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Condo project gets new developer

So long, Laguna; hello, Turtle Bay.

JMC Communities, developers of Dolphin Cay, will acquire the 12-acre site on Boca Ciega Bay where another developer once planned 390 condominiums in a community called Laguna at Isla del Sol.

There, JMC will build 240 mid-rise condominiums in a community to be known as Turtle Bay. The name was chosen to "raise the awareness level of threatened and endangered species" and "highlight the beautiful water and seagrass beds behind the community," said developer J. Michael Cheezem.

Neither Cheezem nor Frank Maggio of First Dartmouth Group, developer of Laguna, would say what JMC is paying for the site. Cheezem said he has a $5.9-million acquisition and development loan from NationsBank.

Prices at Turtle Bay will start at $135,000 for a 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath unit, Cheezem said. The community will offer a 1,200-foot waterfront promenade, natural beach areas, a heated pool, clubhouse with health club and membership in the golf and tennis club at adjacent Isla del Sol.

Maggio announced plans for his condo community a year ago but was unable to obtain financing. Late last year JMC entered the picture. Maggio will have no role in Turtle Bay.

Cheezem said he expects to begin selling this summer. Land development and construction are expected to start by the end of the year, he said.

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