Update 1/9/12: A bit of "why" has been revealed in this eyebrow-raising real estate story. People reports that when renovation work commenced on Nordegren's 1932 home, contractors discovered that it was not up to modern South Florida wind-loading codes that would prevent the structure from receiving significant damage during a major hurricane. Dan Reedy of Onshore Construction and Development says: "We had an architect and a structural engineer out here and everyone agreed that it made more sense — structurally and economically — to tear it down and start over." And on the deconstruction front, some good news: Habitat for Humanity of Martin County spent four weeks salvaging "tens of thousands dollars worth" of building materials from the mansion before it was demolished. And during the salvaging process, workers found that the home was infested with termites and carpenter ants. Says Bobbi Blodgett, Habitat's director of deconstruction: "When we pulled out the windows, the bugs were everywhere. To rebuild that house would have been ridiculous. We're so grateful to Elin. It's rare we get this kind of donation." All sounds good (here's hoping Habitat did something about the bug-ravaged donation) but how did Nordegren not know that the home was infested with bugs and not up to code when she bought it for $12 million?
Aiy yiy yiy. Over the past 24 hours, the interwebs have been awash with news that Elin Nordegren, the retired Swedish model most famous for being the golf club-swinging ex-wife of PGA-touring serial philanderer Tiger Woods, has completely bulldozed the historic Florida mansion that she purchased less than a year ago for $12 million (click here for before and after photos). Reportedly, the Stockholm-born beauty plans to build a new "dream home" on the site of the old one.
The 17,000-square-foot waterfront compound located in North Palm Beach’s super-exclusive Seminole Landing development was built in 1932 and included six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and an elevator. Now I understand that Nordegren may be working through some rage issues — in August 2010, she divorced Woods and walked away with a reported $110 million settlement after a domestic disturbance/SUV crash revealed that he had been carrying on extramarital affairs with as many as 15 different women including a porn star — and she may be wanting to start fresh, but this is rather extreme. That said, I’d totally get it if she wanted to demolish his house in Jupiter Island ... the guy's a slimeball.
Local realtor John True tells The Palm Beach Post: “It was a beautiful place, incredible landscaping, fantastic ocean frontage. I heard that the original plan was to renovate. But once they started, I heard they decided to tear it down."
I would sincerely hope, especially considering the age and value of Nordegren’s former digs, that this was not a straight-up demolition job and that deconstruction somehow played a part in it. Construction and demolition (C&D) materials account for a truly massive amount — as much as 50 percent — of landfill waste in the U.S. By EPA estimates, 170 million tons of C&D waste was generated in 2003 alone.
Deconstruction has become an increasingly popular practice where totally reusable building materials like doors, windows, flooring, fixtures, timber and more are diverted from landfills and given a second lease on life. Frequently, materials salvaged from wrecking ball-ready homes are incorporated into the new homes directly built in their place while often the materials are donated to Habitat for Humanity ReStores and other charitable organizations. Over the years, I’ve featured more than a few eco-friendly homes largely built from salvaged building materials, a couple of notable ones being Shannon Quimby’s REX House in Portland, Ore., and this home in Beverly Hills.
Again, it's unclear if the entirety of Nordegren's old home was unceremoniously razed, thrown into a series of Dumpsters, and carted off to a Florida landfill or if any building elements were salvaged and will be incorporated into the new home. I'm guessing we'll find out more as the new home is erected.