Historic motel on auction block

“Going once, going twice. Sold!”

Those are the words Venu Patel wants to hear this Saturday when his Beach House Motel in Indialantic is offered up during a live on-site auction.

Instead of going the traditional route by listing his property with a real estate agent, Patel decided to take it to the auction block to save time and inconvenience.

“A main benefit of an auction is speed. They go fast, only serious people make bids, you don’t waste a lot of time,” Patel said. “It’s a significant property and since there is a lot of interest, a broker from down south suggested I try an auction.”

Previously Patel purchased two other properties up north in auctions and enjoyed the process. “It’s very common there and not as common here.” Patel said.

Marshall Copley, a sales associate for Jacobson Auction & Realty Co., the firm handling the auction, said they never know how many people will come out, but he expects a couple hundred on site for this auction.

“We’ve gotten a lot of calls and inquiries on it and I invite everyone to come out to see how it works,” Copley said. “It works especially well if it’s a distressed property because we circumvent the whole listing process, we get the right crowd with the right funds, it’s a cash closing, and you don’t have to worry about an inspection.”

Patel moved to the area in 2000 from North Carolina and purchased the property in 2006. It’s a little more than half an acre with three buildings on it; a 15-unit, three-story beachfront motel, a main office building with five units, and two duplex units that are currently occupied.

“It’s great because they create a continuous income,” Patel said.

In fact, he lived in one of the duplex units for a while in 2007 when his home on Lansing Island was damaged in a fire.

“It was pretty run down when I bought it and I had to put a lot of work into it, but I bought it because I loved the location,” Patel said. “I wanted a Key West style inn and spent over $400,000 to renovate it.”

Patel said it was fully booked and business was good.

But last year, a tornado spawned by Hurricane Irma ripped through and the motel sustained serious damage.

“After the hurricane in September, we had significant damage on the back side of property but not so bad on the front side,” Patel said. “The roof of the motel flew across A1A. It lifted right off and blew across the road, that tells you how strong the wind was.”

Another blow came after an insurance dispute which Patel found himself stuck in.

“The town condemned the building,” Indialantic Mayor Dave Berkman said. But Patel’s insurance company insisted it could be repaired. Negotiations have been ongoing for 10 months.

“The town has been very nice. They submitted a letter to the insurance company to help settle things but it’s still in limbo,” Patel said. “We will settle this, and I will help the new owner with it.”

Meanwhile, Patel decided to sell the motel, so he could focus on his main passion – investing in technology. As the owner of Nuova Manufacturing, he also bought a smart-home technology business in 2014 called TIOHOME.com.

Construction on the Beach House Motel began in 1957 and was completed by 1959 during a time when the area was flush with European tourists, and scientists and astronauts sought beachside refuge from the space race.

The exclusive Bahama Beach Club (formerly the Indialantic Casino) was located right next door, where Nance Park now sits, and the Tradewinds Hotel was just a mile away with a rich history of hosting celebrities like Charles Lindbergh and Jack Benny.

“This was a marquee building,” Patel said. “It was owned by a European who marketed it there and many tourists came from Europe to stay there. At the time, it was the only three-story hotel on the beach.”

Though damaged today, it does have a unique enticement.

“It’s the only lot, in terms of land in Indialantic on the beachside, zoned as tourism. This classification is very significant because you can do anything on the lot, a restaurant, bar, residence, most anything really,” Patel said. “And when someone invests in this lot, the land is already ready to go, you don’t need to upgrade the lot to use it, which can cost as much as $250,000.”

After having an architect and an engineering firm conduct a feasibility study, Patel considered keeping the property.

“They said 11 town homes can be built on that site with garages and additional parking,” Patel said.

The site also has another unique aspect. The well-known surfing website surfguru.com has a camera installed there, which broadcasts live surf conditions to surfers nationwide – and draws in tourists.

There is no starting bid, but there is an undisclosed reserve value and Patel will not sell below that amount.

Interested parties are invited to come to the see the property at 9 a.m. – and then attend the auction at 10 a.m. Phone bids are allowed with 10 percent of the reserve paid in advance in a cashier’s check.

And what happens next depends on the new owner’s vision.

Auction will take place Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. in the courtyard of the Beach House Motel, 405 N Miramar Ave. in Indialantic. The property will be open and available to tour at 9 a.m.

For more information, call Sales Associate Marshall Copley at 772-882-8149 or visit www.jacobsonauction.com.    

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