Linger Lodge & Campground had been listed for sale since 2013.
A true piece of “Old Florida,” the Linger Lodge & Campground in eastern Manatee County, has a new owner.
An Austrian real estate group under the name River Loft LLC announced Nov. 11 it had acquired The Linger Lodge RV LLC and the Linger Lodge Restaurant LLC.
River Loft bought the property, a restaurant and RV park along the Braden River that dates back to the 1940s, from area real estate developer Marvin Kaplan and former Bradenton State Sen. Mike Bennett, now Manatee County supervisor of elections.
River Loft paid just under $5 million for the RV side and the restaurant side, according to Rudi Weiss, an agent with Charity & Weiss International Realty which represented the buyer. The property totals about 30 acres.
The Linger Lodge, which has a menu that includes gator nuggets and frog's legs, is well known in Manatee County for both its exotic menu and kitschy decorations, with several travel publications and blogs calling the spot one of the weirdest in Florida. It even grabbed a spot once on the Food Network’s “Al Roker’s Weird Restaurants” TV Show.
“The new owner is looking forward to developing the Linger Lodge to a state of the art, eco-friendly RV Park,” according to a release by Charity & Weiss. “The iconic restaurant will remain open and will keep its unique flair.”
Charlotte County entrepreneur Ruth Hofer is listed as one of the principals for River Loft LLC, according to Florida Department of State records. Hofer has been an asset manager with Skyloft Florida since August 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile. The group Hofer works for, said Weiss, owns several other properties on the Gulf Coast, from Fort Myers to Sarasota, including self-storage facilities and other restaurants.
Ricardo Ruiz del Vizo and Brett Kaplan of Optimus Commercial Real Estate Investment Advisors of KW Island Life represented the Kaplan-Bennett partnership in the deal. Kaplan and Bennett had hoped to develop portions of the property when they bought it in 2005 for $3 million. That project never came to fruition, and they put the site up for sale in 2008. They took it off the market a short time later, when they thought the bids they had gotten for the property were too low. They put it back on the market in 2013.
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