MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - The wreckage of the Dragon Point mansion in Merritt Island will be hauled off by a barge if all goes as planned, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.
A subsidiary of Private Bank Minnesota has full ownership of the uninhabited estate after years of legal wranglings, said Cliff Repperger, the Melbourne lawyer representing the bank.
Private Bank Minnesota officials are not interested in long-term ownership, Repperger said. Rather, they seek to sell the southernmost tip of Merritt Island — where the landmark "Annie the Dragon" statue once stood — to a future buyer.
To prepare the property, brainstorming is under way about how to raze the hurricane-battered 5,707-square-foot home. Involved in discussions: Brevard County code enforcement, building department, natural resources and zoning officials, Assistant County Attorney Becky Behl-Hill said.
"We hope that they rebuild and make it the jewel of Merritt Island again," Behl-Hill said.
Set at the confluence of the Banana and Indian rivers, the unique peninsular property runs afoul of today's zoning setbacks and stormwater regulations. Repperger seeks to preserve redevelopment rights so a future buyer can rebuild a mansion atop the existing foundation footprint.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and St. Johns River Water Management District are also involved. Behl-Hill estimated house-razing planning could take six months.
"Accessibility is the single biggest issue," said Jake Wise of Construction Engineering Group, who is helping plan the demolition. "We're looking at innovative ways of getting equipment over there, such as a barge."
In February, a code enforcement special magistrate ordered owners to secure the dilapidated home's missing windows, perform septic-system repairs and post "No Trespassing" signs. Wise said these activities were done.
Wise said the Dragon Point boathouse and swimming pool remain in good structural shape. However, he called the mansion "just basically a shell of a building," and a pool of murky rainwater has formed near the fireplace inside the great room.
He said surveying work will occur in the coming weeks. The future owner will handle specific site improvements such as seawall repair, vegetation removal and boat ramp upgrades.
Save Dragon Point, a nonprofit organization founded in May by Cocoa Beach resident Don Scroggs, is dedicated to rebuilding Annie. The fledgling group's Facebook page has more than 2,400 fans, and organizational meetings have occurred at Squid Lips Grill in Eau Gallie.
Private Bank Minnesota has no agreement with Save Dragon Point, Repperger said, and the property has attracted "a number of inquiries" from potential buyers. He said the future landowner will decide whether to rebuild Annie at the site.
The 100-foot concrete monster collapsed during an August 2002 storm.
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