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Unicorp president responds to Longboat Key referendum
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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017 2 years ago

Unicorp president responds to Longboat Key referendum

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Chuck Whittall’s new plans for the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort will “hover somewhere around” 237 units.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Yesterday, Longboat Key voters defeated a referendum that would have allowed Unicorp National Developments to seek up to 180 new residential units in the redevelopment of the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. Today, Unicorp President Chuck Whittall spoke with the Longboat Observer about what’s next for the 18-acre property.

After the election results came in on Tuesday night, Chuck Whittall reached out to the property's unit owners.

Via email, Whittall offered $50,000 per unit to any owner who would be willing to sell immediately. Previously, he had offered owners $130,000 to $200,000 per unit.

“Obviously with us losing the density we had sought after, it changes the value of the property,” Whittall said, speaking at the Colony property on Wednesday morning. “If you can build less on it, it’s worth less.”

Chuck Whittall spoke with the Longboat Observer at the former Colony property on Wednesday morning.
Chuck Whittall spoke with the Longboat Observer at the former Colony property on Wednesday morning.

Voters turned down Whittall’s request for up to 180 additional residential units on the property with 87% of the vote. With 237 grandfathered tourism units at the shuttered resort, it could have meant as many 417 units, pending additional town approvals.

Despite this hurdle, Whittall said he has no intention of selling the property. Instead, he and his staff are working on a less ambitious proposal, though aspects of the initial plan will remain the same.

“It’s still going to be a five-star resort. It will still consist of condominiums,” he said. “But it will just be much closer to the current density that’s on the property today.”

The developer could not offer any specific details regarding the number of units that will be included in the new proposal, but he did mention that number will be comparable to the 237 units already approved for the property. .

Whittall had held many meetings with Key residents before the referendum, so he was not surprised by the results, he said.

“We’ve heard the community loud and clear that they don’t want more density,” Whittall said. “We ultimately want to build something the community will embrace.”

The developer added that, if he could have changed the language in the referendum to include less density before it went to a vote, he would have.

Whittall plans to submit a new proposal for the property after the Town Commission approves a new Planned Unit Development process, which he hopes will happen in May. The developer still intends to break ground on the project in 2018, and hopes the resort will open at the end of 2020.


“This will get done,” he said. “It’s just part of the process.”

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