tampabay.com

Trailer park millionaires

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 11, 2007


BRINY BREEZES - Residents of this coastal trailer park town have overwhelmingly approved selling it to a developer for more than $510-million - a transaction that could make most of them millionaires.

About 80 percent of the Palm Beach County town's shareholders who voted approved the sale, while 17 percent opposed it, according to a statement Wednesday from the town's corporate office. More than 97 percent of shareholders voted.

Almost every owner of the community's 488 trailers will get more than $1-million if the sale goes through. Some bought their homes for $35,000.

The contract isn't official - and residents don't get any money - until 2009.

Despite a potential windfall of more than $1-million on his two lots, 68-year-old Tom Byrne was downbeat as he drove around the park Wednesday. He wore a "Save Briny. Vote No" button.

"I've lived here eight years. I'm surrounded by my friends. Why would I want to leave?" Byrne said.

Gay Sideris, who has lived here with her husband since 2001, hoped the overwhelming support will help heal some rifts the proposed sale created.

"I don't think there is anyone that lives here that doesn't love Briny," said Sideris, who stands to get about $1.5-million for a $155,000 investment. "We're happy it went through because it will be good for us and our family, but we're sad we have to leave. Now we can just concentrate on the great two years we have left here."

The buyer-to-be, Ocean Land Investments of Boca Raton, proposes 900 condominium units, a luxury hotel and a marina for the 43-acre property, which will require zoning changes.