Locals Attempt to Buy $14M Island by Chipping In $1K Each

Crowdfunding group wants to share local haunt nicknamed 'Beer Can Island'
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2024 2:40 PM CDT
Have $1K Lying Around? Chip In to Buy a $14M Florida Island
Beer Can Island is located off the coast of Tampa Bay, Florida.   (Russell Loomis)

A privately owned island off Tampa Bay is up for sale, and though the going price is $14 million, a group is trying to crowdfund joint ownership with a $1,000 buy-in price. According to News 6, the nine-acre Pine Key on Paradise Island is a manmade island created by dredging in the 1940s, which became known to locals as Beer Can Island thanks to the longstanding tradition of boaters partying there. While ownership has changed hands over the years, it was bought in 2017 by a group of friends who came in with a vision. Co-owner Russell Loomis told News 6 he was inspired by floating restaurants and tiki bars he saw while living in South America.

"I thought to myself, 'Why don't we have anything like that in the United States?' And so I wanted to build some like that," he said. The owners cleaned up the island (including "hundreds" of beer bottles and cans) and added features like a waterslide as well as portable bathrooms and a tiki bar. Loomis said living 90 minutes away makes managing it hard, and after damage last year from Hurricane Idalia, hefty investments are needed. "If I had an extra $10 million to dump into it, I would beautify the place even more, but I just don't have the resources for it."

While the island's website says multiple offers have been made to purchase Pine Key, they are still taking offers. Cue Nick Lipidarov from a group called Children of Faith, who is organizing the community purchase over at Save Beer Can Island. The site says the $1,000 pledges will be placed in escrow until time of purchase, if it happens, and at the time of publication, there were nearly 500 pledges. Ownership includes voting rights on the island's future, including the possibility of public access. "I don't think too many people are gonna go out and purchase an island, so there's an opportunity for all of us to own an island together, which is a pretty neat opportunity," Lipidarov tells News 6. (Three people were recently rescued from a remote atoll thanks to their "ingenuity.")

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