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The ‘Cocoon’ St. Pete estate is on the market

Veronica Brezina



An aerial image of the estate at 1446 Park St. N., St. Petersburg. All photos: Patrick Degnan.

For $11.5 million, a buyer can claim the historic St. Petersburg estate that features the iconic “fountain of youth” Venetian pool shown in Ron Howard’s 1985 film Cocoon.

While the property is known for its Hollywood debut in the movie, which is about a group of seniors who receive energizing youthful qualities after swimming in a pool with alien cocoons, the 2.64-acre property has a name – Casa De Muchas Flores, or “House of Many Flowers.” 

The 9,932-square-foot Mediterranean Revival-designed manor was built in 1924 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Renowned architect Henry Dupont designed the home at the same time he was also designing the Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, according to the listing. 

The pool house. 

The waterfront property is lined with oak trees, lush landscaping and a butterfly garden. The owners added the pool house to replicate the temporary structure filmmakers had built over the outdoor pool for the movie. 

RELATED: Vintage St. Pete: Making ‘Cocoon,’ aka ‘Close Encounters on Golden Pond’

Husband-and-wife Chester and Doris Babat are the current owners. The couple purchased the home for $500,000 in 1982, according to property records. 

“They have done a beautiful job in keeping the original elements from the pecky cypress ceilings to the chandelier,” said Dania Perry, a real estate agent with Century 21 representing the sellers. 

The living room.

Perry said the owners are selling the home as they are planning to travel more. 

The Babats have maintained the tiles, custom woodwork and marble columns in the six-bedroom home. 

The living room has coffered ceilings, a granite fireplace and a wet bar. 

An interior balcony leads to the owner’s wing, which has separate baths and closets. 

“All of the bedrooms are suites with high ceilings and closets – the design is very forward-thinking for a home built in the 1920s,” Perry said, explaining how the owners meticulously kept up on the maintenance of the property and grounds. 

The courtyard. 

On the third level, the home features a 600-square-foot room with panoramic views of the backyard. The space was being used as an artist studio. 

There’s also a guest wing with two-bedroom suites. Additionally, there are apartment-size staff quarters that have separate entrances. 

Outside, the 1,200-square-foot cabana includes a kitchen and guest room with a pool bath. 

“I’ve never received so many calls about a home,” Perry said. The inquiries are coming from interested in and out-of-state buyers. 

“The challenge is capturing the charm of the home with photos,” Perry said. “You have to walk through it.” 

From left: Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn and Don Ameche in the ‘Cocoon’ pool, on Park Street in St. Petersburg. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox.


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    Sharon Czaplewski

    July 25, 2023at11:31 am

    I will enjoy reading the articles.

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