BRINY BREEZES, Fla. – Residents of a coastal trailer-park town overwhelmingly approved the sale of their community to a developer for more than $510 million — a transaction that could make most of the homeowners millionaires.
About 80 percent of the town's shareholders who voted approved the sale, while 17 percent opposed it, according to a statement Wednesday from the town's corporate office. More than 97 percent of shareholders voted.
Almost every owner of the 488 trailers in the community will get more than $1 million if the sale goes through. The contract is not official — and residents do not get any money — until 2009. Some residents bought their homes for $35,000.
The vote clears the way for Boca Raton, Florida-based Ocean Land Investments to buy the 43-acre property. State and local officials still must approve new zoning to accommodate the 900 condo units, a luxury hotel and marina proposed by the developer.
Palm Beach County officials have already raised concerns about adding a high-density development to South Florida's cluttered coastline. The community is located in a hurricane evacuation zone and has few ways in or out.
"We think we can immediately allay any concerns they might have," said Logan Pierson, Ocean Land's vice president of acquisitions. "We are not going to build a concrete jungle on the barrier island. We live here."
Developers will have to clear their plans through the state before any dirt is moved, and neighboring communities will have a chance to weigh in.
The town began as a strawberry farm in the 1920s. A group of regular visitors bought the property in 1958, and it became a town in 1963. It is run as a corporation by a board of directors, and the residents own shares based on the size and location of their lot.