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Ryan Howard begins construction on a $23 million house with a “lazy river”

Apr 12, 2012, 8:48 AM EDT

Phillies' Howard smiles after scoring the game-winning run against the Astros during their National League baseball game in Philadelphia

Via Crossing Broad we learn that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is set to begin construction on a $23 million gulf coast home. And it has fun stuff like this:

Special features include “a Venice-style lazy river running from the swimming pool underneath a series of bridges” and a bowling alley on the ground level with breakaway walls, architect Dan Dawson said then. Dawson also indicated the home would take three-and-a-half to- four years to build, far in excess of the time limits allowed by the town’s stringent building code.

It’s crazy-expensive and will take way longer than is reasonable until it is completed? Talk about architecture imitating  life.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    And will be completed just as the Phillies front office and fans are REALLY regretting that 5 year, $125M extension that just started. I mean, moreso than now.

    • sasquash20 - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      I will never regret that deal guy is a beast.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    It’s crazy-expensive and will take way longer than is reasonable until it is completed? Talk about architecture imitating life.

    So what you are saying is he’s going to refer to his house as The Big Dig?

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      At what point will Howard’s contract be known as “The Big Hurt”?
      ….with apologies to Frank Thomas.

  3. b7p19 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM


  4. samu0034 - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    I can’t honestly say I’d be a whole lot more responsible with my money than Howard is being here, but it does illustrate why we shouldn’t be that surprised when we continually hear about some athlete being dead broke after a career that netted them millions and millions of dollars in salary.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Is he really spending his money all that irresponsibly, though? He’s already earned over $65 million throughout his career so far, and he’s guaranteed another $125 million coming through. Without knowing what he does with the rest of his money, I’m not sure you can call spending $23 million out of $190 million in lifetime earnings (probably $200MM+ when you consider endorsements) irresponsible.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        It’s less than a year’s salary. It’s still ridiculous. But it’s less than a year’s salary.

      • brentfrazier - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        When you look at it in the here and now…no. He’s not being irresponsible. As you stated, he’s spending less than a year’s salary. However, the house won’t be completed until he’s almost done playing. How much is it going to cost annually to maintain? Will his income in future years be sufficient to cover those costs alone? Can you imagine the electric and water bills on that place? And let’s not forget, the total earnings you’re speaking of are before taxes. Take at least a quarter to a third off the top and while still being a heck of a lot of money, its considerably less than the total. I hope it turns out great and he and his family can live in it forever, but I won’t be surprised if we hear about him in the same vain as Allen Iverson or Warren Sapp down the road.

      • xmatt0926x - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Agree with brentfrazier. We are all just guessing and Ryan Howard doesn’t seem like a moron athlete who blows every dime he makes on the Bentley of the week or supporting 50 hangers-on, but the lifetime earnings people are talking about are before taxes whereas the house cost is total cost and doesn’t include the monstrous upkeep on a yearly basis that will continue well after the money stops coming in. Then you have the gigantic real estate taxes. I had the same reaction most here today have had when I first read about this construction a year or so ago when he was fighting to get that Venetian canal approved. When will these guys learn? How many examples do you need to see? Evander Holyfield, Tyson, Pippen, Iverson, LT, antoine Walker. The list goes on forever of guys who have been supposedly set for generations with career earnings of close to or above $100 million. Can’t you find a decent crib for $5 million anymore?

    • fastspecv - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      I’d be responsible with the money. I mean how many times do you need to see that these big name pro sport athletes are broke within a few years of retiring from the game before it sinks into your head that eventually the gravy train will end. I think more then a few days ahead of me unlike a lot of these athletes today so I’d be worrying more along the lines of a few decades from now. I’d be tossing as much money into a high interest account and basically live off of the interest for the rest of my life while having a decent sized house but nowhere to the level of a double figure million dollar home.

    • stealing3rd - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Actually, it’s more than a year’s salary net of taxes…

  5. sledgehorn - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    At least he is spending all that money he got well…

  6. 18thstreet - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I were rich enough to put a bowling alley in my house, I think I would. And I don’t even like bowling that much.

  7. ame123 - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    HAHA a dig at Howard’s contract. You guys crack me up, I tell ya.

  8. cleverbob - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I hope he’s looked at the impact those features will have on operational costs and resale value. Just in case he pulls a Nic Cage…

  9. phillyphreak - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Being that I’m too lazy to click the link, I’ll assume that there is some stuff in there about how Crossing Broad wants fans to boo Howard because he’s not building a home in Philadelphia, and that’s a total disrespect of the fans ..first time long time.

    • sasquash20 - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Howard helped the Phillies win a world series. The only title in this city since the 83 76ERS. At no point and time does any Phillies or any Philadelphia 4 for 4 fan have the right to boo him or any of the players from that team. I was 3 when the 76ERS won, so to me that doesn’t count. That 08 team is my only championship any of the pro teams I root for ever won. Like Cole Hammels was our most important arm, Howard was the most important bat we had that year. Free pass for life. Also if I had the money to take my family out of Philly area and move them to the gulf coast it would take about 5 minutes to do so.

      • phillyphreak - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:01 PM

        I’m not sure if your post is just commentary or disagree with me. If it’s the former cool. If it’s the latter, then cool but know that I was mocking Crossing Broad. It’s terrible.

  10. stonecld33 - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    By the time it’s finished Howard may be declaring for bankruptcy.

  11. kiwicricket - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Pretty sure I would try build something out of marshmallows, if I was guaranteed the cash Howard is.
    As someone said previously….it’s a years salary. I’m happy for him.

    • cleverbob - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      By making that kind of comparison sure, it looks like peanuts. I wish I could buy a really nice home for one year’s salary. But you’re also implying that he can expect to make $25M a year until retirement age (real world retirement, not professional athlete). I think it’s pretty obvious that he won’t be signing a Pujols-type deal when this extension is over, and that he won’t be playing until he’s 60…

      • Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        And you’re implying that he needs to spend a similar amount of his annual salary living as you do yours. When the numbers get big enough, magnitude tells more than percentages.

      • kiwicricket - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        No, Bob, I guess you are right. He will not play until he’s 60. He will not sign a Pujol’s-type deal after his $125Million contract.
        Thanks for clearing that up for me.*

  12. deathmonkey41 - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I would rather spend the money on porn and snacks.

  13. Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    I’m sure he’s really concerned about how we think he should or should not be using his money. It’s his money. It’s guaranteed money. He can afford it. Get over it.

  14. feck12a - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    sure 23 million isn’t a big deal now but what happens 5 yrs after baseball? how much in taxes per year for a 23 million dollar house? have to pay for upkeep also…you dont spend 23 mil and mop the floors yourself. maid service, gardeners, security it adds up fast and i’m sure he has a garage full of luxury cars already. And dont forget out of every dollar he makes atleast half is gone compliments of uncle sam!

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM


      Taxes will be huge. Upkeep will be huge. Probably almost impossible to re-sell at anything approaching the construction cost; anyone that could afford to buy it would just build their own custom house.

      • deathmonkey41 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        Yeah, and people keep saying it’s a year’s salary- he’s not going to be making 26mil a year for the rest of his life. Baseball players don’t play for 30-40 years. Especially not guys as big as him. Bodies break down. There really doesn’t seem to ever be a reason to spend that much on a house, but that’s just me. I guess he couldn’t feel cozy enough in a 2-3 million dollar house.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        He really deserves a tax cut. Vote Romney

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:46 PM

        Thank God Ryan Howard has enough money that I wouldn’t need to do something that idiotic.


    • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Yeah, ’cause there’s no way he could, ya know, like invest in stuff to keep the upkeep available or anything.

      • paperlions - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        Yeah, because “investing” is such a sure thing.

        Seems like at least 1/2 of the former ballplayers that file for bankruptcy do so because of failed investments, not in spite of them.

      • cleverbob - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        That’s because failed restaurants, clubs, and record labels sound more grown-up when you call them “investments”. Realistic investing through a financial planner making conservative decisions could allow a guy like Howard to live off the dividends, interest and appreciation without ever having to touch his principle. But that’s responsible, and boring, and lame.

      • paperlions - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        That may be true for former basketball or football players. For baseball and hockey players, it is often failed real estate/property ventures.

        Matheny went bankrupt and lost his house due to bad property investments. There are a lot of “legitimate” investment opportunities that don’t work out….like…most of them.

      • cleverbob - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        Yea, there is probably a disproportionate number of athletes going broke due to real estate investments vs market investments, but how much of that can be attributed to the real estate bubble bursting and never recovering? By comparison the financial markets are much healthier.

        Besides, everyone knows the safest bet is to put it all into cocaine trafficking…

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        So what you’re saying is that he’s going to blow all his money on silly expenses and investments, ya know, because he’s a baseball player…and that’s what they do. But if he had been a football or basketball player, then he’d be set for life? Really? The hell with all this free will crap from last week.

  15. js20011041 - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    If I had the same guaranteed money coming my way, I’d absolutely build a way too big, way too expensive house on the water. Either that or I’d spend it on hookers and blow. Either way it’s better than making it rain in a strip club.

    • kiwicricket - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      So basically it comes down to location?

    • sasquash20 - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Hookers and Blow all day!

  16. spol85 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    There are some of these young millionaire athletes that go broke but there are plenty of others that do not. With a good financial team around him, Howard still has over $100 million to live the rest of his life off of. That doesn’t include any endorsements, his previous contracts or other business investments. All reports are that he comes from a good home, his mother handles his finances (she is an accountant) and has never been in any trouble.
    To assume he will be broke in a few years based on a few examples of other athletes mistakes is a joke. For every Warren Sapp that we hear about, there are hundreds of others that handle their money well.
    If you read about any other 32 year old who wins $100 million in the lottery, you would say he was “set for life”. But because its an athlete, all of a sudden he will be broke in a few years.
    Personally, I would like to thank him for putting $23 million back into the local economy.

  17. dennisund - Apr 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I wonder if it will be big enough to store all of the empty seats from the Braves’ ballpark.

  18. phillyphan83 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Surprise, surprise, another Craig Calcaterra story talking sh*t on a Philly sports team. Way to have un-biased, balanced blog posts Craig. You’re REALLY making a name for yourself there guy.

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