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Someone bought a private island in the Florida Keys for $11 million

The sale is the highest of several recent Florida Keys private islands.
An aerial view shows a private island off the Florida Keys that sold in March 2021 for $11 million.
An aerial view shows a private island off the Florida Keys that sold in March 2021 for $11 million. [ Ocean Sotheby's ]
Published Mar. 12
Updated Mar. 12

A private island sold in the Florida Keys this month for $11 million, one of the highest closing costs for an island sale in the archipelago.

The transaction is a monument to a trend this year of high-end buyers coming to the Keys from other states looking to own a piece of paradise, local real estate agents say.

“They’re the ones who don’t even look at the zeros,” Islamorada real estate agent Patti Stanley said.

Stanley is no stranger to the private island market. In 2017, she represented the sale of a 40-acre island in the Florida Bay off Lower Matecumbe Key, called Parmelee Key, for $13.8 million. She now represents the seller of a 16-acre island connected to Upper Matecumbe Key by a 2,000-foot bridge, called Terra’s Key. The asking price is $13 million.

The 3.6-acre island that sold this month, Palm Island, is located on the ocean side at 1740 Overseas Highway accessible by a small bridge from the Middle Keys city of Marathon.

Realtor Pierre Bellion, with Ocean Sotheby’s, represented the seller, a man named Brian Foley from Simsbury, Conn. Bellion declined to say who bought the island.

Bellion also said he’s seeing more ultra-wealthy people seeking homes in the Keys. He said Palm Island has many appeals, but he said one particular selling point is its deep-water dockage, which is able to accommodate multiple vessels, and even large boats more than 100 feet long.

The Keys may be surrounded by water, but most of it is shallow. Bellion said there is a demand for properties capable of docking larger vessels.

“We all noticed those big yachts anchored around the Keys all summer,” Bellion said Wednesday. “We receive dozens of inquiries for high-end rental every week, and yes, we are selling more high-end properties than ever.”

According to the Monroe County Property Appraiser, Foley bought Palm Island in July 2001 for $4.3 million.

The sale is the highest of several recent Florida Keys private islands. One called Thomson Island off Key West in April 2019 for $8 million. Another, Craig Cay off Lower Matecumbe Key in Islamorada sold for $8.6 million in late summer 2020.

As is, there are three homes on the property, Bellion said — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom main house. A guest house with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. And, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage.

However, the island is parceled into six different lots, and it is zoned with the Village of Islamorada to have six homes.

“We had three offers in writing and four more buyers standing by in case the contract fell through,” Bellion said.