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104-acre Little Bokeelia Island up for sale

By Staff | Feb 19, 2013

A 104-acre island became available eight months ago, which includes a home built in 1928, for $29.5 million.

Jennifer Calenda of Michael Saunders and Company said besides Little Bokeelia Island being spectacular, there’s also a lot of history associated with the property. She said the Calusa Indians lived there.

The island includes actual shell mounds – ceremonial and burial mounds, as well as different artifacts and remnants, which are all still on the island.

Calenda said in the 1920s dry cell battery inventor Charles Burgess purchased the property and then decided to go ahead and build a charming, two-story Mediterranean villa there. The home, she said, is completely air conditioned with a sprinkler system, as well as wonderful ceiling heights.

The original manor house sits on two acres and has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms. Calenda said the main home is 6,500 square feet with an attached guest wing that is separated by an open breezeway with a private entrance.

“The guest wing is truly separate, but attached,” she said, adding that the suite has its own living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry room.

The island also includes a two-bedroom, one-bathroom caretaker’s cottage that includes a kitchen, living room and screened porch, as well as a guest cottage with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Little Bokeelia Island also includes public utilities – electric and its own private water plant. The reverse osmosis plant produces 10,000 gallons and has the capability to expand to 40,000 gallons.

“It doesn’t feel too rustic,” she said of the island. “Everything is buried and very nicely done.”

When Burgess owned the property, she said they used it as a winter residence, where they did a lot of entertaining. Calenda said Burgess and Thomas Edison had a lot in common since they were both inventors and spent time together on the island.

She said a banyan tree that Edison planted is still there and can be seen when you step onto the island.

“The views are just magnificent in each direction,” Calenda said.

The current owner, Tom Munz, a developer, purchased the island in the 1990s from another fellow that bought the property in the 1970s.

Munz was living on the island of Useppa, which is two miles south of Little Bokeelia Island, before he purchased the 100-plus acres.

In the mid ’90s, Calenda said that Munz ultimately renovated the main home and expanded it, as well as creating a little village.

She said he has a little cottage for his year-round caretakers, a museum office with artifacts and photographs and a wonderful clubhouse with a big open room that has an entertainment bar overlooking the pool and waterfall.

“Tom, having the foresight and insight of a developer, really executed everything,” Calenda said. “It is not under done and not overdone.”

In addition to the homes, she said they have paths that surround the island that lead to little escape areas. One of the best spots, Calenda said, is at Coconut Point, which is a part of the island that jets out and provides wonderful bent coconut trees that have hammocks.

“There is a little path leading out there,” she said.

When stepping foot onto the island, Calenda said you shift gears and feel like you have been taken away to a foreign little oasis.

Calenda said they have had great interest in the property since it went on the market.

“We hope as we continue on, we are going to find a new owner for this island,” she said. “We have had some strong interest and are encouraged by the interest that we have had.”

The unique thing about this island is that approval is already in place to develop 29 large waterfront homes. Calenda said they believe Little Bokeelia Island will probably be used for personal enjoyment, rather than being developed.

Those interested in viewing the property can visit www.littlebokeelia.com