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8 acres with bay view for sale

Published Sep. 16, 2005

A vacant, 8-acre piece of land southwest of the Bayside Bridge is for sale for $1-million.

About 40 houses could be built on the land, which is zoned residential, said Al Navaroli, who is in charge of development review for the county government.

"There are only so many undeveloped waterfront properties in Pinellas County," said Paul Petti, with CB Commercial Real Estate in Tampa. "It's fairly rare."

Petti said the land has a few drawbacks: Houses would have to be built on stilts and flood insurance would be required. He also said noise from the bridge and nearby St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport might bother some people.

And the limited access to the property _ through small streets off Roosevelt Boulevard _ could be either a plus or a minus, depending on a homeowner's attitude.

The water is too shallow for big boats, so buyers would have to be people who are satisfied with small boats or with only seeing the water, said Ginger McQuigg, general manager of The Prudential Florida Realty, based in Clearwater.

"It's very unusual," she said. "There's not that much property that hasn't been built on."

John Ruggles said he and his brother-in-law, Tony Johannesmeyer, have owned the land since the 1970s. He said the assessments have gradually increased over the years so that the men have been paying about $12,000 a year in taxes. That, combined with the cost to mow the property and insure the land, have led them to put it up for sale.

Ruggles, who is married to Pinellas election supervisor Dorothy Ruggles, has used the land for such things as parties, hayrides and softball games. The land has big grassy sections with occasional Australian pines and palm trees.

"It's gotten very expensive for a family playground," he said.

Ruggles said he offered to sell the land to the county, hoping it would be used for a park, but the county was not interested.

He said that since he put up a for-sale sign that can be seen from the Bayside Bridge, he has gotten a number of calls, some from people wanting to buy home sites. Ruggles said he wants to sell the land in one piece.