BRADENTON -- A Scottsdale, Ariz., executive involved in acquiring mobile home and RV communities throughout Florida has purchased one of the most historic waterfront mobile parks in Manatee County.
On Jan. 23, Charles Ellis bought Two Rivers Mobile Home Park through his company Paradise Communities for $6.3 million. The previous owner, Two Rivers Inc. of Sarasota, bought the community for $1.6 million in 1996, according to Manatee County property records.
For the purchase price, Ellis got 130 lots in the Two Rivers park, which is located on a section of the Manatee River at 2800 State Road 64. According to the park's management office, the community has 118 units. Park amenities include a club house, swimming pool, shuffleboard courts and a pier with several boat slips. Residents of the park must be 55 or older.
The park is located adjacent to Braden Castle Park, a collection of almost 200 cottages and mobile homes that dates back to 1924. Braden Castle contains a historic site, the ruins of Braden Castle, a lime and shell mansion built by Joseph Braden in 1850. The land around those ruins was once part of an 1,100-acre plantation Braden owned.
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Ellis, who previously worked as a vice president of acquisitions for national mobile and RV park owner Carefree, made at least one other community purchase in Florida through Paradise. Last summer, the company purchased the 105-unit Shady Haven Mobile Home Park in Englewood for $4.1 million.
A mobile and RV park acquisitions expert in the Florida market for 20 years, Ellis said he chose Two Rivers for his second Florida purchase as an independent investor because "it's a quality asset in a coastal county in Florida."
Ellis said he does plan to own Two Rivers long term and to invest in improvements such as landscaping and signage. He has yet to determine the extent of improvements needed in the park.
We're evaluating that right now," he said.
Homes in Two Rivers sell for an average of about $10,000, Ellis said. The most expensive home in the park currently is a waterfront unit on the market for $45,000. The majority of the units in the park are manufactured homes, but the housing stock also includes efficiency apartments and four single-family homes.
Seventy percent of Two Rivers residents, Ellis said, are snowbirds who live there part time.
The sale is the second largest in the Manatee County mobile home park market this year. In January, Palm Cove MHC purchased DeSoto Mobile Estates at 1219 51st Avenue for $8 million. Also selling last month was Sunset Village Adult Mobile Home Community at 3715 14th Street W., which went for $5.8 million.
During a long career with Carefree, Ellis was active in the local market. Even though he left the company to start Paradise, he did some freelance work for Carefree last year, spearheading the company's purchase of Florida Broadacre Trailer Lodge and the three mobile home parks it owns for about $11 million.
Parks that changed hands in that April transaction were Vista del Lago on 52nd Avenue Terrace West in Bradenton, Bahia Vista Estates in Sarasota and Shadow Wood Village in Hudson. Carefree owns nine mobile home and RV parks in Bradenton and Sarasota and dozens of others throughout Florida.
Ellis said he intends to continue buying mobile home and RV parks in Florida.
Two Rivers Inc. manager Robert Ruggles III of Sarasota did not respond to a request to comment on his sale of Two Rivers Mobile Home Park.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.