How much would you bid?

As long as there’s a bid, a private island in Fort Myers will sell “absolutely.” The owners of the 1.4-acre island on the Caloosahatchee River have scheduled an absolute auction to sell it, meaning it will go to the highest bidder. There’s no reserve, or minimum price. “First of all it’s rare to be able to offer an island to begin with. And then it’s even rarer to offer it at an absolute auction,” said Lamar Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher Auction Co., which is handling the sale. The online auction is slated for June 4-7. More information can be found at http://www.fisherauction.com. Private islands have become popular with millionaires and movie stars, looking to get away from it all. Some rent them, others buy them. In the Bahamas, private islands are often leased by the government, not sold outright, Fisher said. The island up for auction in Fort Myers is undeveloped and only reachable by boat. It was taken back by the lender, Pan American Fund LLC in Fort Lauderdale, after it filed an action to foreclose on a mortgage on the property in 2007. The former owners, Arthur Paul and Pearl Hoffman, who have a home in Cape Coral, turned over the deed to the lender to avoid foreclosure in April 2008, court records show. The island’s assessed value is $42,000, according to Lee County property records. By the numbers.The island’s assessed value is $42,000, according to Lee County property records. There is no running water or electricity on the island. The zoning allows a single-family estate, with docks, to be built, or a small bed and breakfast could be put up on the island if Lee County commissioners approved the necessary variances. Arthur Hoffman said he was considering building a single-family estate or a bed and breakfast on the island, but then ran into financial troubles after several banks reneged on their loan promises, triggering lawsuits. He opened a bed and breakfast, the Long Horn Inn, in Texas, but he also had to give that up to the Pan American Fund, which continues to operate it, he said. A representative with the Pan American Fund couldn’t be reached for comment. Hoffman was unaware of the auction planned for the island he and his wife used to own. Fisher Auction is aggressively marketing the island and its online-only sale. “We’ve had tremendous responses so far, from several foreign countries and of course from throughout the U.S.,” Fisher said. “It would shock me if we didn’t have any interested bidders.” He said potential bidders have shown interest in developing it as a corporate retreat, a bed and breakfast and a fishing camp. The island has deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, along the Caloosahatchee River. It’s about six miles east of Interstate 75, just east of Fort Myers Shores and 1.25 miles west of the Franklin Locks. Denny Grimes, a real estate broker with Denny Grimes & Co. in Fort Myers at Royal Shell Real Estate, said a customer called him the other day asking if land prices were going up like home prices and he shared the disappointing news that they weren’t moving up yet. “There has probably never been a better time to buy land because it’s at an all-time low,” he said. If the island sells, he expects it to be developed, but not right away. “Somebody is going to finish the dream,” Grimes said. “It will happen and it will be a cool place one day.” With a bed and breakfast, he said, the island could be a draw to boaters, who are always looking for a place to go and something fun to do. Asked if he had any guesses on what the highest bid might be at the auction, the auctioneer said he didn’t. “That’s the magic question,” Fisher said. “We will find out on June 7.” To qualify, bidders must wire transfer $50,000 into a trust account no later than June 6. “I believe somebody is going to get a great deal,” Fisher said.

Article by: Laura Layden, Marconews.com

What do you think? How much would you be willing to pay for an island assessed at $42,000? Let Title Junction know your bid!


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Jennifer Ferri, Owner

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