Tampa’s House of Hennessy was a party spot in the 2000s. Now it’s for sale.
LUTZ — Step back to a time of low elevation. Breathe in the Paris Hilton fragrance. Sip Red Bull Vodka. Wrap a skull scarf around your neck. There is no Instagram, no TikTok; Facebook remains a fragment of itself. The notion of festive intimacy swallows its last breaths, by the pool.
The. You woke up in 2009. The country is just emerging from a recession and a little hype seems tempting. If you’re a young adult in Tampa Bay, you might open your eyes behind the Airmen of the House of Hennessy, the famous Super Bowl home with an entire pirate ship. This rural estate once hosted everyone from Cuba Gooding Jr. to DJ Khaled.
What a time to live. Now what a time to let go.
Boom boom pow, back to today. Kerin Clarkin stood in the lobby Saturday during her marathon 12-hour open house, a lush selection of fruit skewers and lemon spa water on the bar. He was expecting a DJ later, an obvious flex when the pool has a built-in DJ booth.
He and Madison Fair are the real estate agents register property at 19165 Geraci Road for $2.5 million. As in the good old days of the house, promotion and word of mouth are essential to success. Clarkin runs a TikTok called FunTampa where he posted pictures of the house. Meanwhile, Fair has been cold calling dentists and lawyers to drum up interest.
Families and investors filtered into the open house to ask about land surveys, a sober antithesis at home blows-blows-blows inheritance.
Clarkin, 42, ran the bar’s marketing at the time and remembers Sunday stories at the so-called “Lutz Mansion.” Clarkin came of age partying in the Hamptons, which sounds fancy until you do the math on a dozen friends crammed into a weekend house. It was the same idea in Tampa – as much as possible, anyway.
“In 2009, Tampa wasn’t on the map for anything special,” Clarkin said.
And little of what happened behind the walls of the mansion has been filmed, or at least not displayed. Now, Clarkin pointed out, you have to be prepared to be exposed everywhere. Even doorbells are watching.
Select Pictures and videos from the House of Hennessy era survive online. There they are, revelers in oversized suits and tube tops, dancers in monokinis on the pirate ship, celebrity guests showing off Hennessy Celebration Hi-Tops, a party favor.
“You have to be here,” says former Fresh Prince partner DJ Jazzy Jeff in a promotional video. “It’s incredible.”
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How did athletes and rappers find this vast area of Hillsborough County? Eric and Lisa White, owners of Whitewater Pools and Spas, did not return my call, although the receptionist was friendly and knew exactly the house I was talking about.
I reconstructed the story through archives:
The Whites built the five-bedroom, 4,700-square-foot home on a dead-end road near Cheval in 2007. They created the ultimate showcase pool, 120,000 gallons with a 45-foot shooting vessel and a sculpture of an alarming realism. captain. The hull is a secret, air-conditioned hideaway with a sofa and TV. Hey?
In 2009, the Whites put the house on the market. When it didn’t sell, they decided to rent it out for events. A Super Bowl 43 sponsorship with cognac brand Hennessy drew 1,000 guests. Shortly after came the Extreme Rehab Mansion Parties on Sunday afternoon with 93.3 FLZ broadcasting live. This sentence breathes 2009.
And you guessed it, an anonymous complaint quickly reached Hillsborough County Code Enforcement. Zoning citations followed. Party organizers moved to a Days Inn on the Dale Mabry Highway.
These days, international basketball player Kyle Swanston owns the house. It downplays the old Hennessy connection. It’s sponsored by – wait for it – Tito’s Handmade Vodka. He had a few bottle service parties at home, but found the event too crowded.
Swanston renovated the property, which Fair said rocked partially carpeted walls and gilded ceilings. He added $100,000 in new appliances and wired the electricity through an iPad. It now has a cleaner, whiter look inside, but the swashbuckling pool remains intact. The house is listed on Airbnb for $2,000 a night.
Orlando couple Joseph and Theresa Madison strolled into the open house. They run Destiny Homes and Hotels and said they buy properties to live in and rent them out to other business people. The house’s raucous past was not a selling point for them. But they could see it as a new kind of recreational oasis for a client’s family.
Parties will always find a way into a place like this, locked in the DNA of nighttime mood lighting. The holidays will be different, plus 2022. Weddings bursting with peonies. Remote work vacation. Photo shoots for Instagram. Low-key business with no radio stations or promoters. More digital, more exposed, more careful.
This house will always carry a few manufacturing secrets, reminders of this analog energy of 2009, the smoke machines, the tiny cocktail serving trays. Here’s one for the road party goers.
Inside is a bottle of Hennessy passed down from owner to owner. Cheers.
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