Florida Keys Real Estate on Good Rebound
The real estate crash in the Florida Keys has helped save some affordable lodging in the Keys for those who love the outdoors, the Miami Herald reported.
For example, Fiesta Key RV Resort in the Middle Keys was packed Easter weekend with families from Miami and around the country.
“We’re so happy there’s still places you can come to the Keys and not have to spend $300 or $400 a night,” said Jane Derenthal, who was renting a $100-a-night cabin. “Look how gorgeous it is here, and it’s pet friendly.”
She was walking her dog Pompei along the seawall, while Noah Ditchie of Michigan was fishing for tarpon and Brynn Schiavi, 8, was showing Whitney Carlin, 3, the lizard she had caught.
“She’s my animal lover,” Kelly Mychalishyn of Rochester, N.Y., said of her daughter, Brynn.
Their family vacation has included jaunts to the Turtle Hospital and Bahia Honda State Park.
Cortex Resort Living had bought the campground for $55 million with plans to turn the 324 campsites into a 230-townhome complex called Seaglass, with a shipwreck salvagers theme.
But the developers also never got this project off the ground, becoming embroiled in a $74 million foreclosure suit. In the meantime, the campground remained open.
In 2010, the property’s deed was turned over in lieu of foreclosure. Now, New York-based Morgan RV Resorts runs the place. They have 21 campgrounds in 11 states with a motto: “Where luxury meets nature.”
Another bayside property in the Keys also was slated to become townhomes, but the new owners have turned the 12 acres into Point of View Key Largo RV Resort, albeit for big rigs of 30 to 75 feet. No tents or pop-ups are allowed.
“They were checking around to see what was needed and everybody pretty unanimously said RV park,” said Laurie Comeau, manager of the park that just opened March 1.
Comeau had managed nearby American Outdoors campground for 16 years, until the developers closed it for good. The entrance now is blocked with a chain fence, and the new owners are planning a Marriott hotel.
Harold Wheeler, executive director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, said that while it’s “too bad” the Keys went through the recession, he’s happy the Keys were able to maintain some of the private RV resorts and campgrounds.
“We’re known for our eco-tourism and we want the nature-based tourism,” he said.
“We need the campground areas. It’s a big part of the Florida Keys — always has been and hopefully always will be.”
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