Private islands still exist in Florida, attracting the mega-rich in a booming market

A thin strip of asphalt stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean south of Islamorada and leads to an idyllic-looking private island. Patti Stanley, real estate agent Coldwell Banker Schmitt, is one of the few to have set foot there. She represented the former owner, who sold the nearly 16-acre land for $10 million in December.

Amid a pandemic-fueled real estate boom in South Florida, real estate agents who have tapped into the niche market for private islands and investment properties say they are seeing unprecedented action.

“I’ve sold more real estate in the last year than I’ve ever done in my life,” Stanley said, “and I’m 67. I’ve been in the business for quite a while . »

Stanley focuses on properties near the upper Florida Keys, which she says have become a hotbed for investment properties. But at least 21 private islands across Florida are listed for sale on, ranging from $1.1 million to $95 million.

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She noted the housing uncertainty caused by the pandemic as a competitive factor for the finite land of the Keys. “It was just the perfect storm so to speak,” Stanley said.

Here’s a look at three island properties.

A 5,000 square foot mansion sits amidst 26 tropical acres on the bay side of North Key Largo. The $95 million island is only accessible by boat and is a short drive from the Ocean Reef Club, an exclusive marina club in Key Largo equipped with its own grocery store, veterinary center, a medical center and a school.

“There aren’t many buyers for something at this price, but there is a lot of interest,” said Russell Post, a real estate agent who holds the listing with Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty.

Pumpkin Key has its own water, electric and cellular fiber service and high speed internet. A main house with three bedrooms is the popular domain on the island, but there are also two cottages for gardeners as well as an office and apartment for a wharfmaster.

The island is less than three miles from the Florida Barrier Reef, the country’s only living coral reef. there is a marina large enough to accommodate a large yacht.

Current developments represent only a fraction of the total territory. The listing suggests potential for up to 12 homes on one and a half acre bay front lots.

“It really is a canvas for a new buyer to paint on,” Post said. “There were people who looked at it hoping to buy it at a price at which they could then turn around and sell the individual lots. But I think ultimately the buyer will probably be a wealthy family that just wants that kind of island lifestyle with all the conveniences.

Palm Beach is already a wealthy island enclave. But Todd Michael Glaser, a Miami developer, is building a private island residence within that island.

10 Tarpon Isle, a nearly three-acre man-made island created by dredging in the 1930s, will house Glaser’s opulent mansion. The estate will build on an existing 12,321 square foot home and include new amenities. Glaser was tight-lipped on specifics, but said the sticker’s price is currently $220 million.

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“It’s the most expensive house in the United States,” Glaser said. “This is not a private island in the Bahamas that we are talking about; it is a private island in Palm Beach. It’s a whole different animal. »

The property will have its own deck, tennis court and inground pools overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. A six-car garage is another possible addition to the estate.

Glaser did not reveal when construction will be complete or when the mansion will officially go on the market, but he said he has already started showing the island to interested buyers.

For $9.5 million, Cow Key is offering nature-conscious millionaires 50 acres of open space and mangrove shorelines. The property is accessible by land bridge and is on the ocean-facing south side of Stock Island, an unincorporated community just off Key West.

According to the listing, the current owners use the land to operate a small farm, beekeeping and summer camps.

Since the current owners use the land for agriculture, there is currently no development on the island. Still, the listing suggests a possible equestrian estate or “a great place to host large events or possibly therapeutic programs or retreats,” for someone who wants to spend a few million extra dollars adding event space or setting up a park. natural personal on the island.

Cow Key is commercially zoned. But Ellen Gvili, a realtor who holds the listing with Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, said the current owners plan to seek approval from the Monroe County Planning Department to build residential units on the island. This would expand the island’s possibilities for future owners.

Gvili said he received at least 10 calls about the property in the first week it was on the market.

“It’s been practically an everyday call,” she said.

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