Sale of Zephyrhills Mobile Home Community One of Largest in Florida History, Attorney Says
The 1,168-lot, 55-plus Forest Lake Estates mobile home community was sold to a real estate investment trust.
ZEPHYRHILLS – The Forest Lakes Estates mobile home community has sold to a national real estate investment trust for $75 million, St. Petersburg real estate attorney David S. Bernstein said.
Bernstein, with the firm of Adams and Reese, served as legal advisor for the transaction and worked closely with Brett Schroder, president of Premier Community Management, Realty and Mobile Home Sales, the former management company of the park, to complete the transaction.
The sale, Bernstein said, is one of the largest transactions of its kind in the Florida manufactured home industry. The sale of Forest Lake Estates, 6429 Forest Lake Drive, to a large national real estate investment trust under the name MHC Forest Lake Estates MH, secured a high return on investment for community shareholders who originally banded together to purchase the mobile home park in 1999.
“Forest Lake Estates is a historically resident-owned community that, over the years, had experienced the common challenges of shareholder ownership, such as frequent board turnover, disagreements over community management providers, low cash reserve, unfilled vacancies, and an overall clouded long-term vision of the park,” Bernstein said. “The ultimate sale of the community garnered a roughly 94 percent approval rating from shareholders and successfully recognized their equity at a peak of the market.”
The sale to the REIT, one of the largest in the U.S., included future provisions to enhance community amenities and services, rent increase caps for 10 years, prepaid rent credits for use toward future rent increases, and a requirement that Forest Lake Estates remain a mobile home park for 20 years. The transaction closed in June after nearly eight months of due diligence and negotiations.
Forest Lake Estates’ sale marks one of the largest of its kind in Florida history, Bernstein said. It may also serve as a blueprint for shareholders in other manufactured home communities looking to retrieve their equity after weathering the challenges of resident ownership and without sacrificing the quality of their communities.
“There were many challenges and roadblocks in the history of Forest Lake Estates that are common among other resident-owned communities,” Schroder said. “Ultimately, Forest Lake residents were able to sell at a peak of the market and make good on their long-term investment.”
Business | Real Estate | Mobile Home Community | Forest Lake Estates | TB Reporter
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