Vol 7 No. 24 - March 7, 2007

Tidemark, Beach Inn back on track

An artist’s rendering of the Tidemark Lodge front view.

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

Reliance Realty Partners plans to kick off a national sales and marketing campaign for its Tidemark Resort and Beach Inn projects this week.

"We will start marketing both projects immediately," Lance McNeill, of Reliance, said in an exclusive interview with The Sun last week. "The trailer (on the Tidemark site) is being converted to a sales trailer and we are going through the training and selection of our sales associates."

He said the initial construction would be on the 62 docks around the seawall, and the contract with Brian Wood was let two weeks ago. Work should be starting soon and be completed within a month to six weeks.

Next will be renovations to the Beach Inn, the beach component of the Tidemark project, which Reliance refinanced in September. Construction is slated to begin in the spring and take about 12 months.

There will be 17 units in three buildings. The beach side building will include an atrium and the street side building will offer an adult game and exercise room including computer stations, couches and pool tables.

The Tidemark project, which began in 2001 when developer Nick Easterling submitted plans to the Holmes Beach Building Department, was approved by the city in June of that year. However, the project floundered in 2004, when Easterling filed for bankruptcy. Reliance stepped in to bail out the project and the bankruptcy was resolved in 2005.

Regarding Tidemark, McNeill pointed out, "We’re in the final stage of repricing our bids. It’s smart to build according to your needs, so we will start with Buildings A and B (on the spit of land that juts out into the water). We plan to start vertical construction in two to three months and our goal is to have all the construction competed in 2 to 2 1/2 years."

After Buildings A and B are completed, the construction of the lodge will follow, then on around the site to Buildings C, D and E. The retail center where the AMI Chamber of Commerce is located, which was purchased by Reliance last year, also will get a facelift.

Fractional ownership

"About nine months ago, we started looking at the market," McNeill explained. "This started as a condo/hotel, but that market died. Our challenge was finding something that would fit, and we started exploring fractional ownership."

All units in both projects will be sold as fractional ownership, a form of real estate in which the buyer purchases a fraction of ownership. Each unit will be sold to eight different owners for a time period of six weeks and that buyer gets exclusive use of the unit for six weeks.

During the four weeks that are not sold, the units will be rented as motel rooms. In addition, there will be 10 units in the lodge that will be kept as a developer-owned inn for commercial use.

Owners can use their six weeks or loan any part of the weeks to family or friends. If they don’t want to use all of the weeks, the company can rent it for them. Another option will be to trade weeks with a fractional owner of another high-end property, for example, at a ski resort in Colorado.

"What we want to offer is for people to have the resort site they desire," McNeill pointed out. "They can swap usage between Tidemark and the Beach Inn and the boat slips at Tidemark will be available to Beach Inn owners."

Ownerships at Tidemark will be priced from $140,000 to $190,000 and include two- and three-bedroom units and ownerships at the Beach Inn will priced from $120,000 to $250,000 and include two- and three-bedroom units with two one-bedroom efficiencies. All units will be fully furnished and equipped.

The company is working with people who had reservations for units at Tidemark before the change to fractional ownership. They will be given options including whole ownership or getting a refund.

Revitalizing the community

"In this program, you have successful, active executives with families," McNeill said. "They’re looking for a no-hassle, full-service stay. Typical fractional owners have a certain amount of disposable income for their vacations, which they will spend in the community. We have to find ways to revitalize the business community."

"Rather than try to capture the whole market in the hotel (Tidemark), we’ll try to disburse it throughout the community," Sean Murphy, owner of the Beach Bistro and the food and beverage partner for Reliance, added. "We will be operating a shuttle for guests to businesses and restaurants."

McNeill said in addition to using Brian Wood to build the docks, Reliance plans to use other local residents on the project. Steve Titsworth will be the owner’s representative to oversee the construction and coordinate with the city of Holmes Beach.

"Local fishing guide Justin Moore will be managing our guide program," McNeill revealed. "There will be four to five guides in the slips along Marina Drive. This program will start as soon as the docks are in and reservations will be worked through the resort."

As for Easterling, McNeill said, "He did a great job of getting the project to this point, but he is no longer involved in any input, decisions or management."

For further information on either project, call (941) 778-1124 or toll free 866-778-8433.

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