Vol. 8 No. 31 - April 23, 2008


Rolling on the river – in a condo

How about a change of pace? By now everyone has to be sick to death of real estate values, beach renourishment, fixed-span bridges and insurance rates. With hurricane season being the next hot topic on the Island, let’s escape to a river. No, not the Manatee River, one just a little longer – the Mississippi.

David Nelson and his wife have lived on their boat on the Mississippi River for 19 years, and now he wants to provide the means for others to enjoy living on the water. With his background and 29 years of contractor and developer experience in commercial and residential marine construction, Nelson came up with a way for others to enjoy the river lifestyle.

Designed primarily for retired couples and individuals, River Cities is basically a floating condominium. Units are between 528 square feet to 924 square feet with a few larger designs. You purchase your floating home based on size and whether you purchase a half or full share. For example, the smallest units at 528 square feet cost $299,000 for a full 12-month share with an estimated $13,200 annual maintenance expenses. A six-month half share would cost $161,000 and an estimated $6,700 annual maintenance expenses. For a 924 square foot unit with two bedrooms, the full share is $499,000 with $23,100 annual maintenance and a half share is $264,000 with $11,650 annual maintenance. Units can be rented and months can be flipped to provide cruising flexibility.

All units come fully furnished and have a full kitchen, washer and dryer and private decks. There are many amenities aboard including restaurants, stores, pools, theatres, library, chapel, fitness centers, fishing, telephone, TV and Internet service, shore travel arrangements and visitor suites. Some of this is included in your annual maintenance; some is at an extra fee.

The river city that is currently being planned is named the Marquette and is scheduled for an anticipated spring 2010 occupancy. The floating condo is 600 feet long and 108 feet wide with a probable 350 residents and 30 crew.

The River Cities corporation is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and offers 6,600 miles of inland waterways available to cruise starting in St. Paul and going south to the Gulf of Mexico. They will cruise the southern states in the winter and the northern states in the summer, appealing to part time residents with homes in either the northern or southern sections of the country.

Purchasing condominiums on cruise ships is not a new idea, but one that cruises exclusively on the inland waterways of the United States is kind of a unique one. River Cities could actually have some appeal to Florida residents, who may be looking for relief from the summer heat, humidity and hurricanes and still be surrounded by water. The River Cities’ Web site is www.rivercitiescruises.com for more information.

According to Mark Twain and the Web site, "Plan the future because that’s where you are going." It appears the future has a lot of options these days. Floating down river with a fishing pole in your hand could be one of them.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper