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They bought Florida party destination 'Beer Can Island' for $63k, now it's selling for $14M: See photos

Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.

After six months of tracking down the owner of a small Tampa Bay island, Russell Loomis bought the marooned 9 acres for $63,500 in December 2017. Little did he know, it was an infamous party destination.

"I had no idea how popular this place was with the boating community," Loomis told USA TODAY in an interview. "Come early February, early March...every weekend or every nice weather day the island was completely surrounded by hundreds of boats and hundreds of people up on the island."

The spot goes by many names Pine Key and Paradise Island, but most popularly by Beer Can Island.

Loomis pooled money with some friends including Cole Weaver with the hopes of operating a floating tiki bar off its shores. But over the last six years, they've turned it into much more.

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But now, they're closing in on a deal to pass the island and its visitors to the next owners.

"We're all entrepreneurs and we've done what we could do with the island," Weaver said, rattling off the weddings, concerts and food and beverage services they brought to the island. "It's just time for us to pass the torch to somebody who can come in and make the island bigger."

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Tiki hut built by members of the Seminole Tribe at Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, which was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Tiki hut built by members of the Seminole Tribe at Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, which was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Boats float near an island in Tampa Bay that has been a popular boating destination for decades. Pine Key, also known as Beer Can Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Boats float near an island in Tampa Bay that has been a popular boating destination for decades. Pine Key, also known as Beer Can Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.

Beer Can Island has been a boat spot for seven generations

Weaver said when they first bought the island, he camped out there for 100 days straight helping out with the bar, socializing with the onslaught of visitors and growing a big "Cast Away" beard in the meantime.

"I just (would) meet interesting people all day, hang out, party with them all day and then sunset comes around and they disappear and I'm on an island all by myself walking around like, did that really happen?" Weaver said.

Owners Russell Loomis and Cole Weaver said they met lots of interesting people at this island. Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Owners Russell Loomis and Cole Weaver said they met lots of interesting people at this island. Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.

He remembers most fondly the variety of people the island attracted, including professional athletes, politicians and people whose families had been going there for up to seven generations.

Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024. Owner Cole Weaver said their revitalized the island to be able to host weddings and events.
Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024. Owner Cole Weaver said their revitalized the island to be able to host weddings and events.

Owners in talks with potential buyers

Loomis said they set up a membership system to allow people to purchase liquor from their bar. The memberships range from $9 a month to $499 for three years, and Loomis said they ended up with approximately 4,500 members. They closed Beer Can Island to the public in February of this year and listed it for $14.2 million.

Officials have raised concerns about emergency accessibility on the island, local outlets reported, and a young man drowned while visiting the island in 2023.

"Unfortunately, those things can happen anywhere," Loomis said, adding that the island is safer with the staff who were trained in providing aid than if it was left uninhabited with the flow of visitors. He also said the island has devolved into "lawlessness" since they stopped operating.

Loomis said they are exploring two different potential deals: one from a private buyer and another from someone who hopes to buy it on behalf of the community with $1,000 pledges from members going into an Escrow account.

"It's been a really fun project," Loomis said, but he also expressed he is ready to move onto his next endeavor.

Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024. The owners built the bar on it.
Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024. The owners built the bar on it.
Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.
Pine Key, also known as Beer Island, was listed for $14.2 million in February, 2024.

Weaver said that some people are worried it will fall into the wrong hands and may not be available to the public in the future, but he hopes it be expanded and improved on.

"There's a lot of good potential still with the future of this place," Weaver said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Beer Can Island, popular boating and party spot, for sale: See photos