The Coastal Star

Briny Breezes: Park’s sale deadline approaches — but buyers don’t

By Tim O’Meilia
   
It’s been more than four years since the $510 million sale of Briny Breezes blew apart like, well, a mobile home in a hurricane.
And it’s not likely anyone will offer anything near half a billion dollars for the 43-acre oceanfront mobile home park in the 16 months remaining that the Duane Morris law firm has to sell the park.
“There’s no interest and they’re not marketing it,” Briny Breezes Inc. board President Mike Gut said of Duane Morris’ efforts.
He gave corporation shareholders — the lot owners — an update during a November meeting.
The corporation’s strategic planning committe will meet Dec. 8 to discuss the park’s future. “Do we want to make improvements to the park, to the infrastructure or do we want to consider a sale at some point down the road?” Gut said. “It’s all up to the shareholders.”
But neither would happen until Duane Morris’ March 1, 2013 deadline to sell the park expires.
“Whatever happens is years from now.” Gut said.
The corporation hired the law firm to sell the park for at least $500 million, but a deal with a Boca Raton developer collapsed in 2007.
 Ocean Land Investments Inc. wanted to erect a dozen 20-story buildings but the plan ran afoul of neighboring towns and regulatory agencies, who concluded that the high rises didn’t fit the neighborhood.
The deal would have made some lot owners millionaires.
While the days tick down to the March 1, 2013, deadline to sell, legal fees continue to accrue, Gut said, although he wasn’t sure of the current amount.
About $1.1 million in legal fees had amassed when the deal collapsed, but Ocean Land’s $500,000 deposit went toward the fees, according to reports.
Whatever the fees are, park residents are likely to escape having to pay them.
Under the agreement with the law firm, if the park isn’t sold by the deadline, “Duane Morris eats the fees,” Gut said.        “Given the current economic condition, someone who would come in with half a billion dollars would not be possible at this point,” Gut said.      

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