Want to buy an island in Choctawhatchee Bay?

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TONY JUDNICH @Tonyjnwfdn

POINT WASHINGTON — Realtor Rodney Elkins recently put on the market what he believes to be the only privately owned island for sale on the Emerald Coast.

The 53-acre, pine tree-covered island is at the east end of Choctawhatchee Bay in South Walton County. It stands south of the west entrance to the Intracoastal Waterway and just north and only a stone’s throw from Eden Gardens State Park and the Point Washington Boat Ramp.

The island’s asking price is $2.5 million. Elkins, who owns Destin-based World Impact Real Estate, said 4 acres of the property is currently available for development. The 4 acres stretch along the island’s south side and east end, as well as part of the west end.

Much of the island consists of wetlands and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers easement. The Corps uses the easement to store sandy “spoil” dredged from the Intracoastal Waterway.

Elkins said the land available for development would be ideal for someone who would like to use it for a private home or for a developer who wants to build a small, exclusive resort and/or a wedding venue.

“I could see a series of small bungalows being built there,” he said.

The island is zoned for traditional neighborhood development, which would allow single-family houses or apartments or town homes, according to information from the county Planning and Development Services Office.

Elkins said an additional 8 to 10 acres could be made available for development through mitigation, such as by providing off-site wetlands. He also believes some of the easement area could be used for recreation purposes such as a small golf course.

He said the island’s owner, 81-year-old DeFuniak Springs resident William L. Mathews, recently contacted him and said, “I need to sell my island.”

“I didn’t know it was even here,” Elkins said Wednesday about learning of the property for the first time.

Mathews said his family has owned owned the island since 1935, the year he was born. He said he has camped on it several times.

“I thought one day I would live there, but I got old too quick” and do not have the money to build a home, he said. “I’m getting too old to mess with it, so I turned it over to (Elkins) to try to sell it. What it’s worth is whatever you can get for it.” 

Elkins and his children boated over to the island last Saturday so he could install a “for sale” sign on the north side of the property.

“As we were approaching the island, my kids were humming the theme song from ‘Jurassic Park,’ ” Elkins said, referring to the tall trees on the property that form a long block of green between the water and sky.

On Wednesday morning, Elkins, two of his real estate agents and the son of one of his agents visited the island with the Daily News. The group left Baytowne Marina at Sandestin on a pontoon boat and cruised about 40 minutes east to the island.

After circling the island and landing on its north side, the group jumped ashore and hiked up about a 12-foot hill to a flat, sandy area that looked like a vast Christmas tree lot.

Elkins noted that potential structures on the island would likely require the installation of submerged utility lines running from the mainland.

According to the county Property Appraisers’ website, the island’s just (market) value for property tax purposes is $3,931. The 2016 property tax bill for the island totaled $37.75.  

Elkins plans to host an open house for potential from 4:30-7 p.m. July 21. He said he’s thinking of using a couple pontoon boats to take visitors from the Point Washington Boat Ramp to the island, where he and some of his employees would set up Tiki torches and offer refreshments while providing details about the property.

Elkins said about 50 people have already expressed interest in the open house.

To learn more, visit www.worldimpactrealestate.com or call Elkins at 850-225-7000.

 

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