miami15 Posted July 9, 2005 Share Posted July 9, 2005 FORT LAUDERDALE Shaq leaps north to a new manse Miami Heat superstar Shaquille O'Neal may soon be calling Fort Lauderdale's Harbor Beach home. By PATRICK DANNER AND BRIDGET CAREY [email protected] Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, looking for quieter surroundings, has signed a contract to buy a two-story mansion in Fort Lauderdale's pricey Harbor Beach neighborhood. Asking price: $18.5 million. Originally seduced by the glitz and glamour of Miami Beach, O'Neal apparently got fed up with gawking boaters who crane their necks for a glimpse of the supersized Heat center in his posh Star Island waterfront estate. He now seeks more secluded digs near the Intracoastal Waterway for his wife and five children. If he makes the trek to Broward, his new neighbors will include retired Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen. ''Maybe we'll put a basketball court in the middle of the street so they can teach us how to shoot,'' quipped Bob Ross, president of the Harbor Beach Property Homeowners Association. But don't expect the 7-foot-1, 325-pound basketball superstar to downsize just for a quieter space. His new 20,753-square-foot abode at 1235 E. Lake Dr. is easily the biggest on the block, possibly thrice the size of surrounding homes. The current residents are John and Helen Jo Cahalin, part owners of Fort Lauderdale's China White nightclub. John Cahalin, 38, answered the door at the estate on Friday afternoon, but referred a reporter's questions to his real estate agent, Tim Elmes, who was out of town. ''We cannot comment because it has not closed yet,'' said Kelly Gessa, an agent who works with Elmes at Coldwell Banker in Fort Lauderdale. She declined to confirm O'Neal is the buyer, but added the deal is contingent on the buyer completing the sale of another residence. Lush tropical plants and palm trees border the Harbor Beach mansion, with two large black, rolling metal gates guarding the driveway. Inside, the home has nine bedrooms, nine full bathrooms and four half baths. Other features include a massage room, exercise facility, spa and movie theater. The second floor features a disco/bar that accommodates up to 200 partyers, according to two people who have seen it. The Cahalins are known for hosting rousing fundraisers for such groups as the Humane Society of Broward County. The house also has 360 linear feet of waterfront along Sylvan Lake, nestled off the heavily trafficked Intracoastal Waterway. O'Neal's Star Island home has been a magnet for tour boats hoping to provide a thrill for passengers wanting a peak at the all-star. The home is on Biscayne Bay. ''The lack of privacy has really been a concern,'' said Carlos Justo, a real estate broker with Sol Sotheby's International Realty in Miami, who was O'Neal's agent in last year's deal. The 19,440-square-foot mansion features eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, gym and indoor racquetball court. It's listed in the Multiple Listing Service for $32 million. O'Neal paid $18.8 million for the property in August. Whether O'Neal will find the privacy he desires in Harbor Beach remains to be seen. While the lake is off the city's main boating corridors, the neighborhood is accessible by car despite a gated entrance occasionally staffed by moonlighting police officers. The area also has roving security patrols. Residents are asked to pay $425 each quarter for the security, but it's not mandatory, Ross said. He added some residents have expressed concerns that O'Neal's presence may lead to increased neighborhood traffic caused by his fans. ''I, myself, don't think it's a big deal,'' Ross said. Joan VanWyck's family lives a few doors down and across the street from O'Neal's future home. She said her daughter, Brianna, thinks it would be ''awesome'' to have O'Neal for a neighbor. Even Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle is eager for O'Neal's arrival. ''I know Shaquille has been very supportive of police departments,'' Naugle said. ``We expect him to show up in a Fort Lauderdale uniform one of these days.'' Herald staff writer Matthew Haggman contributed to this report. I hope he likes driving. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.