May 21, 2024

“Al-Bireh Island”: The island was sold for $14 million

Palm trees on Clearwater Beach, Tampa, Florida
Exfra/Getty Images

Beer Can Island in Tampa Bay, Florida is for sale for $14.2 million.

The Times of London reported that four friends bought the island in 2017 for $63,000.

They had difficulty convincing the locals of their business plan.

This is a machine translation of an article from our American colleagues at Business Insider. Automatically translated and verified by a real editor.

A private party island in Florida is for sale for $14.2 million (equivalent to €13.1 million).

Pine Key is an island in central Tampa Bay that was created by a federal dredging project. It covers an area of ​​approximately 69 hectares, only nine of which are above water, and is characterized by its stunning white beaches and blue waters.

Popularly known as Beer Can Island because of the beer cans that boaters leave behind, this island has become one of Florida's party hotspots over the past seven years.

It was purchased in 2017 by four business friends for $63,650 (equivalent to €58,500).

Russell Loomis (46 years old), one of the visionary quartet, He said in an interview with The Times of London: “We have put our all into this project over the past six years, and now we are ready to pass the torch to the next person.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Loomis did just that Business background in technology applications and running a debt relief company. In 2017, he and his friends built a floating tiki bar using 258 plastic barrels. The search for a place to park the floating watering hole led them to Pine Key.

“It was a very exciting time, but also full of many challenges. When we bought the island we didn’t know what we were getting into.”

When they took over the island, which was already famous as a casual party spot for locals, it lacked any amenities. The original owners seem happy to get rid of the island.

But in recent years, food and alcohol have been brought in, and toilets, picnic tables and a 36-meter inflatable slide have been created. The once-deserted island has become a magnet for boaters looking to blow off steam.

“Running an island is different from running a regular business. There’s a whole new learning curve,” Loomis said.

“If you're running a bar on the mainland, a truck comes in with all the stock and restocks the shelves; you have to actually go shopping on the island, load the merchandise into vans, load it from the trucks onto a boat, and then move it from the boat to the island, wherever that is.

“Logistics is the hardest part,” Loomis said.

However, Loomis, Cole Weaver, James Wester, and John Gadd are $5 million in the project invested (equivalent to 4.6 million euros), turning the island into a magnet for party-goers. They have also hosted weddings and music events, selling up to 3,000 concert tickets per event.

Others weren't too impressed with the friends' business plan

While many welcomed the Friends' decision to beautify the island, some were less convinced.

“A core group of people thought the island was theirs and didn't understand that before they bought it it was actually privately owned, and they felt like intruders. The owner didn't enforce that, so they felt right. We opened up the island and created amenities and entertainment options,” Loomis said.

To please some locals, Weaver lived on the island for 100 days, building relationships with the boat owners and assuring them that they could keep coming to the island if they wished.

Weaver, a real estate agent and civil engineer, decided to keep most of the island open to anyone who wanted to come to the beach, with part of the island subdivided to pay “members.”

Local authorities also expressed their dissatisfaction and said that the island should be used as a nature reserve and not for parties. Manatees live near the island and seek refuge in warmer waters in the winter. However, Weaver believes the only wild animals living on the island are seagulls and a mouse that harassed him during his stay, the Times reported.

New owner

The island will be auctioned off as a cryptocurrency NFT, though cash bids will also be accepted. Fox reports. The auction began in early March and will end on April 1, 2024.

The highest bidder will be the new owner of the island. However, the unique property presents some problems. Last year the island stood Three meters of water during Hurricane Idalia, The Tampa Bay Times reports.

“We've had a lot of interest and many, many calls, from developers who want to build homes to people who want to continue what we're doing,” Weaver told the Times.

“It was a fun time…it was a fun time. You don't wake up every day on your island,” he said.

Read the original article English

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