Colony owners dispute Klauber’s concerns

Colony unit owners narrow redevlopment suitors from 18 to six at Monday meeting — some owners dismiss Klauber’s safety concerns as tactics.

Blake Fleetwood offshore from the Colony.

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Colony unit owner Blake Fleetwood made it clear that while he admires former Colony President Murf Klauber, his vision and what he created at the Colony, the conditions are nowhere near as dilapidated as Klauber alleged at last week’s Town Commission meeting.

“The resort is pretty much the same condition as when the president stayed here the night of 9-11. Maybe three or four units need safety and major restoration work, and the rest can be fairly easily rehabbed.”

He and Colony Unit Association President Jay Yablon spoke with Longboat Key News about the latest meeting of 150 owners Monday and exactly where the process stands.

Yablon said that of the 150 unit owners, the majority has no interest in giving up their recently won fee-simple title to their units. That means that of the 18 redevelopment concepts vetted Monday, the ones that were predicated on owners selling to a developer were eliminated. So were all concepts predicated on managing and running the resort. Yablon said these proposals are premature — they have to renovate or rehabilitate first.

The final contenders, of which there are six, all allow owners to retain title. The rub is all of those concepts will require unit owners to invest, with an amount of $127,000 per unit posited in one plan.

Yablon said his goal and his function as president is the political one of helping shepherd a proposal that will win 75 percent approval of the association members. He said the notion of owners retaining ownership and ‘ponying up the money’ captured the support of a large numbers of owners. He added that some were not supportive because raising the money could prove difficult. Yablon said the association may set up a system where those owners could sell part of the fee-simple title rights to another party to essentially get a loan. Meanwhile, they would still use the units and have access much the way it has historically been done.

Fleetwood has been coming to the Colony for about 15 years and bought six years ago. He hopes the politics and legal positioning stop and the distortions on all sides can end.

Yablon said the owners will reconvene at the end of April to consider formal proposals by the eight finalists. A vote may be cast at that point. The Colony must open as a tourism use in some capacity by August, or an act of the Town Commission would be necessary to extend that date. If that date is not met, the tourism use, which is grandfathered, would expire and the resort unit owners would lose their rights to that use.

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