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Resort sale sets record with $10 million deal

By Staff | Nov 5, 2014

The Waterside Inn is the second largest family resort in Sanibel. CRAIG GARRETT

The sale of a Sanibel resort has fetched the highest price on the island in the last decade.

The Waterside Inn on West Gulf sold for a reported $10 million to an Indiana investor. The Oct. 24 sale surpasses $6.1 million paid for a Sanibel property in June 2007, according to Lee County real estate transaction records filed with Lee County. Records indicate a Captiva property in October 2007 sold for $13.5 million.

Waterside Inn was owned by Bert Jenks, a longtime island investor and former U.S. Air Force officer. Jenks has owned businesses and property for decades in Sanibel, he said. Waterside is the island’s second largest family owned resort. It was once the Snook Motel, with 27 cottages and hotel efficiencies, said Jenks, who has owned the Waterside since 1998. Two Waterside properties date to the 1930s. Rawlings Realty brokered the deal. The buyers are Chris and Mary Nolan. The couple owns properties in north Florida, Maine and Indiana, Jenks said.

Jenks has led an interesting life; raised on a Montana cattle farm, he logged some 6,000 flight hours in the Air Force before retiring in 1974 as a public affairs officer. He flew in Vietnam, trained that country’s pilots and earned military commendations for his work.

On Sanibel, Jenks and his partners built, bought or sold properties for decades. Although he suffered a few financial setbacks, he said, his instincts created wealth, allowing him at one point to purchase a 35,000-acre spread in Colorado. He and a partner formed Sanibel Realty in 1976.

The secret to succeeding in business ventures, Jenks said, is finding good investment partners.

“Can’t do it by yourself,” he said.

Waterside’s staff will remain at the resort, Jenks said.

As for the 84-year-old islander, he said: “Everybody asks me what I’m going to do. I can’t say. I’ve already flunked retirement three times.”