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Florida 'Versailles,' nation's largest home, is back from the brink

·Homes Editor
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Jackie Siegel in front of her old, too-small mansion. Click any photo for a slideshow. (Photo: Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)
Jackie Siegel in front of her old, too-small mansion. Click any photo for a slideshow. (Photo: Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

Let's not bury the lead: It's still not done.

But Florida's 90,000-square-foot behemoth of a mansion known as "Versailles" is apparently no longer the lost cause it may have appeared a couple of years ago, "The Insider" learns in a new video interview, above. [Also, click here or on a picture for our 55-image slideshow with many more details.]

David Siegel ("They call me the time-share king") and his wife, Jackie Siegel — titular star of the 2012 documentary "The Queen of Versailles" — began building their dream home near Disney World about a decade ago. Soon it became evident that the sheer size of the mansion was almost unprecedented in America; it's thought that only Biltmore House and Oheka Castle are bigger and still standing, and both of  those are now run as tourist attractions, not true single-family homes.

But when the bottom fell out of the financial markets in 2008, their fortunes were upended too. By the time the documentary ended, their dream home had gone into default and they'd put it on the market. The listing asked for $100 million finished — "based on the royal palace of Louix XIV of the 17th century or to the buyer's specifications — or $75 million "as is with all exterior finishings in crates in the 20-car garage on site."

It didn't sell, though, even after a $10 million price cut.

That's just as well: David Siegel's time-share empire, Westgate, regained its footing and in fact has been doing better than ever, he told the Orlando Business Journal in February: "Once the recession was over, business was booming again — in 2012, we had our all-time best year in history, and in 2013 we beat that by 30 percent and 2014 beat that previous year by 25 percent. And so far, we're already ahead again this year compared to last year."

Rendering vs. reality. (Photo by Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)
Rendering vs. reality. (Photo by Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

"The Insider" just checked in with the Siegels, who resumed work on Versailles some time ago, and learned from Jackie that "if I have my way, it's going to be bigger." (She and David may need to get on the same page there; he told the Orlando Business Journal that "It's already big enough as it is.")

Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.

Completion is projected for "between two and two and a half years," David said. Jackie had originally hoped to have his 80th birthday party there, even if the house wasn't ready to move in — but judging from footage shot by "The Insider," we suspect it's not going to happen. His birthday is May 3.

Oddly, construction doesn't appear in "The Insider" video to have advanced much beyond our slideshow photos (mostly from the listing), even though a couple of years have passed since the project geared back up. Yahoo Homes has left messages with the Siegels for more information and will update this post if we hear back.

Jackie tells "The Insider": "I'm not at the ending to my story yet, but so far, it's a happy ending, and I'm really looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life and moving into my palace, finishing it and throwing lots of parties — anxious for the world to see it."

Watch the video for the recent visit from "The Insider." And to see renderings of how the Siegels' Versailles is supposed to eventually look, as well as photos that show the property in progress, click through our slideshow:

The Siegels in their old 26,000-square-foot mansion, from which they say they're 'bursting out at the seams.' Click any photo for a slideshow with more details. (Photo: Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)
The Siegels in their old 26,000-square-foot mansion, from which they say they're 'bursting out at the seams.' Click any photo for a slideshow with more details. (Photo: Lauren Greenfield, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

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