(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)
HOLLYWOOD, FL-After reclaiming a mobile home community on official reservation property, the Seminole Tribe of Florida says it has no plans to evict the park’s 750 current residents or redevelop the land. However, a vacant tract that is part of the dispute could be used for commercial development on US 441.
The tribe quickly decided to exercise its rights to the property after a dispute with lessee Hollywood Mobile Estates Ltd. led to federal lawsuits. Tribal police took control of the park’s front office July 14, one month after the tribe moved to void the lease.
“In the lease it’s very clear that if the lessee is in default, the tribe has the option of retaking the property, which was the step that they decided to take,” tribe spokesman Gary Bitner tells GlobeSt.com. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs of the US Department of Interior was aware of the action.”
The leases of residents of the mobile park remain in force, he adds. “It’s purely a management change of the trailer park and the tribe intends to maintain the property as a trailer park. Their rights and obligations will stay in place.”
Part of the Seminoles’ reason for taking such action, explains Bitner, was an agreement in the original lease for Hollywood Mobile Estates to develop ten vacant acres fronting US 441. So far, he says, the lessee has not met that agreement and has also broken other agreements pertaining to financing for the mobile home park that required tribe approval.
Bitner says he’s not sure of the property’s total value, but does confirm that the tribe has plans to develop the vacant tract. The tribe has no specific plans for the land at the moment, but he says it could be a “moderate commercial development” of some kind because of the size of the property.
“This has nothing to do with development or expansion of the tribe’s casino property there,” clarifies Bitner. “Any plans for the expansion of the Seminole Hard Rock will take place on the existing Hard Rock property.”
Unrelated to the mobile home dispute, the tribe has committed to expansions of four of its casinos in Florida as part of a gaming compact signed with Gov. Charlie Crist. The level of development that will take place has now been called into question after the state Supreme Court ruled in early July that the compact was not valid, though Bitner says some development will definitely happen at tribal casino sites.