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Friends Buy Desert Island for $65,000 and Turn It Into $14 Million Paradise

An empty Florida island now costs $14 million by a group of friends who bought it for $65,000.

Beer Can Island
Beer Can Island. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Off the coast of Tampa Bay lies a vacant island known as “Beer Can Island”. This island’s formal name is Pine Key, which is listed for $14 million by a group of friends. The investors originally bought Pine Key for $65,000 back in 2017. The island stretches for nine acres in Hillsborough Bay. The location lies between MacDill Air Force Base and Apollo Beach.

Pine Key earned the title of “Beer Can Island” because of its history as a party spot. For years, the island was famous for boaters gathering around for an informal party consisting of beer cans. Boaters used the island for partying and letting loose without being under the watch of authorities. After most parties, beer cans would be the only evidence of any activity.

Four friends from Florida bought Beer Can Island and elevated it from a party spot for drunken boaters to a luxurious location now available to rent and use for a private party. The group of friends upgraded the island by adding bathrooms, cabanas, a bar and a water slide.

The Beer Can Island upgrade was popular amongst local partiers. However, authorities were not too happy with the new addition. Hillsborough County officials forced owners to close the island’s bar in the early days of improvement. The authorities caused issues regarding the inability of the county to respond to any island emergencies.

The state laws of Florida give any property owner the freedom to operate under their own authority. In this case, the island’s new owners have been granted this freedom due to their operations with a private club. The four friends invested about $5 million in renovating the island and building the club.

Driftwood on Beer Can Island’s beach shot on drone. Credit: Shutterstock/Suncoast Aerials

Partygoers cause trouble

Other issues regarding the new and improved island included careless partygoers. Many party people grew too comfortable with their rule over the island for decades, so they soon acted like they owned the place. Beer Can Island was initially privately owned before the current owners showed up.

The old owner never felt the need to keep party animals under control, mainly because they never actually lived on the island. With the new renovations, Beer Can Island’s party reputation took a quick turn. The drunken boaters and other local party people were not ready to adjust to this change.

The new owners saw them as an issue when they began upgrading the island into a private club with exclusive membership. However, they soon made it work by splitting the island into two sections- open to people who wish to visit and exclusive to members only.

Aerial shot of Beer Can Island. Credit: Shutterstock/FotosForTheFuture

Locals in and near the Tampa Bay area were quick to support the island’s new renovations. Since the upgrade, the island has hosted weddings, parties, and concerts with over 2,000 attendees. The investors saw their private club as a great success and are ready for a new journey- putting the island up for sale.

The owners are accepting cash and have been willing to put the island for auction. The auction would be a non-fungible token (NFT) in a cryptocurrency exchange transaction, so digital. Buyers would have the option to own a private island located in Tampa Bay.

Cole Weaver, one of the owners, spoke to WFLA News in Tampa, Florida, about his bold decision. Weaver said, “When we bought the island, I think we had a lot more intentions with the island,” Weaver continues, “being able to build a restaurant on the island and do some zoning issues that we’ve been going through.”

“I know Tampa Bay is a little nervous about the potential new buyer, but I think the owners are ready to take the next step in (our) lives and move forward,” Weaver added, “we’ve tried to do a lot for the Tampa Bay area and keep it public.”

Storm in Beer Can Island
Storm in Beer Can Island, Florida. Credit: Shutterstock/FotosForTheFuture

Many local partygoers are upset with the island closing and only available to exclusive members. For the owners, however, the struggles with the new upgrade have been worthwhile. The owners have been working on infrastructure throughout all nine acres of the island.

The island, being on the market, is doing real estate great justice. This unique opportunity given by the investors rewards them with making millions of dollars with just one transaction. In the beginning, they were just four friends with a “crazy idea,” and now they are nearly set for life.

Written By

Student at the University of La Verne majoring in print journalism.

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