PALMETTO -- Five acres of riverfront donated to the South Florida Museum by a benefactor has sold for enough money to help speed the museum's expansion plans.
On Dec. 17, the museum sold 5.38 acres adjacent to Snead Island Boatworks on the Manatee River for $1.3 million to a Palmetto company, Manatee McKay Properties LLC, according to county property records. The museum received the vacant, treed parcel about four months ago from donor Mary Parker as part of a larger gift to the museum and its Bishop Planetarium.
Tom Breiter, president of the museum's board of trustees, said proceeds from the sale will "be used for future expansion plans." He refused to elaborate on those plans, but said the museum will make an announcement about an expansion sometime in the next two to three weeks. The museum's CEO, Brynne Anne Besio, also refused to comment on expansion plans.
Breiter said the land is the only donation of real property the museum has received during his seven years on the board. Over the past three years, the museum has received three other gifts of similar value to Parker's acreage.
According to state records, Manatee McKay Properties is related to Snead Island Boatworks, according to state records. Company ownership could not be reached for comment on a future use for the property.
Breiter said it is his understanding that the property will be subdivided into several home sites.
Parker has long been a supporter of the museum. The museum's main attraction, Snooty the Manatee, lives in the Parker Manatee Aquarium, which was named in Parker's honor.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.