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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 4 years ago

Colony unit owners favor a rebuild

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The votes are in.

A straw poll the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association commissioned revealed the majority of units favor a teardown and rebuild of the 18 acres of resort property.

The vote breakdown, as the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Operations Coordinator Larry Stritzel reported Tuesday, April 9:
• 118 units are for an 18-acre rebuild;
• 78 units are for a 15-acre staged rehabilitation of existing units.

Colony unit owner Andy Adams cast 50 of the 78 votes in favor of a rehabilitation. Adams owns 50 units and has control over the same number of votes. Only 28 other individual unit owners cast votes in favor of a rehabilitation.

Association President Jay Yablon said the poll was strictly an advisory vote that will help give the board a sense of what the majority of the unit owners wants before the May 7 annual owners meeting.

Asked to sum up the vote, Yablon said:

“The sentiment of the owners is clearly in favor of a rebuild, as I suspected. So, we are going to let the developers know the sentiment is pointed in this direction so they can feel more comfortable, and we are going to ask our redevelopment committee to try and get us a recommendation for a development partner in the very near future.”

The Association is currently in talks with two development companies that could perform a teardown and rebuild of the property: Sarasota-based Vanguard Land LLC and Stamford, Conn.,-based JHM Financial Group LLC.

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.

Adams, who would like to purchase more units and control a majority vote for the future of the resort property, said Tuesday he doesn’t know how to interpret the straw-poll vote.

Adams said owners can’t objectively vote on which way the resort should be redeveloped until proposals from development companies reveal financial statistics and outline all benefits to owners.

“We support a renovation because the majority of the owners have said in the past that’s what they want,” Adams said. “If that’s changed and this is the first vote that turns the tide on that sentiment, we need more facts and numbers to review to make an informed decision.”

Not all unit owners perceive the vote as cut-and-dry support of a teardown and rebuild.

Colony owner and Association board member Blake Fleetwood said, “The way I see it, it’s a tie.”

Fleetwood estimates that 41 of the resort’s 232 unit owners didn’t vote.

“Those who didn’t vote must be counted as a ‘no’ vote by Florida condominium law,” Fleetwood said.

Fleetwood said if you add the “no” votes to the teardown and rebuild vote, 119 votes are in favor of the 18-acre rebuild and 118 votes are against it.

Fleetwood says a teardown and rebuild needs an 80% vote in favor but can’t have more than 10% of the votes against it according to Florida condominium law.

When asked to comment on Fleetwood’s assessment of the vote, Yablon said:

“We have made it abundantly clear this poll of the owners is to advise the board. Each board member is free as an individual member to interpret this poll in the way they believe it needs to be interpreted.”

In a column submitted to the Longboat Observer, Yablon wrote, “Even with the 50 votes in this one, large stakeholder family included, the 40-vote margin, with more than 60% of the voting units favoring rebuild, is a clear mandate for a rebuild.”

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