Grande Bay Developers Settle with Condo Owners Over Ownership Rules

Owners of Grande Bay Resort units, above, recently settled a dispute with the developer, Bay Isle Associates. St. John Tradewinds News Photo by Eliza Magro


Bay Isle Associates has settled with 24 Grande Bay Resort luxury condominium owners, who filed a temporary restraining order seeking to prevent the recording of new condominium ownership documents which the plaintiffs alleged drastically reduced the value and desirability of their units.

While the settlement is confidential, according to Kelly Frye of Bay Isle Associates, new condominium documents were filed at the Recorder of Deeds office on September 13.

The temporary restraining order was filed after new condo documents were delivered to Grande Bay owners on May 17, along with a letter acknowledging “significant changes to the operation and structure of the resort,” according to a June 6 filing by the Bornn Firm, which represented the plaintiffs.

Contract holders were given 15 days to either cancel their contract and get their money back, or consent to the new condominium documents, along with a new guaranteed construction completion date of March 31, 2008.

Diminished Value
The plaintiffs alleged that several changes diminished the value of their units, including:
• the loss of a deeded parking space and the requirement that owners pay $175,000 annually for valet parking;
• the restriction of the time owners may occupy their unit to just 90 days per year;
• the requirement that owners pay $39,000 per year for services which were promised in original purchase agreements, including access to digital TV, telephone service, DSL, internet access, garbage collection and removal and access to the wine storage areas.
The condominium documents filed after the settlement assign one deeded parking space to each unit, with no requirement that owners pay for valet service.

Owners Win Concessions
The new documents allow owners to live in their unit full time, with the stipulation that any amendment affecting the use of condos for rentals be approved by 60 percent of all unit owners.

Grande Bay condominium owners are required to put their units in the rental pool when they are not occupied for personal use
The new documents also include the six Cruz Bay lots which make up Grande Bay’s property in the property description, while the documents filed earlier this year took away from owners parcels 86-4 and 86A-4, which provide beach access, and parcels 3Abc and 3Aac.

Grande Bay’s third structure, the steel frame of building E, is described in the new documents as having 14 proposed units and one proposed rooftop terrace.

14 Units in Building E
Building E will likely be larger and more high-end than Grande Bay’s other buildings, as the ownership percentages in the building are greater than the percentages in buildings A, B, C and D, according to the documents.

Frye would not discuss details of the settlement.

“It’s a confidential settlement and it speaks for itself,” said Frye. “The case has been dismissed. That’s a matter of court record.”

Frye did not comment on two other lawsuits filed against the Sarasota-based developer by adjoining property owners.

The complaint filed by owners of a property adjacent to the development — Alexander Jadan, Natalie Jadan, Anastasia Trey and Liza Trey — alleging zoning violations in height, density and lack of lateral support is in the deposition and discovery phase.

The plaintiffs recently added three claims of unjust enrichment to their complaint, according to Liza Trey.

“Basically, the additional claims add unjust enrichment, so if we prevail in this lawsuit, we can seek all profits secured by the top two floors of Grande Bay,” said Trey. “With these claims, we are also protected from creditors, so if Bay Isle goes belly up, the creditors cannot touch the top two stories since we’ll have a lien on those floors.”

Other Legal Challenges
Trey expects the trial to begin in her case in late 2008, she added.

Frye acknowledged Bay Isle is in mediation with Blossom Cor-poration and Tropical Properties owner Roger Harland, whose property shares a boundary.

In his suit, Harland alleges that during construction of the luxury condominium resort, contractor Breckenridge Custom Homes trespassed on his property and excavated Bay Isles’ property causing Harland’s property to collapse.

The suit also alleges that part of the Grande Bay structure encroaches on Harland’s property.