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Longboat Key Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 4 years ago

MW Group unveils development proposal

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association board members and unit owners are meeting behind closed doors this week at Temple Beth Israel to discuss what to do with the Colony and to debate redevelopment proposals.

Meanwhile, Manfred Welfonder’s Longboat Key-based MW Development Group continues to push for a new resort that involves tearing the shuttered resort down and rebuilding.

A September 2012 engineer’s report requested from MW Group shows it’s not feasible to renovate the Colony’s existing 232 units for financial and regulatory reasons.

Florida Emergency Management Association (FEMA) mandates owners are limited to spending no more than 50% of the value of an existing structure that doesn’t adhere to current flood regulations.

According to Welfonder’s engineer report, regulations, codes and limitations by FEMA make it impossible to renovate the existing property.

The report, prepared by Winter Park-based Fugleberg Koch LLC, shows what it would cost to bring each unit up to code.

The report states the following minimum investments are needed:
• Elevator service to all floors of multi-level buildings and ramp access to lowest levels above grade would cost $80,000 per building ($10,000 per unit)
• Fire protection systems — $3,500 per unit
• Structural wind and surge protection — $8,000 per unit
• Window replacement for wind-loading standards — $5,000 per unit
• HVAC energy code compliance — $6,500 per unit
• Electrical service load needs and distribution system upgrades — $2,500 per unit
• Internal accessibility mandates (accessible kitchens, restrooms and internal door and hardware needs) —  $4,500 per unit

Independently, the report states each unit also needs new kitchen cabinetry and countertops; new flooring; painting; removal of hazardous materials; and mildew and mold removal.

At the very least, the report suggests it would cost a minimal investment of $56,000 per unit.

“That’s well over all projected cost thresholds,” the report states. “Therefore, even a phased renovation program would not be doable.”

Welfonder’s proposal calls for three options for owners:

• A one-thirteenth co-ownership at no cost to current owners and prices for units ranging from $99,000 to $179,000 for new buyers.
• A 100% ownership option would be available for current owners between $331,000 and $686,000 per unit.
• Current owners can also choose a buyout at an average of $75,000 to $85,000 per unit.

The plan calls for the construction of 160 hotel units built in one or two mid-rise buildings developed and/or managed by an international hotel company and owned by the developer; the construction of 180 vacation ownership units/residences; 10 private residence clubs; and a three-meal restaurant, pool bar, ballroom, meeting rooms, spa, Har-Tru tennis court and an agreement with nearby golf courses allowing for the use of the facilities. 

Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association President Jay Yablon declined to comment on MW’s proposal or its past engineer findings.

Yablon also said he could not discuss what kind of redevelopment proposals unit owners were debating this week, although he confirmed the MW proposal has been submitted for the owners’ review but has never been accepted by the board.

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