 3 years in the market, Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando mansion is being redesigned – with less Shaq

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ORLANDO, Florida – For years, a life-size Superman statue stood at the end of a dock on the eastern shore of Lake Butler, a signature touch of Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA superstar who owns the sprawling estate behind it.

Last month the statue was removed, leaving only two rusty footprints where it once stood.

“I de-Shaq-ifying the house,” said Benjamin Hillman.

Hillman works for Sotheby’s International Realty and is the youngest real estate agent to take over the $ 16.5 million listing for 9927 Giffin Court in Windermere, the former home of the basketball legend.

O’Neal launched the house in 2018. After three years and three previous agents trying to sell Shaq’s Mansion, Hillman decided to take a fresh approach. “That strategy obviously didn’t work,” he said. “I have to sell it for its convenience.

“The problem is that people who can buy a multi-million dollar home have made as much money as Shaq and probably more,” Hillman added. “You may find a man who will say he bought Shaq’s house and hit his chest, but that’s rare.”

The round bed in the master bedroom has been replaced by a normal king-size bed and a couch in front of the fireplace and a large-screen TV. (Joe Burbank / TNS)

“It’s just so big”

The street-screened 12 bedroom, 11 bathroom mansion sits on 3.9 acres, including a 700 foot boardwalk. The house was originally built by Razia and Nur Ullah Khan, gift shop owners who immigrated from England and bought the land for $ 300,000 in 1986.

“They had a lot of big parties and stuff there,” said her son Nadeem Khan, whose parents died in 2009. “My mother put all her heart into this house.”

Tiffany Pantozzi is the real estate agent who worked on the property shortly before it was acquired by Hillman in February. In their view, one of the biggest selling points for this home is its size. “The house is great,” she said. “It’s just so big.”

The size of the white and blue mansion impresses the visitors. From the front gate, visitors cannot see the other end of the property.

O’Neal, then only 21, bought the house for $ 3.95 million in 1993, a year after joining Magic as the NBA’s first draft pick. Over the next three decades, the rookie of the year, nicknamed Superman, added his own sense of pizza to it.

A recent tour by a reporter and photographer from Orlando Sentinel found that many parts of the house do not advertise its former occupant at all.

The 31,000 square foot home has a lagoon pool and an outdoor kitchen.The 31,000 square foot home has a lagoon pool and an outdoor kitchen.(Joe Burbank / TNS)

For example, the pool could be any 90 foot long, 15 foot deep lagoon style pool with a built in hot tub and a fully equipped outdoor kitchen on the deck.

Everyone may need a walk-in safe or three tiled garages that can hold up to 17 cars.

And who wouldn’t want an eel tank with a $ 7,000 moray eel and a $ 12,000 moray eel swimming in it?

Transform the house

Other key features O’Neal added cannot simply be removed, Hillman admitted. Superman logos are popping up all over the house like Easter eggs. You are at the house lighting in the cinema with 10 seats. There is one in the mirrored exhibition garage. Some are even woven into the carpet.

The Shaq Center is located on the floor of the 6,000-square-foot indoor basketball court, which has retractable bleachers that can seat more than 100 people.

Hillman said whoever buys the house has the option to remodel it. “This could be a tennis court or a dance studio,” he said. “Home gym. Really anything you want to do with it. “

But where famous pieces of Shaq flair could go, Hillman eliminated them, like the custom-made 15-by-30-foot round bed in the master bedroom on the second floor featured in an early 2000s episode of MTV Cribs . ”

Now the room has a normal king-size bed and couch in front of the fireplace, as well as a large-screen TV. The curtains were removed from the windows to let in light and reveal the view of Lake Butler.

“We really wanted to brighten things up,” said Michelle Bondi of Daytona Beach’s Nest Luxury Living, who staged the house for Hillman.

The family room still has a mural of Shaq driving a truck.The family room still has a mural of Shaq driving a truck.(Joe Burbank / TNS)

Within three days, Bondi and her team repainted several rooms from taupe to white and brought in furniture valued at nearly $ 200,000. They used a variety of styles and themes.

“We wanted potential buyers to get a feel for what is possible,” she said.

Hillman said that between the staging, renewing the overgrown landscaping, and the pressure washing the exterior, he spent more than $ 40,000 preparing the home on display.

To sell priced

Pantozzi, the third realtor to oversee the property, tried to focus on the possibilities beyond Shaq and make renderings of what various conversions might look like.

“My goal was a global approach,” she said. “I had to make sure I got in front of most of the buyers as best I could.”

Pantozzi lowered the price from $ 19 million to the current $ 16.5 million. This was the fourth time since it entered the market three years ago at $ 28 million. “A house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it,” she said.

Hillman agrees that price is key. “I didn’t want the listing when they asked for $ 28 (million),” he said. “I waited for it to fall.”

Earlier this year, Pantozzi became the first agent to sign the house, though the deal failed in February for reasons unknown. After that, she and Shaq broke up and Hillman entered.

But Pantozzi did not shy away from the famous roots of the house. Instead, she treated the shaq-ness of the home as part of the big, lavish lifestyle a buyer might associate with.

For a video ad, Pantozzi hired synchronized swimmers for the pool, as well as a professional wakeboarder and a seaplane to showcase the lakeside. She’s also kept O’Neal’s framed jerseys on the walls and makes a point of showing off the memorabilia room.

“Imagine if you could say you bought Shaq’s house,” she says. “That alone is the trophy.”

This is one of the three garages in the lakefront house with 12 bedrooms, 11.5 baths and its own movie theater, cigar bar and basketball court with indoor regulation. This is one of the three garages in the lakefront house with 12 bedrooms, 11.5 baths and its own movie theater, cigar bar and basketball court with indoor regulation. (Joe Burbank / TNS)

Hillman also produced a video mentioning O’Neal’s name only once. Gone are the memorabilia and jerseys. Gone are the seaplanes and swimmers, who have instead been replaced by actors who just enjoy the pool, cherry wood office with a lake view, cigar bar, and poker lounge upstairs.

Still, Hillman is far from having removed any trace of the recognizable owner of the house. There is a mural on a two-story wall in the family room showing Shaq driving a semi-trailer truck (a reference to his alter ego as DJ Diesel).

Hillman pulled out the protruding front end of the truck that used to be an aquarium that was supposed to house the engine, but the all-star gamer’s confident grin is still a dominant presence in the room.

Hillman glanced at the mural and said, “I’ve given this up for now.”

Trevor Fraser,

Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

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Janet Smith