Florida is buying the 88-acre Paradise Island from Lakeland, FLlandowner Bill Ward for $4.7 million. The price equates to $53,409per acre or $1.23 per sf.

Gov. Jeb Bush, a former Miami area developer, feels the price ishigh, especially since the state last year bought neighboringMakinson/Cypress Island for $3.4 million.

But Cabinet members argue developers would quickly buy the landif the state didn't act because the tract already is approved for22 apartments, two commercial marinas and 167 homes.

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