Trailer-park city agrees to sell community for $510 million

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 12:48 a.m.
BRINY BREEZES - Residents of this coastal trailer-park town approved the sale of their community to a developer for more than $510 million - a transaction that could make most of the homeowners millionaires.
About 80 percent of the town's shareholders who cast ballots approved the sale, while 17 percent opposed it, according to a statement Wednesday from the town's corporate office. More than 97 percent of shareholders voted.
Almost every owner of the 488 trailers in the community will get more than $1 million if the sale goes through. The contract isn't official - and residents don't get any money - until 2009. Some residents bought their homes for $35,000.
Gay Sideris, who has lived at the park with her husband since 2001, said the overwhelming support will help heal some rifts the town's proposed sale has created.
''I don't think there is anyone that lives here that doesn't love Briny,'' said Sideris, who stands to get about $1.5 million for a $155,000 investment. ''We're happy it went through because it will be good for us and our family, but we're sad we have to leave. Now we can just concentrate on the great two years we have left here.''
The vote clears the way for Boca Raton-based Ocean Land Investments to buy the 43-acre property. State and local officials still must approve new zoning to accommodate the 900 condo units, a luxury hotel and marina proposed by the developer.
Logan Pierson, Ocean Land's vice president of acquisitions, said the company will immediately begin meeting with state and local officials who have expressed concern about adding another, high-density development to South Florida's cluttered coastline.
The community is located in a hurricane evacuation zone and has few ways in or out. Developers will have to clear their plans through the state before any dirt is moved, and neighboring communities will have a chance to weigh in.
''We think we can immediately allay any concerns they might have,'' Pierson said. ''We are not going to build a concrete jungle on the barrier island. We live here.''
The town began as a strawberry farm in the 1920s. A group of regular visitors bought the property in 1958, and it became a town in 1963. ''I don't have much money. It's a no-brainer for me,'' Dwyer said.

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