Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Delay Ends for Plans in Palma Sola

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Delay Ends for Plans in Palma Sola

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

The once-moribund development now has a clubhouse, more buildings going up and intense interest from buyers

The concrete shells of two unfinished buildings -- a four-story condominium and a clubhouse -- were constant reminders of the region's vicious real estate slump as they sat along the West Bradenton waterfront.

Now those same structures have become a symbol of recovery.

A new developer bought the Palma Sola Bay Club, resuming construction on grand plans for a luxury condo community after previous attempts were squashed by the Great Recession.

The first condos have gone on sale, the long-delayed clubhouse is now open and baby boomers from across the country are flocking to the residential development.

"There are a lot of people seem to be warming to the idea that this will be the year they move down," said Debra Thomas, a new- home sales associate at Palma Sola Bay Club. "We're expecting big activity this spring."

Envisioned as an 11-building community with 212 residences and a private beach when it was originally proposed in 1996, Palma Sola Bay Club met with opposition from nearby residents who complained about the project's scale and its potential effect on the environment -- especially on birds nesting nearby.

In response, Manatee County ordered developers to scale down the project's height and eliminate units, a decision that sparked a lawsuit in late 2004.

A few years later, amid a rocky economy, Palma Sola's original developers walked away from the project shortly after starting, unable to sell units during the downturn.

In 2013, Prospect Bradenton Investments LLC, a Sarasota company managed by area developer Ed Rymer, acquired Palma Sola for $5.7 million, court records show.

Rymer has completed residential projects that include condominiums on Golden Gate Point in downtown Sarasota and the Holiday Cove Recreational Vehicle Park, in Cortez.

To complete the vision for Palma Sola, he has formed a partnership with Orlando-based developer Prospect Property Group.

New plans call for 23 Key West-style buildings, with a total of 207 units planned for the 33-acre property at 77th Street West. …

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