Off-gridders come in all shapes and sizes. Its not the job of this web site to say that one kind is better than another. So millionaires looking to control their own destiny could covet this Florida private island when Melody Key, the 2-acre island off the southern edge of Summerland Key, is put on the auction block.
Bidding starts at $3.5 million. The owner of Melody Key, formerly named Money Key, posted the island and its 3,000-square-foot estate on an online auction block being administered by the Fort Lauderdale-based Fisher Auction Co.
The current owners of Melody Key wish to remain anonymous and Monroe County property records list the London-based corporation Money Key LLC as the owner since March 2011.
Nick Hexum, lead singer of the band 311, is among the island’s previous owners. Hexum paid $936,000 for it in 2004. Nineteen months earlier, in May 2003, the island had sold for $2.5 million, property records show. The last asking price for Melody Key was $6 million, so the smaller starting price of $3.5 million has generated interest from buyers all over the world, said Fisher Auction President and CEO Lamar Fisher.
The current owner has spent $2 million in some cutting-edge, self-sufficient environmental technology for power and water.
The sale includes the island, the baybottom connecting it to Summerland Key, the estate, a dock on Hudgins Drive for the ferry and barge as well as a small sailboat, kayaks, windsurf equipment and all the home furnishings, Fisher said.
The estate has three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a pool, wrap-around balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, a rooftop observation deck and a gourmet kitchen.
Overseeing it all is handyman, property manager and ferry captain Mike Henry, who has been on site for 10 years.
He showed the solar-powered battery room, generator and pool house – all of which he built himself.
“We put $100,000 just in bamboo for the new exteriors,” Henry said Friday as he picked up wayward palm fronds. “There’s a 12,000-gallon cistern for rainwater below as well.”
About 28,000 pounds of batteries power the home that runs completely off-the-grid, Henry beamed.
The original structure was built in 1993, but it was “really rough” before Henry got his hands on everything, he said.
Whether Henry comes with the place is a matter of negotiation between him and the new owner, he said with a smile.
“We’ll talk about it when the time comes,” he said as he readied the Carolina Skiff ferry.
Henry is also the property historian, who noted most of the rumors surrounding the island are probably nothing more than legend.
Hexum changed the island’s name in 2004, but how it came to be known Money Key first is a matter of supposition.
A 1969 Citizen article by E.R. Adams states Money Key got its name after pirate treasure was found there, but that’s probably hokum, said Florida Keys historian Tom Hambright, who oversees the Florida History Section at the Key West Library.
“I wouldn’t bet the store on that story,” Hambright said with a laugh. “What happened was the U.S. surveyors sent people down here back in the 1930s to make charts and they would ask all the old timers ‘What do you all call this one (island) and that one?’ They would find a consensus amid the groups and that’s how a lot of these little islands were named.”
Hambright paused to chuckle. “So there wasn’t really much rhyme or reason to much of it other than six out of 10 fishermen or whomever called it that at the time,” Hambright went on to say. “It could very well be that someone did find some money out there. Maybe a quarter. Maybe pirate treasure, but I don’t believe much in pirate treasure. I think pirates went to Nassau (Bahamas) and spent their money. Why risk your life for treasure and then bury it?” In the meantime, no one knows how much money the sale of the island will generate on Nov. 11, Fisher said.
“That’s the $64,000 question,” Fisher said. “It’s been priced extremely aggressively. I think someone is going to get a good buy.”
For more information on the auction and how to register visit fisherauction.com
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