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Builder seeks deal on Lake Seminole land

(ran Seminole, East, Beach, West editions)

The owner of a decades-old mobile home park and motel on Seminole Boulevard is selling his lakefront property to make way for luxury condominiums and townhomes.

And with land at a premium in Pinellas County, the 8 acres on the western shore of Lake Seminole represents a prime spot for redevelopment.

Eugene B. Mohney, whose parents built Seminole Village Motel and Mobile Home Park in the early 1940s, is negotiating with Carabank Development and PAR Builders II, both of Clearwater. The sale has not closed.

Rob Ciaravino, vice president of PAR Builders and a partner in Carabank Development, would not disclose the price for the property at 7901 Seminole Blvd.

"Land in Pinellas County is a diamond, if you will," said Ciaravino, who along with Chris Calderbank would develop the $22-million project called Mira Bella.

The Mediterranean-style condo community would feature 70 two-story townhomes and 40 condominiums in a five-story building two-car garages, two swimming pools, a tennis court and two docks. Unit prices would range from $299,000 to $359,000.

"We've done quite a few market studies, and that area is definitely ready for some nice, luxury townhomes," Ciaravino said.

Ciaravino, 36, lives in Clearwater but grew up in Seminole. He says he's been looking for a place in his former hometown where he could build a high-end project. He asked Mohney if he was interested in selling his property.

"Luckily, it worked out for us," Ciaravino said. "Now, it's all just coming together."

Mohney's property is zoned residential, so there is no need to change zoning, says city planner Mark Ely.

Mohney, 78, did not return telephone calls Tuesday. He is the son-in-law of the late Jesse Johnson, often called the father of Seminole. A charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Seminole, Mohney inherited Seminole Village Motel and Mobile Home Park from his parents.

The motel consists of about 15 yellow duplexes. About 50 lots for mobile homes sit between the cottages and the lake. The approximately 35 mobile homes currently in the park are home to seasonal and year-round residents.

Clarence and Reta Brouillet have one of the best spots on the property _ right next to the lake. The couple lived in Redington Shores for 16 years before moving to Seminole three years ago.

Clarence Brouillet, a retired car dealership manager, said he has heard rumors of the impending sale.

"We like it here very much," Brouillet, 80, said Tuesday. "But you can't stop progress, I guess."

Ciaravino said his company would set aside money to help residents find new homes. "When the time comes, we can assist them in relocating to another park or residence," he said.

If the deal goes through, construction would begin in late summer and construction would last a year.

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