New two-headed dragon coming to Merritt Island

A new chapter in the legend of Dragon Point on Merritt Island is set to begin. County officials have confirmed the start of construction on a 7,000-square-foot contemporary estate that will replace the crumbling mansion on the site, and a new two-headed dragon named “Rojak” will be created to take the place of the namesake original dragon “Annie,” which was wrecked during a storm in 2002.

Property owner Don Facciobene, a Palm Bay general contractor, bought the 0.86-acre estate in 2015, drew up plans for a luxury waterfront home, and commissioned the design of a replacement dragon from Jim McMillian, a Micco artist who formerly served as assistant to the Palm Bay City Manager for Economic and Business Development.

Plans were approved by the county in 2016 but there was a delay after that as the unusual project got tied up temporarily in the permitting process and Facciobene got busy with other projects, McMillian said.

Now, though, demolition of the ruined mansion is set to begin; trucks will be hauling away the longtime eyesore, while crews construct scaffolding and stabilize the shoreline in preparation for construction, according to McMillian.

“We’re finally in the process. All permits are finalized and demolition at Dragon Point begins in a week or two,” the dragon-designer said. “Facciobene wanted to get started on construction so that the permits don’t lapse and then we would have had to start all over again.”

According to a county stipulation, the footprint of the 60-foot dragon will be pulled back further from the point than the previous configuration. Included in the design is a lighthouse feature at the end of the point for navigational safety in the form of a torch held by an Ais Indian.

Dragon Point is located at the southernmost tip of Merritt Island and marks the confluence of the Indian and Banana rivers.

The original concrete-and-steel dragon named “Annie” was built in 1971 by Florida artist Louis VanDercar for then property owner Aynn Christal and became a widely known landmark and point of interest.

In 1981, the statue was expanded for new property owner Warren McFadden, with the addition of a tail, an extended neck, two cavepeople and four hatchling dragons named Joy, Sunshine, Charity and Freedom.

According to the new story McMillian has imagined for Dragon Point, Rojak is Annie’s fifth hatchling who was kept hidden in a magical passage beneath the water because he had two heads and was different and Annie feared he would not be accepted.

“I talked Facciobene into doing a two-headed dragon – one for the Indian River, one for the Banana River – and started a new legend about the dragon,” said McMillian. “I took on the project and really had some fun with it. I had a blast designing it. I wanted it to stand for something.”

McMillian said there is a tie-in between the unusual dragon and Facciobene’s company, which is general contractor for Promise in Brevard’s complex for special needs adults near Hammock Landing in West Melbourne.

“It is standing up for people who are a little bit different,’’ McMillan said of the planned statue.

One full-circle idea for marketing the new dragon involves recovering fragments of the dragon Annie out of the water and selling them as souvenirs, he said.

There were earlier attempts at a re-birth of Annie as Brevard’s most unique landmark, including a planned a luxury hotel and spa on the Dragon Point site with a reconstructed dragon statue as its centerpiece, but those efforts ultimately failed.

Contractors have been chosen for site landscaping and construction of the dragon, McMillian said.

“We will start on the dragon first once everything is ready. We should be able to build it pretty quickly – maybe as quick as three months.”

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