There has been a lot of publicity about the apparently "done deal" concerning the sale of South Florida’s most illustrious trailer park, namely Briny Breezes.  The idea that people would get $US1,000,000 for a trailer has a lot of mobile home dwellers envious.

But there are some important economic forces behind his as well that deserve mention.

The first is the obvious one: oceanfront property in Palm Beach County is expensive.  The ability to acquire 43 acres of land spreading from the ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway is one that doesn’t come along very often.  Donald Trump’s estate is illustrious in part because it’s literally "Mar-a-Lago" (from the lake to the ocean.)

As I understand it, the prospective developers want to put high rise development in Briny Breezes; otherwise, the price couldn’t be justified.  And this leads to the next factor that worked in favour of Briny Breezes’ inhabitants: many of the oceanfront communities, such as Palm Beach and neighbouring Ocean Ridge–restrict high rise development.  If this were not the case, the coast from the South Beach to Jupiter and beyond would be one solid concrete wall.  This is what basically happened to Highland Beach (between Boca Raton and Delray Beach) in the 1970’s; developers were able to exert enough influence to break up the single family dwellings and build high rises.

Since Briny Breezes is a municipality in its own right, it will be a lot simpler to authorise high rise development without having to worry about the neighbours voting it down.  Thus, Briny Breezes is valuable not only as a tract of oceanfront land but also as a free-standing municipality.

I think that the passing of a place such as Briny Breezes–which I passed through frequently going up and down A-1-A–is a sad passing of a South Florida institution which was decidedly different from the world around it.  But, as Carl Hiassen whines about frequently, development money talkes loudly in South Florida, which is one reason why it isn’t the paradise it used to be.