They Bought a Deserted Island in Florida for $65,000 and Transformed it Into a $14M Paradise

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 29, 2024

A once deserted island with a strange name from locals, Beer Can Island, has just listed for an eye watering $14 million.

Located just off the coast of Tampa Bay, the island was purchased by a group of smart investors who could see a new vision for the deserted space.

The History of Beer Can Island

Although the name “Beer Can Island” was dubbed by the local community a long time ago, the island’s true name is Pine Key.

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A person holds a beer can on the beach while wearing a blue wrist watch

Source: Jacques Philippe/Pexels

The name was given to it after the beaches had become a local party spot for young people with boats could go to drink underage or just hang out for the day. The island is also just out of sight of Tampa Bay authorities.

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Investors Saw a Big Opportunity

Since the island is a locals only hang out, the 9-acre property has been off the radar for investors for a long time.

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A small private island in the middle of turquoise water with a few houses

Source: monkeypics/Getty Images

In 2017, four friends who frequented the island while having fun out on their boats for the day decided to buy the island and transform it.

A Small Investment Goes a Long Way

For a small price of $65,000 the group was able to purchase the island outright.

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Small grass thatched umbrellas sit on a sandy beach on the side of the ocean

Source: Sergei Remarenko

They went on to upgrade the existing infrastructure and added bathrooms, palm frond thatched roofs, cabanas on the beach, a full bar, and a water slide.

City Officials Were Not Happy

The new amenities on the island became an instant hit with the local party going community.

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A black and white boat cruises along the shores of Miami with large buildings in the background

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An almost exclusive club was opened just for people who knew how to get there. However, Hillsborough County officials were immediately concerned with issues relating to emergency services being able to access the island.

Florida Laws Benefited the Group

Since Florida homeowner laws give a high level of autonomy on private property, the group didn’t need to rezone the space to use it as a private club.

An aerial shot of a key in Florida with white sandy beaches, a long bridge, and large buildings

Source: charleshester/Canva

The four friends spent roughly $5 million on their quest to create the ultimate beach hang out.

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New Owners Faced With Trespassers

The previous owner of the island never stayed there and very rarely enforced rules when it came to party-goers trespassing on his private property.

A white yacht sits on the shoreline of a white sandy beach in blue water

Source: amriphoto/Canva

The new group of entrepreneurs found out the hard way that since the island was known as a local party spot for so long, it would be hard to enforce their own rules.

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Trying To Enforce Members-Only Policy

At first, the group had a difficult time trying to get the local community to pay for the club membership instead of just showing up on the island with their own plans.

A sandy beach with footprints next to a row of palm trees

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They made a smart decision to come to a compromise. Instead of kicking out the locals all together, they decided to section off a small spot on the island open to the public while still maintaining and nurturing their members-only club.

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Local Community Embraces the New Owners

Since they finished the massive renovations on the island, the local community has swelled around them in support.

White chairs and an altar are set up on a sandy beach with palm trees in the background

Source: Maridav/Canva

The locals in Tampa Bay have enjoyed hosting private weddings, parties, and concerts in the beach paradise.

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Selling Beer Can Island to New Owners

After seeing their massive success with the private club on the island, the group of investors wants to move onto their next venture and let someone else enjoy the space.

A white sand beach with blue beach cabanas next to a turquoise ocean

Source: TriggerPhoto/Getty Images

The investors opened up the sale for $14 million for the island. Potential buyers are jumping at the chance to own one of the only private islands on the cast of Tampa Bay.

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Environmental Issues Affecting the Island

Although the coast of Florida is already known to have its rainy and stormy season, one hurricane has put the entire sale in jeopardy.

A neighborhood with underwater cars and street signs barely visible. A man canoes on the water between houses

Source: Bilanol/Canva

Hurricane Idalia hit the island this year and left it under 5 feet of water. It’s unknown how much this storm has affected the amenities and structures on the island.

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Unique Opportunity From a Crazy Idea

It’s unclear if the sale for $14 million will happen or if they will be forced to accept a somewhat lower offer.

A small private beach with two large palm trees next to a blue ocean

Source: Thomas-Suisse/Pixabay

Even so, it’s still impressive to see the story of what four friends and $65,000 can do when they work together.

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