Make us your home page
Instagram

Bankrupt gold dealer Yaffe's Avila megamansion now half price

TAMPA — The most expensive mansion in Tampa Bay just got a little cheaper.

The price for disgraced gold dealer Mark Yaffe's opulent megamansion dropped last week to $12.9 million, half off from when it first hit the market in 2008.

Modeled after a 17th century British royal palace, the 29,000-square-foot home is one of Tampa Bay's largest, adorning 6 acres of Tampa's posh Avila country club.

But no buyer has jumped at the listing since Yaffe, the former head of liquidated coin wholesaler National Gold Exchange, declared bankruptcy and agreed to sell the home to pay off tens of millions in debt.

First listed at $25 million, the home's price has shrunk three times over five years of market lingering.

But its listing agent said the most recent drop, from $14.9 million, could be its last, having already drawn in three "serious inquiries," including from two unnamed international prospects.

"When something isn't selling, it's always price, price, price," Coldwell Banker agent Michelle Fitz-Randolph said. "They are very motivated to sell."

Taking seven years to build and design, the home at 706 Guisando de Avila was on the market only four years after its 2004 completion. Lawyers in Yaffe's bankruptcy case said in 2009 that the sale of the "Versailles-type" estate could take years.

Swaddled in custom-designed limestone and marble, the 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom manor boasts 14 fireplaces, a formal ballroom, a wood-paneled library, a wine cellar and a private basketball court.

Yaffe, who as a teen sold coins at a flea market, designed the Jacobean palace as a showcase for his antique music machines. His collection included a Hupfeld Phonolist Violina, a player piano for violins, valued at $1 million, and a rare Hupfeld Helios orchestrion, designed to mimic an orchestra, which he bought for $1.2 million.

But for all its grandeur, Yaffe's palace is only one of several treasures at Avila, the guarded Tampa enclave where lots are so wide and driveways so long that children have been known to trick-or-treat in golf carts.

Among those who have called the country club home: former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy and lineman Warren Sapp; former Tampa Bay Rays owner Vince Naimoli; and past-and-present New York Yankees Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

With its price drop, the Yaffe palace will play second fiddle to the priciest home on the market, a 15,000-square-foot mansion in Clearwater's Harbor Oaks. That home has been priced at a cool $14.9 million since it hit the market in 2010.

Bankrupt gold dealer Yaffe's Avila megamansion now half price 03/25/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 6:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG — World and national tragedies are changing the city's approach to security for special events at North Straub Park.

     Barricades along Beach Drive at the intersection of Fourth Avenue NE have been erected for security at upcoming holiday events at North Straub Park. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  2. Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will 'get it in the neck.'

    National

    TAMPA — A week ahead of the expected vote on a controversial tax reform bill, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited Tampa to deliver a message to small businesses: This bill will hurt you.

    Nelson
  3. St. Petersburg council okays restaurant deal for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Monday approved a lease for the Manhattan Casino, a landmark building in the city's historic African-American business and entertainment community.

    St. Petersburg has reached an agreement on a new restaurant at the Manhattan Casino.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them - with nudity, groping and lewd calls

    Nation

    Eight women have told the Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.

    Eight women have told the Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.The women were employees or aspired to work for Rose at the "Charlie Rose" show from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011. They ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged encounters. [Associated Press (2016)]
  5. Up for sale? Activist investor grabs stake in Tampa's Bloomin' Brands

    Retail

    TAMPA — If you tread water too long in the same spot, someone might start asking why you're not trying to swim somewhere.

    Barry Rosenstein, principal owner of hedge fund Jana Partners. Jana took a 8.74 percent stake in Tampa's Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse and three other restaurant chains, because Bloomin' is perceived as an underperformer. Jana may push to sell the company. [Courtesy of Jana Partners]