that allowed that to happen was the condo's own "declaration of
condominium," which specifies that the condo can be terminated if
80 percent of the owners agree.
The $50 million proposed purchase price,
to be paid next summer, would set a record for downtown Sarasota
property. The deal works out to $20 million per acre for the 2.5-acre
waterfront site, where the developer plans to build 62 high-end condos.
If completed, the deal
will leave residents wealthier but uprooted.
"Everyone is throwing all these deals at me, and I'm like, leave me
alone," said Beverly Rayfield, one of Pier 550's few holdouts.
The moral: If you live in an older condo -- and especially if it is on
the water -- you should dust off your "declaration of
condominium" and get familiar with the rules.
As developers run out of choice development sites, they are likely to
emulate the pioneering effort by the Atlanta-based Peachtree Group to
buy Pier 550. Peachtree, working through a hired gun property finder,
employed a Sarasota Realtor who rented at Pier 550 to make the blind
Another Realtor, Tom Hedge of Michael Saunders & Co., was president
of the condo association and owned two units, and a third Realtor, Marni
Hayden of My Realty Company, bought a unit in March.
The action started in January and involved six months of competing bids.
British-based Taylor Woodrow Homes came in with a $40 million-plus
offer. Then the same Realtor, Vicki Mann, started floating the higher,
successful set of offers being fronted by Atlanta-based deal-maker Mark
At first Kercher told residents he represented an Atlanta architectural
firm. Then he switched gears and said he represented Peachtree. It may
turn out that others, even Taylor Woodrow, are still involved.
As the offers and counteroffers flew through the air, residents found
their peaceful days of gazing at manatees had ended.
"I'm so worn out," said Realtor Hayden back in June, before
she and the other sellers signed nondisclosure agreements. "I've
never seen anything handled like this in my life ... We have nothing
here except that there is a developer, possibly two, both offering
different terms, but nothing really firm firm."
How to case
Want to know who owns all the units in a
This may sound tough in Florida, where so many owners live
elsewhere during part of the year. But you can do it without
leaving your home, if you have access to the Internet.
Whether your purpose is to inquire whether a condo might be for
sale, or to form your own e-mail list of owners to keep them from
selling, the place to start is with an up-to-date list of owners'
names and addresses.
Here is how the Herald-Tribune tracked down the owners of Pier 550
condominiums, using the Internet to get current addresses and then
First, go to the county property appraiser site.
For Sarasota, it is:
Click on "Property Record Search."
Scroll down to "Subdivision/condominium name."
Type in the name, such as "BEAU CIEL," and then hit
On the next page, you should see a result saying "1 record
found" and then below that, the name BEAU CIEL. To the left
of the condo name on this results page is the county's subdivision
number for that condo, "8281."
If you click on that number you will see the list of owners. To
the left of each owner's name is the parcel number. Clicking on
those parcel numbers will give you more complete information on
each property, often including the price paid and usually
including the mailing address.
For Manatee County, start at http://www.manateepao.com/
For Charlotte, start at http://www.ccappraiser.com/
You may have to use a street address if your county tax form
doesn't include the handy subdivision/condo search function.
After that, for out-of-town phone numbers, try www.anywho.com.
Try typing in the last name only and the city and state. On the
left side of the Anywho search page, you can click on
"International" if your addresses are in other