Anna Maria Island's storied, empty subdivision sells for $5.3M

mjohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 11, 2014 

ANNA MARIA -- A unique set of undeveloped, canal-side lots on the north end of Anna Maria Island may soon be home to the island's next million-dollar neighborhood.

Anna Maria LLC, a Sarasota real estate development group, has purchased 15 lots from Sarasota-based Bon Eau LLC for $5.3 million.

The lots, which are on Villa Rosa Way and just off South Bay Blvd., comprise the only undeveloped neighborhood in the area. Only one home now stands in the entire neighborhood.

JB Baldwin, one of the Anna Maria LLC partners, says his company plans to develop the estimated .19-acre lots into homes selling for $1 million and above.

Dubbed Bimini Cove, the lots have been on the market for some time. Bon Eau purchased the lots in 2007.

The lots likely would have been developed into homes

during the housing boom, but for litigation that mired former owner GSR Development in a slew of lawsuits. According to Herald archives, the company filed bankruptcy in 2007 when it owed about 200 creditors about $30 million.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said she heard several times that a sale was close over the years, so she was surprised to learn Friday that the transaction had taken place.

GSR had plans to build a subdivision on Villa Rosa Way, but could not because of a $7.8 million mortgage lien on the property.

For the past year, Murray Realty in Sarasota has been marketing the lots. Murray Realty agent Bev Murray said the property is unlike any other on the island.

"I think it is the only subdivision available on Anna Maria," she said.

All the lots have access to a U-shaped canal that wraps the neighborhood. One lot, Baldwin said, also has a good view of Tampa Bay.

Anna Maria LLC expects to use several builders to put up homes in the neighborhood. Development will likely start with the construction of a model home, which will also be for sale, Baldwin said. Homes will measure between 2,200 and 3,200 square feet.

SueLynn noted that any new construction would have to follow recently adopted building codes that limit the size of homes that can be built there to try to keep them in character with the island town.

Baldwin said he hopes to attract buyers looking for new homes.

"There's a lot of demand for new product on the island and not a lot of product out there," he said.

Baldwin expects that construction will start soon. All the lots have utility hookups, and the Villa Rosa Way has been paved for years.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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