HOLMES BEACH -- Four beachfront vacation rental units will soon disappear after a property sale and land swap deal made between Holmes Beach and the property's new owner.
A little more than a week after persuading the city's commission to hand over a 5,000-square-foot beach right of way, Holmes Beach resident William McGinnis bought a four-unit rental property at 202 35th St. for $3 million on March 4.
McGinnis plans to demolish his newly acquired property, called "Sandy Toes," then build a single-family residence in its place. A Holmes beach resident, he has lived in a condominium a block north of Sandy Toes since 2008, Manatee County records show.
To make the property work for a home he plans to have built, McGinnis appeared before the Holmes Beach city commission on Feb. 23 to trade a 7,400-square-foot parcel that was part of his new purchase in exchange for the right of way.
With the addition of the former city land, the effective size of McGinnis' lot is 15,000 square feet, or about one-third of an acre. The right of way abuts the portion of his purchase, where he is planning to build his new home. The smaller parcel is closer to the beach.
Richard and Shelly Wheeler sold the rental property to McGinnis. The couple owns more than a half dozen residential units on Anna Maria Island, records show. They bought the 35th Street property in 2001 for $1.22 million. In addition to featuring four units, the 40-year-old property also has a pool and beach frontage.
Under the terms of the deal inked with the city, McGinnis will be able to build his home and extend a planned pool deck into the former right of way. The arrangement was made with the stipulation that the home may only be used as a private residence. McGinnis also agreed that the property cannot be rented for a period of 10 years.
City commissioners approved the land swap at the Feb. 23 meeting. The right of way had been part of a potential future extension of Fourth Avenue. Possibilities for the property the city acquired in the exchange include creating a "tot lot" sheltered by two existing, planted beach dunes and establishing a bicycle trail.
City commissioners did not let the right of way go lightly. Commissioners Pat Morton and Judy Titsworth said they had concerns about giving away city property. Morton still voted in favor of the swap, saying he felt it would be beneficial to the city. Titsworth said she wanted to see the city get something more than a potential bike path. She voted against the ordinance that authorized the deal.
The sale may not have gone through without the city's cooperation. Creighton Faust, a broker associate with AMI Beaches Real Estate who represented the Wheelers, said McGinnis signed a purchase contract shortly after the property listed. But the deal fell apart not long afterward because the city's right of way did not work with the future construction plan.
McGinnis came back to make the deal when the land swap became a possibility.
Faust said he believes the city will benefit from the transaction because it reduces the density of vacation rentals at the beach. Sandy Toes is surrounded by nearby private residences, including a small condominium community.
Island cities have struggled with vacation rentals and their impact on full-time residents. The city of Anna Maria passed a sweeping set of new regulations to limit noise and require licensing of vacation rental properties in early 2015. In January of that year, Holmes Beach placed a moratorium on homes with more than four bedrooms. Bradenton Beach considered a similar measure, but settled on a quality of life ordinance that addresses noise and vacation rental issues.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.