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Saturday, Nov 29, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Dade City farm redefines island life


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— Sprawling and picturesque, Sheik Island Farm is surrounded by a pair of lakes where otters have been spotted and hills that are among some of Florida’s highest points.

A first-class equestrian facility off Fort King Road, southwest of Dade City, the land includes large riding fields and fenced pastures, a couple of houses, a large barn with 16 stalls and a smaller barn with eight stalls.

When enough rain falls, the water of Lake Pasadena and Buddy Lake surround the property to form a temporary island.

Owners Kimberly Wilson, who has competed in horse-jumping competitions, and her father, Rick Michaels, a Tampa businessman and avid fox hunter, attempted to sell the property in 2008, when they were asking about $6.5 million.

Now, the family is more aggressively marketing Sheik Island Farm, and they’ve dropped the asking price by $2 million.

“I think $4.5 million is very realistic,” said Wilson, whose husband, John, has played professional polo. “You can’t replace what’s out there for that price. It’s just about finding the right buyer for the property.”

Also an agent with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Wilson said that the property could be sold as a whole, or divided.

Both houses on the property overlook Buddy Lake. A ranch-style house built in 1997 is 2,154 square feet, featuring three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a screened lanai and pool. The other, a cottage-style house, was built in 1941 and fully renovated in 1998. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a screened back porch.

The surrounding woods are filled with bobcats, coyotes, foxes and other wildlife.

“It’s a unique location with unique topography,” said Michaels, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Communications Equity Associates in Tampa. “You’re on the lake and you’re surrounded by hills. It has unusual beauty.”

The equestrian facilities were designed by Blackburn Architects, a Washington company that Michaels described as a leader in the field.

The oversized stalls include tack rooms, indoor washrooms, separate vented storage rooms, and locker rooms, among other amenities.

The roughly 350-acre property has been home to dozens of breeding horses, show horses and hunting horses since Wilson and Michaels started building the equestrian facilities in 1998.

Wilson and Michaels also touted the location, as the farms are a relatively short distance from equestrian-related events and facilities in Dade City, Ocala, Orlando, Tampa and Sarasota.

“You put this in Ocala or Wellington and the prices would increase dramatically,” Wilson said. “It’s going to take someone with a serious interest in horses, whether it’s professional or personal. We’re close to international airports in Tampa and Orlando, and the beach is close by. You’ve got easy access to the horse-show circuit.”

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