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Longboat Key Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 1 week ago

Colony recreational property sale sets Longboat record, experts say

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The sale of 2.3 acres of recreational property for $29.51 million at the site of the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort may be a record for Longboat Key, real estate veterans say.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

A recent real estate sale on Longboat Key —at $12.66 million per acre — may have broken the record for island property values, real estate experts say.

Unicorp National Developments purchased 2.3 acres of recreational property at the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort July 24 for $29.51 million.

Roger Pettingell, a real estate broker whose firm set the residential volume record on Longboat Key this past year, said this sale “must be by far the record.”

“It's definitely underheard of historically speaking,” Pettingell said. “But it’s completely understandable because this is the final piece of the puzzle that [Unicorp National Developments] is putting together.”

The sale of the recreational property further solidifies Unicorp's position as the developer of a proposed St. Regis Hotel and Residences, a 166-room, 78-condominium at the site of the former Colony, a project approved by the town of Longboat Key in March.

That project, slated for completion in 2021, is estimated to cost $600 million, the developer says.

Unicorp's bid of $29.51 million for the disputed 2.3 acres was successful in the all-or-nothing, court-ordered partition sale. Because the Orlando company already owned 95% of the property, the company will pay investor and Colony unit owner Andy Adams for his 5%, or $1.48 million.

The recreational property includes the old restaurant, delicatessen, swimming pool and tennis courts.

But it’s the future use of the 2.3 acres, not the land or whats on it, that gives the property it’s worth, said William A. Saba, a long-time local real estate attorney and developer.

“The value of that property is nothing more or less than the value of what you can do with it,” Saba said. “It's use is what makes it very valuable.”

There’s also no other property on Longboat Key that has the potential of becoming a project of the size Unicorp is proposing. That unique quality of the property makes it difficult to compare to other properties in the area as far as value is concerned, Saba said.

And the value of that 2.3 acres of recreational property has risen as the legal quagmire that has been the Colony for the past decade unraveled.

In 2016, Unicorp National Developments purchased 95% of the property for $22 million, or about $9.57 million per acre. Just two years before that, Colony Lender LLC purchased 80% of the property for $15.2 million, or about $8.26 million per acre. In 2011, Colony Lender LLC purchased 15% of the property, or about .345 acres, for $766,350, or $2.2 million per acre.

I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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