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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 1 year ago

Colony through the years

A lot has happened on the grounds of the Colony.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor


Opening to closing


Herb Field clears the land himself to build the Colony Beach Resort. Among its features, a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course. Six tennis courts eventually replace the golf feature in mid-1960s


The Klauber family moves to Longboat Key from Buffalo, N.Y.


Field leases Colony to Dr. Murray "Murf" Klauber


Klauber and a business partner buy the Colony for $3.5 million with a goal of turning the resort into America's first "tennis-centric resort."


Klauber forms the first condominium hotel rental partnership in Florida.


An agreement that would prove key to the dispute between the resort owners and the unit owners permits the resort owners to commit a portion of the hotel profits to pay for repairs to common elements, which the unit owners are required to maintain.


The Colony is inducted into the "Nation's Restaurant News" Fine Dining Hall of Fame. 


Katie Klauber is named president and general manager of the resort.


Tennis magazine names Colony the No. 1 tennis resort in the United States.


Tennis names Colony the No. 1 tennis resort  for an unprecedented eighth year in a row.


In December, unit owners vote to reject a $10 million assessment for repairs and improvements to common elements.


In December, unit owners vote to reject $10.6 million assessment for repairs.


In December, unit owners reject a third assessment and elect three new board members. The new board audits the resort owner and stops paying operational expenses.

One last drink before the Colony closes.


Klauber sues the Colony Association unit owner, claiming $14.1 million in unpaid repair costs.


The Colony Association files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, forcing a federal judge to rule on dispute between the resort owners and the unit owners.

April 2009

Bank of America forecloses on Klauber and seven of his corporations. 

July 2009

A judge rules unit owners are not bound to pay $14.1 million in repair costs, which was the subject of a 2007 lawsuit filed by Klauber. The ruling called the resort owners' calculations in the 1984 deal with unit owners "prohibitively speculative.''

September 2009

Hotel operations are suspended.

October 2009

Colony's hotel-operations sector files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, putting its debts on hold. 

Dec. 2009

A federal judge grants approval for the reopening of 100 hotel rooms and a $175,000 loan to Murf Klauber.

January 2010

Colony's hotel-operations sector rolls out a reorganization plan that would renovate the resort at a cost of $120 million.

February 2010

Investors Randy Langley and David Siegal, as Colony Lender, buy $10 million in Colony debt from Bank of a America for Klauber-owned property and announce a plan to revitalize the resort.

April 2010

The Colony Association unit owners seek judicial approval to reclassify its bankruptcy proceedings from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation, which would covert the property into a condominium association instead of a hotel resort.

July 2010

Colony Lender announces intentions to pursue mortgage foreclosure against Klauber.

August 2010

Unit owners are granted permission to convert to Chapter 7 bankruptcy and gain complete control of their 232 units.

Aug. 15 2010

Colony closes, ending the first condominium-hotel rental partnership in Florida.

Aug. 28, 2010

Callers to Town Hall complain the American flag on Colony property is at half-staff, in reference to its closing. The flag was ultimately reported stolen.



A new way forward

July 14, 2014

Colony Lender LLC, through an agreement with Unicorp National Development Inc., pays $15,200,001 for an 80% interest in the 2.3-acre recreational property — bringing its ownership to 95% — plus 100% ownership of the restaurant complex and Klauber’s former penthouse auction. Andy Adams owns the other 5%

September 2014

Unicorp sent demand letters to unit owners warning them they could face liabilities of more than $42.3 million stemming from a long-disputed lease of the recreational property and offering $20,000 per unit and a waiver of liability. Colony Lender then sued unit owners for $5.1 million for unpaid rent and real estate taxes going back to October 2008.

December 2015

Unicorp presents a development proposal to unit owners.

March 2, 2016

The association’s board votes unanimously to proceed with Unicorp.

August 2016

Unicorp announces purchase of the resort's recreational property, valued at $22 million from Colony Lender LLC.

December 2016

Longboat Key commissioners approved by a 5-2 vote a request by Unicorp to place the referendum on the March 14 ballot. The discussion of the issue grew heated at times.

March 14, 2017

Referendum that would have allowed Unicorp National Developments Inc. to add 180 residential units to the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort’s existing 237 tourism units was rejected by voters 3,220 to 465.

July 2017

Unicorp files a new plan with the town, seeking 268 units (102 residential and 166 tourism) in five story, 65 foot buildings with a 10,000 square foot ballroom. Affiliation with St. Regis is first announced.

December 2017

Planning and Zoning Commission approves, over town staff recommendation, to approve zoning text change to enable project to proceed.

January 2018

Critics begin focusing on the square footage of the ballroom and public spaces of the project, citing traffic and parking concerns. 

Unicorp scales back number of units to 78 condos and 166 hotel rooms. Public spaces are left unchanged.

The Monkey Bar was a popular site at the Colony.

March 2018

With a smaller ballroom now in the plan, Town Commissioners vote 6-1 to approve resort plan. 

May 2018

Town issues emergency order to demolish Colony buildings, citing health and safety concerns. 

June 2018

Legal challenges to the town's demolition order are denied. Unicorp, with a zero-dollar bid, wins contract to demolish all but one building on the property.

July 2018

Work is scheduled to begin on July 24 to demolish the buildings.







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