Vista del Lago owner sells company, communities

mjohnson@bradenton.comApril 29, 2014 

BRADENTON

The owners of a Bradenton mobile home park as well as others in Sarasota and Hudson are selling out to a regional mobile home park company.

This month, Florida Broadacre Trailer Lodge started notifying more than 500 homeowners in the three parks it owns that the Sarasota company is being sold. Those parks are Vista del Lago on 52nd Avenue Terrace West in Bradenton, Bahia Vista Estates in Sarasota and Shadow Wood Village in Hudson. Combined, the three parks have an estimated value of more than $11 million, according to county property records.

The notice comes at least a month and a half before the deal will be finished, said Richard Webb, a Sarasota attorney who represents Florida Broadacre. Webb refused to disclose certain details of the transaction, including the name of the buyer and a sale price. He said only that the buyer owns and manages other mobile home parks in Florida "and elsewhere."

However, in a letter to directors of the Vista del Lago Tenants Association, Webb writes Florida Broadacre -- including its properties -- is being sold in a transaction that will transfer all the current owners' stock to the buyer.

Had Florida Broadacre sold its company properties separately, it would have been subject to "a significant corporate tax liability," Webb wrote. The president of Florida Broadacre, Scott Grissom, did not respond to a request for comment on the sale.

At Vista del Lago, residents had grown concerned about the park's future. One of those residents, Bob Hayes, said the security service that patrols the community ceased its operations there five weeks ago. That's a problem, he said, as the community has suffered past break-ins.

Knowing that a sale is in the offing has eased Hayes' mind a bit.

"Everybody seems sort of optimistic about it," he said.

With 138 mobile home lots and 32 RV lots, according to tenant association President Gaylord Hanna, Vista del Lago is one of the smaller parks Florida Broadacre owns. Bahia Vista boasts about 250 lots, while Shadow Wood Village in Hudson is home to about 150 manufactured homes.

All three are designated as retirement communities or communities for people ages 55 and older.

When the sales transaction is complete, the three parks will still be owned by Florida Broadacre, Webb said. However, the company buying all the shares in Florida Broadacre will assume ownership of the parks and will take on property management duties.

Florida Broadacre has owned its parks for decades. It purchased Vista del Lago in 1983 for $2.2 million, according to Manatee County records. The company bought Shadow Wood Village for $2.33 million in 1993, according to Pasco County.

The company purchased Bahia Vista Estates in 1969, according to the community's website. Sarasota County does not have information on the amount paid at the time.

Scott Grissom and Florida Broadacre vice president Steve Grissom are the third generation of their family to own and operate mobile home and RV parks, according to the website.

The sale of the company originated in an unsolicited offer to purchase Florida Broadacre's properties. The company rejected that offer because of the tax liability that would come with the sale. Company owners later agreed on an offer under which the buyer will purchase all the shares of stock in Florida Broadacre. The transaction is expected to be completed by June or July, Webb said.

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

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