Unusual Purchases Include Clewiston Vacant Lots, A Shopping Center And Trailer Park
CLEWISTON, FLORIDA -- Two Broward county men have reportedly contracted to buy U.S. Sugar's Clewiston Inn. The historic hotel was constructed in 1938 to house company executives and traveling dignitaries. and over the years the 57-room hotel and restaurant opened to the public. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Robert Coker, of U.S. Sugar Corp reportedly says they are selling the Clewiston Inn because "we are not in the hotel business. We are a sugar and citrus business," not withstanding they have been running the hotel for 70 years.
Partners Yasir Khan and Floyd Salkey, both of Davie formed a new corporation earlier this month called Big Lake Hotels, LLC the Ft. Myers News-Press reports, to buy the old hotel. Both men have partnered in various business ventures in the last two years with several apparently failing.
The two men, through a corporation formed last year called Clewiston Commons bought four land parcels under a 48-year old trailer park, including a small vacant commercial lot. Real estate broker Ernie Rawls and his wife Hazel sold the land to the partners for $440,000 in May of 2006. The properties are located in the 800 block of East Sagamore Avenue in Clewiston.
In July 2005 through Florida's Finest Developers LLC, they bought the Clewiston Town Center for $2,150,000, the old K-Mart shopping center, and leased the stores to Hendry county and the State of Florida. They purchased the shopping center from Clewiston real estate broker Earnest Rawls and Clewiston banker Miller Couse. Rawls and Couse had purchased the property 15 months earlier for $800,000 from the LaSalle Bank, making a quick $1,350,000 profit.
The partners' corporation Florida's Finest Villas at Lake Shore also bought two vacant commercial lots at the 800 block of West Alverdez and West Ventura in Clewiston in 2006.
The partners also owned Florida Finest Realty Group which went out of business within two years, Florida's Finest Development and Real Estate Services, which went out of business after one and a half years, Hallendale Development,Group, started a year ago, Florida's Finest Villas at Lake Shore, started 10 months ago, Carver Heights Townhomes Association, started 10 months ago, Florida's Finest Builders, going out of business in 2005 after 13 months, Florida's Finest Realty Group, going out of business in 2005 in 22 months, Florida Finest Developers, still in business, after two years although the corporation had to reinstate its papers with the Florida Secretary of State.
Floyd Salkey also has owned two other failed businesses, Advance Training and Agrotech Florida International, both closed in 2005 after three years in business ,
Local real estate observers say small hotels under 100 rooms are a substantial gamble, especially older properties. A few years ago the Port LaBelle Inn was purchased by an out-of-area buyer and upgraded but has very little customers each night. Construction workers seems to make up the largest group of overnight stays. The property seems to stay afloat through a new restaurant lease, and some banquet parties. But restaurant patronage seems to be off except for Friday nights and a few days a week for lunches.