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'For sale' signs go up at Isleworth

HomesTiger WoodsGrant HillAuction ServiceAndre ReedVince CarterJoe Lewis

Isleworth has reigned as Orlando's most prestigious address for more than a decade.

The lavish 300-home subdivision on the Butler Chain of Lakes near Windermere is, above all else, known as the place Tiger Woods, other athletes and prominent business executives call home.

But in this real-estate market of unprecedented lows, even the rich and famous are finding it tough to sell.

Sports stars Grant Hill, Mark O'Meara, Stuart Appleby and Ryan Longwell as well as former Hughes Supply Inc. CEO Tom Morgan and the estate of car dealer Bob Dance all have homes up for sale in Isleworth.

In fact, at least 45 mansions, or 15 percent of the subdivision, are on the market.

That's higher than nearby luxury subdivision Keene's Point, where 11 percent of its 960 homes are for sale.

The heavily guarded gates don't keep out distressed sales.

In April, for example, a home in the neighborhood sold at auction for only $1.1 million -- about $200 per square foot -- or about half the $2.1ƒ|million price it sold for in 2005. Homes in Isleworth typically sell closer to $500 per square foot or more.

And just like in the rest of the market that makes it harder for everyone else to sell.

One of Grant Hill's two Isleworth homes has spent more than 470 days on the market. He bought the Mediterranean-style estate that boasts a silver leaf wall and a home theater with a star-light ceiling in 2002 for more than $4 million, including $850,000 for the land. Today he is asking $5.9 million.

Hill is keeping the 16,000-square-foot mansion he bought for $10 million in 2007.

Morgan, who relocated to Montana, has spent nearly two years trying to sell his home listed at $2.3ƒ|million. And the Dance estate has been on the market for almost a year at $2.9 million.

Minnesota Vikings kicker Longwell has his 6,089-square-foot home listed for $4.9 million. Longwell has another property in the Reserve at Lake Butler Sound for sale for $2.7 million.

Appleby is holding on to two Isleworth homes and listed a third for sale for $2.6ƒ|million.

O'Meara's 3,497-square-foot home, complete with an outdoor summer kitchen, went on the market just over a month ago for $2 million.

British billionaire Joe Lewis bought Isleworth in the early '90s and revived the development from the brink of financial ruin by attracting a roster of residents who are household names.

Tiger Woods, whose very presence has arguably done more to put the "worth" in Isleworth than anyone else, owns two homes in the development. But he is building an estate on Jupiter Island, a wealthy enclave north of Palm Beach, and that has raised questions about which mansion Woods will truly call home.Neither of his two Isleworth properties is listed for sale.

Over the years Ken Griffey Jr., Andre Reed and Orel Hershiser have left Isleworth.

And Isleworth's original celebrity, Wesley Snipes, saw his home there go on the auction block and sell for half of what he paid back in 2003 when the actor started to run into financial trouble.

Vince Carter, who was recently traded to the Orlando Magic, may soon end up spending more time in the house he bought there in 2001.

So -- for now -- Isleworth is keeping its celebrity cache.

Residents can also claim Shaquille O'Neal as a neighbor.

An earlier version of this column included an incorrect price for the house Grant Hill purchased in 2002.

Beth Kassab can be reached at bkassab@orlando sentinel.com or 407-420-5448. Read her blog at orlandosentinel.com /thebottomline.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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