MADEIRA BEACH, Fla — After over a decade of being owned by Bank of America, the western corner of John's Pass Village and boardwalk has a new owner.
Ben Mallah snatched up the property at auction for a cool $17.2 million. The property includes Hubbard's Marina, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Hooters, the Friendly Fisherman, the parking garage and all the stores attached, as well as a small parking lot.
Mallah says he had been eyeing the property for over a year.
"We felt because it’s in our own backyard, it has the opportunity to come in here and spruce things up and take over the management, and increase the revenue here," said Mallah.
The space was owned by the Hubbard family from 1976 through 2008.
"Unfortunately, it was a bad time with the recession, the economy issues, and then we had the oil spill, we had really bad hurricane years. All this boiled down to, unfortunately, the family having to file bankruptcy and we lost the property to Bank of America," explained Dylan Hubbard, owner and vice president of Hubbard's Marina. The family has continued running their boat business since the sale.
“And I’ve been leasing from a big corporation that’s out of state, so I am really looking forward to having a landlord that’s local, who understands the local market," said Hubbard.
Mallah said he'll focus on cleaning up the property as well as filling the roughly 5,000 square feet of vacant retail space currently available.
Hubbard is optimistic.
“By attracting more visitors here, more visitors means the shops on the boardwalk, the shops in the parking garage, the restaurants, everybody wins. So a rising tide raises all boats. And we are hoping Ben and his team will be that rising tide,” said Hubbard.
Mallah anticipates spending $1 million over the next year on repairs and improvements.
Parking, a constant pain point for John's Pass, will not increase on Mallah's property, for now.
"We plan on doing everything we can to have no complaints. We are going to get in here, we’re going to work with some parking experts, and make sure it’s run as efficiently as possible," said Mallah.
What other people are reading right now:
- Longtime Hillsborough County bus driver dies on first day of school
- Florida cop sues dating site for using his photo after his wife asked him about it
- 15 apps parents should look out for on their kids' phones
- Little girl dies after pulling pot of boiling water down from stove, police say
- Accused killer attempts suicide in Hillsborough County jail, deputies say
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.