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Colony to vote on redevelopment plan

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort is one step closer to redevelopment.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the development committee for the Colony Association of Unit Owners negotiated an agreement with Unicorp to redevelop the 17.2 –acre property.

The Development Committee worked with Unicorp President Chuck Whittall over the past months to reach an agreement that proposes to pay $130,800 to each unit owner and a significant premium for owners who currently enjoy a waterfront location or view.

Colony Association President Jay Yablon told Longboat Key News on Friday that the Board of Directors will meet Wednesday, March 2 to consider the agreement and with the Board’s blessing and with whatever further negotiations are made, it would then go on for a vote of unit owners for final approval.

“Both we and Unicorp negotiated very hard and in good faith and this is a fair offer,” said Yablon.

Whittall said that the proposal is based on an earlier one made in December 2015 and includes 180 hotel rooms and 180 condominium units. He added that The Four Seasons Hotel wants to move forward with the plan as the flagged hotel that would manage the property.

Yablon said he believed the proposal will be “Widely embraced by the rank and file unit owners,” but he said he cannot speak for Andy Adams who owns about 30 percent of the units at The Colony.

Whittall said that for Andy Adams, who can block any redevelopment plan since it will take 75 percent of the owners to approve, “It is a very good deal.”

Whittall says he wants to give credit to Yablon and the development committee member Bruce Pinski in that they “Meticulously negotiated the point that they wanted additional value to be added for both water views as well as the waterfront properties.”

The path forward is for the non-binding document, which forms the basis of the agreement, to be considered at a Colony Board Meeting next Wednesday, March 2.

Yablon said the Board will be asked to approve taking the steps necessary to negotiate and prepare a detailed development agreement based on the framework that the development committee and Yablon have approved. The next step is to then take that agreement to the owners for a formal vote in about three to four months.

“If approved by owners,” said Yablon, “…this will end all remaining litigation and finally put us on a firm path to redeveloping the resort.”

Yablon has been on target with his timeline when he told Longboat Key News in January that he hoped by the end of winter to negotiate and recommend a proposal to the Board and the Unit Owners. At that time, Unicorp’s Chuck Whittall, as well as rival developer Manfred Welfonder, had both made proposals, but since then Whittall has emerged successfully.

 

Details of the plan

In a Powerpoint sent to Unit Owners on Friday, the proposal and concept plan outlines many of the details.

Unicorp states in the proposal opening letter that it is “Pleased to offer you a settlement and development plan for the Colony.”

It goes on to say that while Unicorp was introduced to the property three years ago through litigation, It never was a desire of the company to be in litigation and then apologizes for “The bumpy paths we have had to reluctantly endure.”

The non-binding agreement states that it will pay $31 million for the 237 Colony tourism units. That amounts to $130,800 as a base price per unit.

The proposal will also pay an additional $200,000 for the thirteen beach front units as well as for the Presidential and Vice Presidential units. And for those that are not beach front but are on the mid-rise and therefore have views, Unicorp will pay an additional $100,000 for the 15 mid-rise units.

Unicorp will also pay an additional $7.5 million to cover loans made by Breakpoint LENDER, LLC to the Association as well as another $700,000 loan made to the Association. The proposal will also reimburse the unit owners a total of $1.422 million for 2015 taxes and insurance. And finally, Unicorp is proposing another obligation of a bout $1.8 million to cover future taxes, insurance, as well as the cost the town of Longboat Key required to indemnify itself from any possible expense. The grand total for all of the above amounts to an offer of $46.222 million.

 

Additional options

Unicorp is offering owners who want to be part of the future development a fractional deed of ownership allowing a 30-day annual stay in a new unit in exchange for their current deed. The offer says no additional cost will be charged and the size and view will be comparable and better than their current unit.

The final part of the offer allows current owners to buy a unit or additional units in the new resort at a discounted price of no less than 15 percent below the price paid at closings for comparable units during pre-construction.

Also, Unicorp agrees to settle all disputes of every kind involving the Association of Unit Owners and Unicorp and Colony Lender at no cost to unit owners.

The Unicorp proposal says it will make an application to the town for the development of the resort within four months of unit owners approving vote.

Then the timeline in the proposal states that it will push for a referendum vote by the citizens of Longboat Key to be held as early as Nov. 2016 and no later than March of 2017.

The timeline says it expects to break ground on the project during Thanksgiving of 2017 with construction taking 24 – 30 months.

The proposal was signed by Unicorp President Chuck Whittall on behalf of Unicorp and Bruce Pinsky on behalf of the Colony on Feb. 25.

Whittall told Longboat Key News, “It’s been a seven-year whirlwind of litigation at the Colony. We have agreed on a framework and we have agreed on business terms. Now we have tried to put all of our energies into putting the pieces in place to getting the Colony into the best position to be redeveloped. I am very optimistic and excited about the outcome.”

The Colony has sat closed since Aug. 2010, the property has stood dormant with an eight-foot security fence securing the perimeter. If the current proposal framework moves forward, an opening date of no later than Fall 2019 or at the latest Spring 2020 is the goal of Chuck Whittall and Unicorp.

 

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5 Responses for “Colony to vote on redevelopment plan”

  1. We always brought many business guest with renting out up to 4 to 10 every few months! We even rented out all 250 unites for an entire 3 day weekend for a company event! It was close to Tampa, and many of our guest used Sarasota airport as well! Keep the Monkey bar, the fresh food Deli, the beach Huts or Umbrellas & beach towels, the fine dining restaurant as well as the casual side for families with children and keep the great playground and beach activities on one side for families and another side for a more quiet,relaxing day at the beach, NO MORE BOOM BOXES! MUST USE HEADSETS ONLY FOR PERSONL MUSIC BEACH SIDE! AS a courtesy to others, who do not want other your choice of extra loud music! Keep the small sitting ares with the kitchen and new mini washing/dryers for every unit! We are so looking forward to the wonderfully new Colony Beach Resot!!! The former one in it’s decades of it’s glory years were the very finest anywhere!!

  2. My husband were also very loyal visitors to The Colony Tennis & Beach Resort for 30 plus years! We have known all of the Klauber family members since we first started going there many times during the year, even helping The Klauber’s with getting their “Stone Crab Festival” going every year the reason being my husband was President of the largest global Seafood company, in Tampa! Being in the seafood business with a global food company,he suggested what a perfect fit that would be for the Colony and it became a very successful event to attract more customers to their beach resort, also their annual wine tasting event started here with the help of my husband! We became very good friends with Katie and her husband Michael Moulton, whom we still think of as great friends and feel they really tried very hard to furnish the very best in their facility, their restaurant was wear suit & ties only, their Sunday Brunch was legendary and still has not been replaced! Their menus were always amazing from breakfast to dinner, the har-tru middle tennis courts and tennis shop was the best! Also their spa & work out room! As well as their meeting rooms, playgrounds, beach water bikes, kayaks & small sailing vessels with a fabulous pool and the covered outside Monkey bar with all of the necessary amenities for a nice lunch, or cocktail watching the best sporting events of the afternoon! Having all of the greatest tennis players starting there through Bolaterri’s Tennis School, Pete Sampras, Monica Seles, Jim Courrier and of course Bud Collins! We also always enjoyed the Deli for freshly made afternoon sandwiches, morning muffins, fresh coffee and supplies for our room which we just loved having the mini kitchen, with full size refrigerator,dishwasher,sink and sitting area away with a TV & cable from our bedrooms with another TV in there and 2 sink/vanity areas with extra storage underneath in the cabinets! One much needed amenity is a small compact washer/dryer in every unit to keep swimsuits,beach towels,etc.., fresh for longer stays! The beach thatch huts were amazing, just never enough for everyone! Those horrible canvas cabanas used by the Ritz-Carlton in Naples are awful as you have no vision, they are very hot and uncomfortable and your feet sick out! Please do use these, rather use Umbrellas installed daily by a beach area with beach towels available like they always were in the past! Make those outside air conditioning units on the top of the buildings as there ran very noisily during the night placed right outside the master bedrooms, also the outside patios were not covered, so during those daily & evening rain showers, we were all stuck inside, instead of being to use the patio w/o a cover over it! A few great extras to add to an already existing beautiful beach front of all the beach fronts on Longboat Key! This is definitely a “Diamond in the rough”! Too much time has passed for it to be still sitting ther, run down and quite sad to even see it like that now! So great to hear about the new development! Please do not take the “Uniquely Elegance”, of this awesome Beach resort away completely! There are so many high rises now along the Longboat key beach that are being kept in very poor condition with no beach amenities, umbrellas, lounge chairs, beach towels, etc..! Remember what the history of this great Beach resort the absolute BEST!!!!

  3. Shy Kline says:

    I was a loyal customer of the Colony for 20 years so I hope the players finalize the new plan. I am not sure the Four Seasons is the right management, but the Ritz has been successful and sometimes the 3 or 4 Star Longboat Key Club disappoints. A new Colony is needed by Saint Armands. The real secret to attract tourists is to keep the New Colony a luxury tennis destination. For the winter months and those summer afternoon thunderstorms build indoor courts. 4 indoor courts could accommodate 20 players per hour and become a real attraction for tennis players and huge income producer. Sarasota doesn’t have Disney Land, but it could have the best tennis facility in the world. Talk to Sammy and God Bless.

  4. A.S.Raptoulis MD says:

    Had been vacationing at the Colony since 1975.As a couple then as a family and as an extended family.Looking forward to its resurrection.Since l don’t even buy green bananas lets get it done. / Rap

  5. Ramsey Kraft says:

    Sorry to see the old Colony Beach and Tennis close. Very disappointed in the 7 years of disagreement.

    Sad to see all this ! But hopefully we are about to move forward with a brand new Colony Beach and

    Tennis Resort that is all new and improved.

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