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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 10 years ago

Loeb CEO calls project 'long-term investment'

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The chairman and CEO of Loeb Partners Realty told the Town Commission Friday, Jan. 8 that The Longboat Key Cub and Resort’s Islandside project it is proposing is a long-term investment for his company’s more than $3 billion U.S. real-estate portfolio.

“It’s one of my favorite properties in our portfolio, and I own a piece of it myself,” Lesser said.
Lesser told the commission that “not one dime” of the resort’s profits has been distributed to company investors over the last 10 years, so the property’s profits can be funneled back into projects such as The Tennis Gardens, the purchase of the Harbourside marina and the Islandside project.

“The investors are not happy with us, but we reiterate the Longboat Key property is a long-term asset,” Lesser said. “It’s essential we remain competitive with other destination resorts in Florida to attract consumers and achieve a reasonable return on our investment.”

Lesser said the project was rejected several times before General Manager Michael Welly convinced him to move forward with the $400 million project.

“We rejected this plan many times because of the equity and financing involved with it,” Lesser said. “We hope you will approve the redevelopment on mutually acceptable terms so we can help this island and give it the potential it deserves.”

Lesser told the commission his company “is ready to roll up its sleeves” and find financing as soon as the project is approved.

“I am convinced this project is the only way we can compete with other destination resorts around the country,” Lesser said. “We feel we must improve the club or it will disintegrate and get worse.”

Lesser told Islandside Property Owners Coalition attorney Michael Furen that he could not guarantee the five-star hotel would be built.

Said Lesser: “I can tell you it’s our intent to do so. We wouldn’t have spent the money we have in preparation for this project otherwise.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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