Elin Nordegren appears to be building an essentially identical house to replace the $12.3-million mansion she had demolished in North Palm Beach — but she had a couple of good reasons for getting rid of the old one.
Turns out the house, built in the 1920s, didn't comply with current building codes designed to keep the place together in case of a hurricane, and it would have cost more to renovate than to rebuild, her builder told People.
"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," Dan Reedy of Onshore Construction and Development told the mag.
And then they found the bugs. Termites and carpenter ants, to be specific. Nordegren had given a local Habitat for Humanity chapter four weeks to strip fixtures, cabinets and hardware from the six-bedroom house, and the volunteers were the ones to make the creepy, crawly discovery.
"When we pulled out the windows, the bugs were everywhere," Bobbi Blodgett, Habitat's director of deconstruction, told People. (The Ministry pauses a moment to shudder.)
TMZ obtained drawings submitted tothe Palm Beach County's Department of Planning, Zoning & Building that show the exterior of the new house looking similar to what was there — and why not? It was pretty darned beautiful. And that's without being able to see the soon-to-manifest couple of Jacuzzis, the wine cellar or the grotto. Not to mention nine bedrooms to replace the six originals and any number of other changes inside) — plus three guest bungalows to boot.
Also, for those with sticker shock, keep this in mind: One peek at an L.A. County property tax bill will serve as a reminder that with almost any property, the land is worth way more than the shack sitting on it, no matter how swell that shack may be.
So the $12.3 million Elin paid was not really the value of the house she knocked down — and as far as we can tell, that acre or so of oceanfront property remained intact.
Nordegren, of course, picked up a reported $110 million in her divorce from Tiger Woods.
— Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Elin Nordegren in 2009. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press.