Outrageous Orlando mansion is selling for $75 million

David Siegel, the billionaire owner of Westgate Resorts, is selling an Orlando mansion for a preposterous $75 million. The 90,000-square-foot megapalace, nicknamed Versailles (after the home of the beheaded French king and his Austrian bride Marie-Antoinette), is noted for one of its most salacious features: an octagonal bedroom fitted for a bed that rotates.

One more crucial aspect is noteworthy: It's not even finished.

If that master bedroom is too gaudy for you, you can choose from one of 12 other bedrooms. There are also 23 bathrooms, 10 kitchens, a garage for 20 cars, 1,250 lakefront feet, and three pools. The home is in Windermere, the same exclusive town in which Tiger Woods lives. Click here for a satellite view of the real estate monstrosity, on Lake Butler, so close to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom that the nightly fireworks show there is audible from the front yard.

Westgate Resorts, whose officers claim is the world's third-largest timeshare company, is one of the many parasites on Disney's big tourism cash cow. It represents eight resorts in Central Florida and claims 2 million owners and 10,000 employees worldwide. It also sells timeshares and condos and roping untold numbers of unsuspecting Orlando-area tourists into hours of hard-sell pitches for time-shares just so they can get free tickets to the Disney theme parks. I guess wasting countless Americans' vacation time really paid off.
In its current half-built condition, "Versailles" feels more like a ruined monument to the high life of the early 2000s than a golden investment opportunity. Don't lose your head, though: The $75 million tag is "as-is." If you want it finished to your custom demands, it will cost you about $100 million.

It begs two questions: If Siegel is so rich, why can't he finish building the thing? And if he doesn't want to pursue his custom Shangri-La, just what kind of a place will he move into? Knowing the miseries of the timeshare industry right now, which is buckling under the inability of many customers to pay, he's probably downsizing -- maybe to a 15-bathroom, 2-pooler, or something humble like that.

After all, even with tourism troubles, last year the timeshare industry was worth about $9 billion to the state of Florida.


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