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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL-An Irish developer has acquired a 51% majority stake in Amelia Island Plantation, with plans for millions of dollars worth of improvements. Redquartz Developments Atlanta, an affiliate of Dublin-based Redquartz Developments Ltd., is expected to invest $60 million in the 1,350-acre local resort over the next 18 months.

The family of Richard L. Cooper, which has owned Amelia Island since 1978, retains 49% ownership of the resort. Although the patriarch died in December at age 82, discussions between Redquartz and the Amelia Island Co. had been under way for many months.

“We have been looking for an equity partner to help us re-establish a resort business plan to take us forward,” Jack Healan, Amelia Island president, stated in a release. He praised Redquartz for its “ability and willingness” to work out financial details of plans to improve the resort.

Such improvements over the next five to 10 years may include expansion of Amelia Island’s conference center and the Amelia Inn, a new Amelia Links Lodge and a hotel at Amelia River Golf Club. The additions are aimed at increasing international tourism at the resort.

“We’ll bring, I suppose, more energy and some good ideas, and I suppose a renewal of sorts,” Patrick Kelly, Redquartz chairman, told the Fernandina Beach News-Leader. “Our role is one of a supportive role, of encouragement and friendship.”

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