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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013 4 years ago

Colony Association polls unit owners

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Renovate or rebuild?

That’s the question the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association wants unit owners to answer in a mail ballot.

The Association recently sent out a four-page ballot to all owners that asks them to select one of two options (see below for the options).

Polling is going on for the next three weeks. Unit owners have until April 8 to mail back their ballots.

Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association President Jay Yablon said the poll is strictly an advisory vote that will help give the board a sense of what the majority of the unit owners wants for the resort’s future before the resort’s annual owners meeting is held May 7, on Longboat Key.

On Feb. 25 through Feb. 27, an Association meeting revealed which way unit owners are leaning. Owners in attendance were asked if they were leaning toward a renovation of the existing units or a teardown and rebuild.

“A straw poll of owners was taken and, aside from the large block of votes that are controlled by Andy Adams (approximately 50 votes), the overwhelming sentiment from the sampling of owners at the meeting was in favor of a new construction project with an outside developer maintaining only the existing beachfront units,” Yablon said in February.

A letter that went along with the ballot also revealed the majority of the Association’s board is not in favor of a renovation.

“The majority of the board is not confident that a 15-acre staged rehabilitation would be successful or that this approach will yield the basis for a competitive resort,” the letter states.

The majority consists of board members Bob Erazmus, Herb Lipton, Bruce Pinsky, Stuart Ross, Barry Spiegel and Yablon.

“As an Association, we are going through our decision period these next three weeks to try and pinpoint our future,” Yablon told the Longboat Observer.

The mail ballot also reveals the Association is considering two development companies that could perform a rebuild of the property: Sarasota-based Vanguard Land LLC and Stamford, Conn.,-based JHM Financial Group LLC.

Vanguard, though, is requiring a settlement be reached with longtime Colony owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber and Colony Lender LLC. Vanguard is also seeking 113 tourism units from the town if selected to build a 350-unit project, according to the ballot letter.

Neither group, though, has provided figures showing what the purchase costs would be for ownership of new units, although both groups are offering whole ownership, fractional and buyout options. Yablon, though, said it’s premature to say those two groups are actively being considered for a project until owners make a decision about what kind of project they want.

Two Options For Owners
• An 18-acre teardown and rebuild of all of the resort’s property, with the exception of the resort’s sturdier beachfront units. This approach would include an attempt to settle all legal disputes.
• A 15-acre staged rehabilitation of the current property, which would require a $32,185 per-unit assessment from unit owners for the 2013-14 fiscal year to fix up the exterior of the buildings. Upgrading the interior of the units and making them functional would cost an additional $58,696 investment from each unit owner and would require a 75% majority vote in favor of the assessment. This approach would not settle legal disputes and would rebuild units around three acres of property that house the resort’s shuttered restaurant, businesses and tennis courts.

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