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Business Observer Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 4 years ago

Charlotte waterfront tract sells for $20.6 million

Deal is one of the largest land deals in Charlotte County in the last decade.

A Charlotte County-based conservation group has acquired a waterfront tract in the Placida area for $20.6 million, one of the largest land deals in the county in the past decade.

The Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association bought the 31-acre property, at 14041 Gasparilla Road, for use as a wildlife and marine refuge, officials from the group say.

With its Jan. 29 purchase, the association plans to raze a series of buildings on the property, including about 70,000 square feet of office and industrial structures and a hotel, by next January. The tract also includes 183 wet boat slips and 235 dry boat slips, according to marketing materials compiled for the sale.

The Mercabo land, as it is known, sits at the entryway to the Gasparilla Island Causeway and is directly linked to Boca Grande — an exclusive island where former President George H.W. Bush and family have maintained a residence for decades.

“The buyer wanted to keep Boca Grande in a quaint way, and what was fascinating about this deal is that the whole island came together and was galvanized behind this effort,” says Jag Grewal, a partner in Ian Black Real Estate, the Sarasota commercial real estate firm that represented seller Boca Norte LLC in the sale.

The association was represented in the transaction by Gulf to Bay Sotheby's International agents Peter Sieglaff and Angela Steffan.

Boca Norte is a company created more than a decade ago by investor Brad M. Kelley, according to state records. Venice attorney Greg Betterton manages the company, records show. Betterton could not be reached for comment.

The association contracted to acquire the Placida property in October. In all, more than 1,100 residents and association members contributed to the effort to raise the $20.6 million price.

Grewal says another 11-acre tract across from the association's property remains for sale at $8 million. That land contains entitlements for up to 40 condominiums.

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