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Neighborhood news

Kings Point seals recreation deal

By S.I. Rosenbaum
Published May 18, 2007


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After a stalled lawsuit and a last-minute vote, the community members of Kings Point now own their own recreation facilities.

The purchase will allow the development to avoid fee hikes, Kings Point Federation president Harry Kangieser said.

"We can now control our own destiny, " he said.

The community, which is adjacent to Sun City Center, had initially sued developer WCI Communities for the right to purchase the facilities. But as the lawsuit dragged on, Kangieser said, the Federation initiated a direct negotiation with WCI.

In February, the developer made them a sales offer. Kangieser said he thought an ongoing hostile takeover bid by investor Carl Icahn might have made WCI more interested in settling.

But to seal the $53-million deal, the community's governing body had to form a corporation and a land trust - all in the brief window WCI gave them to accept or reject the offer.

The Federation waited to act until after its April board elections, said Robert Spitzer, the Federation's spokesman.

"To do the amount of work we did in 30 days is amazing, " he said.

Kangieser agreed.

The Federation - basically a glorified condominium association - can't hold property. So the board had to form a land trust to hold the title to the property and a corporation to administer upkeep.

"We're now dealing as a business entity rather than just a federation, " Kangieser said.

Because of the complexities involved, Kangieser said, the closing on the property took 11 hours.

The purchase was funded by a loan from Bank of America, he said. That way, residents will be essentially paying down a mortgage with maintenance fees rather than paying a lease to a for-profit company.

And that means the fees will stay lower, said Spitzer.

"It's like having our grandchild back, " he said.

S.I. Rosenbaum can be reached at 661-2442 or srosenbaum@sptimes.com.

[Last modified May 17, 2007, 07:11:47]


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