Beleaguered beachfront property in Bradenton Beach finally sells

chawes@bradenton.comNovember 30, 2011 

BRADENTON BEACH -- The largest open piece of beachfront property on Anna Maria Island will finally be developed following its purchase last week by a firm that pursued the five-lot package for three years.

The 250-foot stretch of beachfront, formerly known as the Rosa Del Mar, became the property of 9 Solutions LLC on Nov. 22. The company, owned by Steven Hanson, purchased the land for under $3.5 million, Hanson said.

“You’re talking about taking something that’s been a derelict piece of land for the best part of 10 years and turning it into five beautiful ‘coastal Caribbean’ single-family homes with tropical landscaping and private pools,” Hanson said. “You’re really taking a piece of coal and turning it into a diamond.”

The land, once listed for sale for $9.2 million, was destined to hold a 14-unit condominium development known as Rosa Del Mar back when the now-defunct GSR Development owned it in the mid-2000s. But that company’s demise in 2007, and the ensuing collapse of the real estate market, were just the start of a four-year morass that kept the property vacant.

Once GSR went down under the weight of more than $30 million in debt, the strip in the 2500 block of Gulf Drive became the property of Horizon and Sterling banks, which held more than $8.5 million in mortgages on the property, said Realtor Barry Gould, the Island Vacation Properties agent who had listed the property for the past several years.

When those two banks failed in 2010, another real estate company attempted unsuccessfully to sell the property, which eventually was left in the hands of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Title issues and a controversy over a six-figure debt owed to the city by GSR further complicated the property’s sale, Gould said.

During the last three years, Hanson kept his eye on the property as its asking price continued to drop. He saw listings for $5.5 million, $4 million and $3.5 million and finally closed the deal.

Since purchasing the land, Hanson’s company has already sold it to himself and Shawn Kaleta, owner of Beach to Bay Construction and a regular collaborator with Hanson.While Hanson has preliminary plans to build coastal Caribbean style homes on his half the land, Kaleta said he hasn’t yet decided whether he will build homes or a small condo development on his half.

“I’m just proud to own them,” Kaleta said. “These plots are like Park Place And Boardwalk. There’s nothing else like it for sale on Anna Maria Island, or even up and down the coast of Florida, where you have beautiful white sand, and the beachfront, and houses on the left and right that are also brand new.

Hanson said the 50-foot by 175-foot lots would also be ideal for a restaurant. Gould said he plans to list the lots, with preconstructed homes included, at $945,000 apiece.

“I think this is a continuation of what we’ve seen on Anna Maria in the last two years,” Gould said. “There’s been lots of construction and lots of investment on the island already.”

Christine Hawes, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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