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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2016 5 years ago

EXCLUSIVE: Trump invests in Colony

‘It’s gonna be YUUGE,’ Trump says of his plan for the resort.
by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

APRIL FOOLS’ — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to make Longboat Key great again — starting with the shuttered resort at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

A Longboat Observer investigation revealed that The Donald is the investor behind Orlando-based Unicorp National Development Inc., which seeks to build a new $1 billion resort on the property. Trump discovered the vacant resort while visiting his Florida headquarters in Sarasota.

A letter to unit owners states Trump will:

  •  Build a wall around the Colony to address current concerns from neighboring Aquarius Club residents about trespassing;
  • Self-finance a “Make LBK great again” campaign to promote a referendum to obtain 300 tourism units for a 100 miniature Trump Tower villas;
  • Break ground on the property within a decade of completing his second term as president.

“Longboaters love me,” Trump told the Longboat Key Town Commission during a surprise appearance at Monday night’s meeting in which he declared the island “Trump Town.” “It’s gonna be YUUUGE.”

Trump said his plan would put Longboaters back to work, citing the hundreds of jobs on the Key that have been lost to residents of Sarasota and Bradenton.

A  man in the audience objected, saying mainlanders are taking jobs Longboaters don’t want.

“I’ve been retired since ’78, and you’re trying to put me to work as a bellhop?” he said.

Trump fired back, reminding the man of the town’s civility policy while tweeting “Long Boat (sic) Key, you’re getting weak.”

Trump also criticized the commission as career politicians who have worked too slowly to modify town codes, which he vowed to simplify.

A Longboat Observer/Gallup poll shows Trump leading with 49% of unit owners’ vote, although support varies widely by demographics.

Trump has an easy lead among unit owners in Buildings 101-106, 109 and 210, but rival Cruz Control Ltd. is the frontrunner for Buildings 107-108.

Rubio Resorts LLC, a contender for Building 211’s vote, has faced intense Trump scrutiny.

“Look at those plans? Are they small plans?” Trump said, referring to Rubio Resorts’ vision for a Colony with just 120 units. “If they’re small, something else must be small.”

Developer, Jeb! Co. Ventures withdrew its resort plans.

Among minorities — such as those who own midrise units — Trump remains unpopular.

Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association officials are concerned as the April 1 annual unit owner meeting vote approaches. They worry about the impact of a divided ownership when the Nov. 8 referendum vote approaches.

Trump declined to comment to the Longboat Observer after Monday’s meeting, accusing the reporter of spreading “vile lies” his vision for the Colony.

Hopefully you made it to the end of the article, so we can say, Happy April Fools' Day! This story is not true.

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