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Date of Issue: July 01, 2009

PAR, Mainsail purchase Tidemark

The Tidemark projects in Holmes Beach were sold last week to an investment group that includes Anna Maria developer Pine Avenue Restoration LLC.

Joe Collier of Mainsail Development Group LLC of Tampa said his group will be the managing partner, while PAR is the majority limited partner. Other individuals and groups also have invested in the Tidemark projects, he said.

Collier said it was a chance meeting he had with Ed Chiles of PAR as Mainsail was considering an $8.25 million bid to Mercantile Bank to purchase the Tidemark mortgage that lead to PAR’s involvement. Mercantile was in the process of foreclosing on the mortgage.

“Ed talked about the Island and did quite a sales job,” Collier said. “We liked what we saw and Ed’s passion for doing things in keeping with the charm and natural beauty of Anna Maria Island is the best new start for this project.”

The Tidemark purchase included the 12-unit Tidemark Beach Club on the Gulf of Mexico on 66th Street and the Tidemark Lodge and Marina property adjacent to Wachovia Bank on Marina Drive.

The Chiles’ sales pitch was convincing.

“We fell in love with the old Florida charm and quaintness, and the site plan for the hotel at the marina location fits in with that charm,” Collier said.

Chiles said he was “delighted to be able to bring in a local component to this project. Joe Collier has embraced our approach to Island development, stressing green technologies, native landscaping and architectural influences responsive to this very unique Island on which we live.”

New PAR partners Lizzie and Mike Thrasher of Anna Maria were likewise pleased about the Tidemark purchase and their future involvement.

“We would like to see this [project] realize its potential and make the marina/resort area a good place to spend time, rather than the sad and sorry place it is now,” Lizzie Thrasher said.

She said she and her husband were also excited to be part of PAR, noting that Anna Maria and the Island “work in a very human way. We love it here. People are friendly and care deeply about future developments and their community. And the natural resources are just beautiful.”

Moving forward

After nearly eight years of inactivity at the Tidemark Lodge and Marina site adjacent to the Wachovia Bank in Holmes Beach, Collier said he is ready to “rock and roll” as soon as possible.

“We hope to begin vertical construction within a year. We really want to get this going,” he said.

The “Tidemark” name will disappear at both projects, Collier said. The lodge and marina will become the Mainsail Lodge and Marina at Anna Maria Island, while the Tidemark Beach Club will be renamed the Mainsail Beach Inn.

Before construction begins at the lodge project, Collier said Mainsail will complete the marina portion and get it fully operational.

At the same time, the beachfront resort will convert to condominium sales, but remain as rentals during the sale period. Collier said Mainsail has no plans for fractional ownership at either the lodge or the beach.

“We will continue to operate the beach resort as rental property while selling the units,” he said.

Reliance out

Lance McNeill Jr. of Reliance-Tidemark LLC, the former owners, said he put together an investment group that submitted a bid to the bank, but Mainsail had the higher bid. That put McNeill and partner Ken Dardis out of the picture.

“Reliance Partners is no longer involved with Tidemark,” McNeill said. Reliance was the group that bailed original Tidemark developer Nick Easterling out of bankruptcy in 2005.

“I regret I was not successful in our bid, but I’m happy that a local group is involved. I wish them nothing but good things. It’s a great project for the entire Island,” McNeill said.

Mainsail

According to Mainsail’s Web site, Collier has been involved in the hotel and hospitality industry for a number of years and formed Mainsail in 1998. The company has developed a number of resort and business properties in Florida and the Caribbean and is currently developing a $200 million resort in the British Virgin Islands.

Tidemark history

The Tidemark hotel-marina project received its controversial site-plan approval from the Holmes Beach City Commission in August 2001, but then encountered a number of delays.

Although some infrastructure work on the 40-unit hotel was completed, there has been no vertical construction, despite several false starts and public announcements that construction was imminent.

Easterling ran into financial difficulties and placed the company in bankruptcy in 2003.

He and the bankruptcy court eventually reached a financial agreement with Dardis that brought the company out of bankruptcy. Easterling was subsequently dismissed from the new company, Reliance Tidemark LLC.

But a downturn in the real estate market forced McNeill and Dardis to reconsider the hotel-condo project until real estate values stabilized.

Instead, they invested in the Tidemark Beach Club project, which was planned as a fractional ownership complex.

Mainsail future

Holmes Beach superintendent of public works director Joe Duennes said he has not received a building permit application for the lodge and marina, but has talked to people from Mainsail about future plans.

As long as there is no “major change” from the original footprint, Duennes said, the new owners can apply for a building permit when ready. If major and substantial changes are incorporated in the permit application, however, the developers will have to start over with a new site-plan application and public hearings, he said.

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