Naples family might sell 70 'amazing and unique' acres that include beach
The Donahue family is exploring the sale of 70 acres of beachfront property on Keewaydin Island and Gordon Pointe in Naples.
The holdings comprise property the family has acquired over more than 40 years, beginning with a home off Gordon Drive in the posh area of Port Royal along the Gulf of Mexico
John "Jack" Donahue and his wife Rhodora will keep their residences at 100 and 104 Bay Road, where Gordon Drive meets the inlet, but the rest of their property is up for grabs.
A well-known Naples philanthropist, Jack made his fortune running Pittsburgh-based Federated Investors (he is a co-founder and still serves as chairman emeritus). Founded in 1955, the investment management firm has $364.1 billion of customer assets under its control.
The family decided "the time is right to further diversify its investment portfolio," according to their listing agents at CBRE Group Inc. (one of the world's largest commercial real estate services and investment firms, based on 2016 revenue).
The offering includes:
- ready-to-build lots on the northern tip of Keewaydin;
- a lounge for arriving and departing guests;
- a 4,700-square-foot lodge;
- a beachfront single-family estate with nearly 16,000 square feet of space;
- tennis courts;
- a helicopter landing pad. (If you don't have a helicopter, the only way to get to the island is by boat.)
Gordon Pointe's three undeveloped lots are up for sale, along with a waterfront home and personal yacht basin on Gordon Pass, which can accommodate a 200-foot yacht or three yachts up to 75 feet.
Also part of the package is the Bay Marina off U.S. 41 in Naples. The Donahues have used the private marina to shuttle people and supplies to and from Keewaydin. It includes a repair shop and slips for small boats, said Robert McEwan, one of two CBRE agents marketing the property.
The property is being marketed "as is" and as it's zoned. Up to 16 homes could be built on the undeveloped lots on Keewaydin.
"It's pretty amazing and unique," McEwan said. "There is only one other place in Florida where the waterfront property is comparable and that is Palm Beach. That is where the big mansions are on the ocean in Palm Beach."
The property offered on Gordon Pointe is the "second highest-priced stretch of residential land in the United States," he said.
The offer also includes a 39-foot yacht, with room for up to 30 passengers, a construction barge, four pontoon boats and four runabout boats.
The property offering is unpriced, said McEwan, a commercial real estate broker and land specialist based in Orlando. After a short period of marketing, the listing agents will do a call for offers, he said.
"There is just not another property like this in the state of Florida," McEwan said. "We anticipate a lot of interest. We anticipate it will sell quickly."
The goal is to sell all of the property to one buyer, but offers for pieces of it will be "looked at," McEwan said.
Inquiries from potential buyers already have started rolling in, though marketing began just a few days ago, he said.
'We have extensive databases. This was sent out to over 15,000 prospects worldwide," McEwan said, referring to a 62-page confidential offering memo.
McEwan didn't want to speculate on who could end up with the property, which includes about 54 acres on Keewaydin Island.
"It can be sold either to one wealthy individual, several wealthy individuals, or it can be sold for development," he said.
The sparsely populated island made national headlines in 2013 when James Brian Biden Sr. and his wife, Sara, purchased a 5-acre slice of it near the southern tip. James is the brother of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Property records show the Bidens paid $2.5 million for their 3,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bath home. Built in 1996, the home has waterfront views and a dock.
About 85 percent of Keewaydin Island is government-owned, protecting most of it from development — and making the Donahue family's property all the more exclusive and attractive to buyers.
Once a Historic Place
Keewaydin used to be known as Key Island.
In the 1930s, the barrier island was a winter retreat for Northerners and included a school for children of its adult guests. It was part of a string of Keewaydin Camps started in the 1890s. When the school faltered in the Naples camp, the camp started catering to adults (reservations could be made only by personal contact or a letter of introduction), said Naples historian Lois Bolin.
Naples philanthropists Lester and Dellora Norris purchased the camp in the 1940s. After Lester died, his eldest daughter, Lavern Norris Gaynor, took over management.
In December 1987, the Keewaydin Club, as it had become known, celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was the second site to make it on the National Registry of Historic Places in Florida, Bolin said.
Jackie and John Remington, along with Lu and Bolton Drackett, took ownership of the camp after the Norrises and sold it to the Donahue family in 1992.
After the property changed hands a few times, the cottages were torn down and the original Keewaydin Club was demolished and rebuilt elsewhere on the island, knocking Keewaydin off the National Registry of Historic Places.
Bolin is concerned about the future of Keeywaydin. She hopes that if someone builds on the Donahue property, the builder will keep its history and the environment in mind.
"It's just a great piece of our history," she said. "It's just sad. Unless you keep it in front of people's face, they forget and they don't know."
Previous coverage of Keewaydin Island and Gordon Pointe: