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11th Apr 2024

Four friends buy deserted island for £50k and transform it into paradise worth £11m

Ryan Price

That’s quite the turnover.

A group of four friends who pooled together and bought a deserted island for £50k have put it on the market for £11 million six years later.

Pine Key, more commonly known as ‘Beer Can Island’, is located just off the coast of Tampa, Florida, and was originally purchased by the four budding investors in 2017 as a parking spot for their floating tiki bar.

(Image: Google)

Since purchasing the island, it has been utilised as a wedding venue, and for various private parties and concerts with thousands in attendance.

The four pals – Cole Weaver, Russell Loomis, James Wester and John Anthony Gadd – have decided that now is the time to sell up and move on from the venture and, in a press statement, expressed their gratitude for the “outpouring of support” that they had received from locals in the community across their four year ownership.

A couple of the friends were lucky in the sense that they obtained occupations and expertise that benefitted their foray into island-owning. Weaver is a real estate agent from Denver, Colorado, and Wester is a nightclub promoter and subcontractor.

Before the foursome snapped the island up, it served as a popular party destination and camping spot, so they decided to continue its legacy by opening a floating bar called Tiki Bay Island, which sits on the seven-acre Pine Key.

(Image: Google)

Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times at the time of the purchase, the then 32-year-old Weaver stated that the group just wanted “to do good for the island.”

“We’re just four guys who want to have a good time,” he added.

“The last owners were more, like, helping us out. If we would not have built Tiki Bay Island they would have said no. But they liked what we were doing and that we had a plan to nurture the island and improve it.”

Gadd, who was 40-years-old at the time, also told the publication: “It sounded great, a place that was our own space. I never pictured we’d get a real island.”

Now, after four years of good times as island-owners, the group have called it a day, and look set to make an almost £110 million pound profit.

Split between the four of them, they’re looking at over two and a half million each.

Considering they put almost £4 million of investment into the abandoned space over the last four years, it’s fair to say the lads have earned their rewards.

While one might be inclined to think that the unique opportunity will be snapped up quickly, health and safety risks and calls from local council members for the land to be used as a nature reserve might diminish a potential buyer’s desire.

Hillsborough County officials have made the case on several occasions that the land should be used to preserve local species like manatees rather than be made a party venue.

Concerns were raised about the ability of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s to respond to emergencies on the island.

The Tiki Bar Bay owners were granted a considerable amount of autonomy under state law, so any new owners will inherit the same freedom.

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