MYAKKA CITY -- Bidders who showed up for a chance to buy 1,000 acres of the Kibler Ranch in Myakka were disappointed Thursday when the auction was called off at the last second.
An offer was made Thursday and accepted by the Kibler family just as the auction was about to start.
Auctioneer Wayne Thorn of the National Auction Group of Gadsten, Ala., made the announcement to the bidders and spectators gathered under the hunting lodge.
"The property has been sold," he said.
The historic Kibler Ranch, which has been owned by the family for more than a century, covers a little more than 1,000 acres with 2.5 miles of frontage on the Manatee River, a fish pond stocked by Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, a four-bedroom hunting lodge, five ranch employee houses, 54 acres of citrus groves, untouched Florida wilderness and an abundance of wildlife.
"The National Auction Group is in the business of selling real estate. We prefer to sell it at auction. However, there are times when someone will make an offer prior to the auction and it is satisfactory to the sellers and they will accept it. That's the case that's happened here today," Thorn said.
Neither the National Auction Group nor David Kibler would divulge the name of the buyer.
"When it's appropriate, we'll release the information," Kibler told the Herald.
Debbie Kibler said the experience was bittersweet. "It's very emotional," she said. "It's been in the family for 150 years."
Economics drove the decision.
"It's time to let some land go. We need to pass it on," she said.
She noted the family is not selling the entire tract and will likely build a new home there.
The Kiblers sold land owned by their father, D. Burke Kibler III, a Lakeland lawyer, who died in 2009 at the age of 85. His wife, Nell Bryant Kibler, died in 1996. "There's a demand for land in South Florida. It's just amazing to me," Jonathan Bone, advertising executive for the auctioneer, said Thursday. "and you're going to be seeing more sales in the future, I believe."
Twelve buyers registered for the auction, all from Florida, the auction company said. Each one had to present a $100,000 check to be able to bid. All checks were returned after the auction was canceled.
"We had some real money under the tent," Bone said.
Jim DeLa, East Manatee editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter @JimDeLaBH.