The Detroit muscle is noticeably lighter in the parking lot at Dearborn Towers.
The note giving 30 days' notice came June 1, tacked to the door of each of the units still inhabited at the 88-unit complex on Island Estates.
It hit Donna Dennis like a punch in the gut.
“Everytime I said goodbye, it felt like little pieces of my heart were breaking,” Dennis said.
A letter posted on the community bulletin board in March said residents would have 90 days after the closing date to move out; however, a June 1 note said everyone must be out in 30 days.
In February, Dearborn hired a broker to represent the property for 30 days. The company, Franklin Street Real Estate, presented bids from IMG, Senior Living and Alchemy Management. All were more than the average of three appraisals, which valued the property at $5.975 million. The just market value is $5.84 million, according to Pinellas County records.
Alchemy Management purchased the 88-unit complex for $6.251 million from the city of Dearborn, who owned it for nearly 50 years. The city bought it years ago as a haven for retired Dearborn residents. Age and being from the Dearborn area were requisites for living there.
The deal closed May 21, according to Pinellas Property records. The price for each unit is $71,034. Alchemy Management has said it intends to turn the property into a condominium community.
When they got the notice, residents pulled together even tighter, posting Realtor contacts and names of places nearby that they might feel comfortable moving to.
Dennis said many of the residents are staying close by in Clearwater or Dunedin. She moved a short walk away to another place on Island Estates.
Some of the residents might come back after renovations are complete, Dennis said. But not her. Dennis said many of her friends feel like they were treated poorly by the management company and the City of Dearborn.
“We’re all just dealing and deciding what’s best for us at the moment,” Dennis said.
She said there is a garage sale planned for Friday and Saturday at what will soon be called Island Way Towers.
Dennis calls it the end of an era.
There were water aerobics classes. The picnics, barbecues and 5 p.m. cocktail parties together. They went to baseball games and on cruises as a group.
For the most part, they all came from the same part of Michigan, seeking the Florida lifestyle in their retired years. For many, this was their home and family.
“It has been a spectacular experience to be here and have the sense of community,” Dennis said.
Dennis, president of the 223 Club, a social club at the complex, said she is going to keep in touch with everyone through email.
“Life isn’t about a place,” Dennis said. “It’s about the people.”