The week after five buildings were razed on the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort grounds, organizers touted another milestone Friday, Aug. 26, on the road to the $1 billion rejuvenation of the rundown properties at 6020 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.
“We now have executed development and settlement agreements between the Colony Beach and Tennis Club Association and Unicorp National Developments,” read an email signed by Jay Yablon, president of Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association.
Several hurdles remain.
Developers need 75% approval of the settlement deals within 45 days from the owners of 237 units, including Tennessee developer Andy Adams, who owns 68 units. Adams and his 29 percent share of unit ownership could block the deal by himself.
Adams did not return repeated calls for comment.
“We’ve made a really good offer and hopefully he’ll get on board in the new few weeks,” said Unicorp National Developments President Chuck Whittall.
The offer comes to a minimum $167,851 per unit plus a $200,000 bonus for oceanfront units and a $100,000 bonus for mid-rise units.
The offer works out to about $186,000 per unit or about $44.08 million total.
“It’s pretty straightforward and we’re confident the majority of the owners can get on board,” Whittall said.
Owners were sent a voting package to consider before approving the development agreement – or not. A six-week voting period ending Oct. 7 will give owners time to review the offer with legal and financial consultants, according to developers.
The offer makes clear unit owners give up their right to sue by agreeing to the deal.
In bold lettering, using all capital letters, the offer states: “As joining owner, you understand that by becoming a joining owner, you are waiving the right to object to or contest the termination plan for the Colony condominium approved by the association under the agreement.”
Yablon said owner approval of the deal would end a long, tangled road of litigation.
“After more than 10 years of dispute at the Colony, your approval of this agreement will finally put an end to all remaining litigation, and will finally initiate a redevelopment of the Colony,” he said in the email. “Your approval of this agreement will allow those of us who have been waiting to cash out for a good return to do so, and will also allow those of us wishing to enjoy future years with their family and friends at the new Colony to do so.”
The owners of at least one unit are unlikely to sign on.
Unit owners Sheldon and Carol Rabin have already received two favorable rulings in their lawsuit against the Colony Association. A Second District Court of Appeal ruling dated Aug. 12 upheld a May 13, 2015, decision in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court regarding the Rabin’s Longboat Key property at the Colony Beach and Tennis Club.
Colony Beach and Tennis Club declared bankruptcy in 2008 and the resort ceased operations in 2010.
The Rabins sued the Colony Beach Board of Directors claiming it failed to perform repairs and maintenance, which caused them significant financial harm.
Whittall said the Rabin ruling will not affect the planned $1 redevelopment.
The developers will go before the Longboat Key Town Commission on Sept. 12 to request an extension of the property entitlements.
Redevelopment plans call for a 180-unit condominium, 180-room hotel with timeshares at the property, along with saltwater swimming pools populated with tropical fish.
“I look forward – and I know Chuck Whittall does also – with your collective support and assistance, to finally being able to redevelop the Colony property and restore a world-class facility for the Colony unit owners, the citizens of Longboat Key, and the general public,” Yablon said in the email.