South Seas Island Resort sold, new owners “plan to elevate the guest experience"
CAPTIVA — South Seas Island Resort, a historic Florida tourist destination dating back to 1946, has been sold to a group of companies with mostly local ties for an undisclosed amount.
The three companies — Timbers Co., Wheelock Street Capital and The Ronto Group — that bought the 330-acre resort come from three different, yet similar worlds, and are uniquely positioned to bring some changes to the 75-year-old property.
Boston-based Wheelock, a private real estate investment firm, provided the capital for the purchase. Winter Park-based Timbers, a resort company and Naples-based Ronto, a real estate developer, will manage and develop it.
According to a statement issued by the companies, the three “plan to elevate the guest experience with expanded services and amenities while working on future plans to reimagine and restore the famed South Seas Island Resort to its original grandeur.”
Anthony Solomon, Ronto’s owner, says it’s too early to share details of what changes are coming, but says there are plans for capital improvements and upgrades to the property. And, he says, there will be increased staffing and staff training to improve the customer experience.
Solomon declined to disclose the sales price.
South Seas Island Resort takes up about a third of the northern tip of Captiva Island. The property includes hotels, condominiums and homes and sits on 2.5 miles of beaches and counts golf, waterfront dining, shopping and a full-service spa among its offerings.
According to The Sanibel Capitva Guide’s history of the resort, Nebraska-born banker Clarence Chadwick established a key lime plantation in 1923, buying property from William Langley “Tobe” Bryan and George Washington Carter. The two men were homesteaders on Captiva, moving onto the island in the late 1890s.
The property was sold to Chadwick two years after a devastating hurricane hit the island.
Chadwick moved to Fort Myers in 1942, leaving the property to family members who were the first to rent to people vacationing in Florida.
The property went through several ownership groups over the decades. The most recent owner was The Blackstone Group, which bought the property in 2006, two years after another hurricane, Hurricane Charley.