The Colony was first constructed in 1952 by Sarasota developer Herb Field, which was then a collection of charming beach cottages and a popular restaurant and bar. It was 1967 and Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber, an orthodontist from Buffalo, New York, was preparing to fly out to St. Louis to speak at an orthodontics conference. His first wife had been staying at Longboat Key with friends at the time. Arriving at the Colony resort, Klauber quickly fell in love with the beautiful, yet largely undeveloped island. Within a year of his visit, Klauber and his family moved to Longboat Key. By 1969, he had purchased the Colony resort along with a business partner for $3.5 million, turning it into the first “tennis-centric resort” in America.
The way Colony Beach and Tennis Resort rooms were rented out worked pretty well with Klauber concept the resort was one of the first to adopt what we know now as the timeshare model. Owners were viewed as investors and were given 30 days a year to use their units, the rest of the time when owners weren’t staying there the units would be rented out just like how a traditional hotel.
From 1970s and into the 1990s this resort became an icon of the city attracting hundreds of thousands of guests including notable celebrities and figures like Jimmy Carter Burt Reynolds Al Gore and Denzel Washington. Reviews and stories of guests staying at Colony Beach and Tennis Resort claiming that this Resort had a type of atmosphere that 4most hotels couldn’t replicate. It had a great bar with a multitude of different massage and body salon where you can get facials, hair and nail treatments
Colony Beach and Tennis Resort problems began emerging after the 2004 hurricane season as repair costs began to quickly add up since pretty much all of the buildings are made of wood. Maintenance expenses were becoming a serious issue and on top of the 2006 housing crisis finances were falling. Klauber decided the best option was to renovate the property but he needed $12 million to do it. Klauber was seeking $50,000 per units paid by the owners to bring the resort back up to standards. The owners of units voted against it. And a group of angry owners banded together took over the board in 2007.
During this time owner Andy Adams who had three units in the tower was requesting an extension to his thirty days a year and the ability to tear down the walls separating his three units and combining them. Since this was in violation of their contract Klauber refused to allow it. Adams’s ultimately joined and became the president of the association of unit owners and began actively lobbying against Klauber and the resorts management. The association that he joined which oversaw most of the unit’s in the resort stated that they would refuse to pay the repair costs. Repair costs continue to rise as to the tension between Klauber and the condo association.
This ultimately resulted in lawsuits being filed and along with the recession Klauber ability to keep the resort operating was deteriorating. In 2007 Klauber alleged the condo association owed 14 million dollars in repair costs as a federal bankruptcy judge denied the request the resort filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, which eventually turned into chapter 7 in 2010 . On the 11th of August 2010 the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort officially closed. Access to the units that weren’t owned by Klauber were shut off as they were deemed uninhabitable which is likely why the majority of the resort is exactly the way it was left in 2010. The demolition of the buildings on their property took place in 2018.