Mike and Lizzie Thrasher discovered the 100-year-old Island City of Anna Maria in 2005 on a vacation. Since then they have spent most of the past five years developing seven luxury vacation villas under the Pineapplefish name. They have also begun to invest in Pine Avenue – ‘Main Street’ for Anna Maria City, where they are looking to restore and renew some of the historic island cottages and group them into a Green Village.
The first project was the revival of Beach Bums, an Island Rental store that makes bikes, kayaks and other equipment available to the local population and holidaymakers. After an investment of $150,000, they worked with two local women, Lauren Sato and Diane Havelka, to take over the business.
The second project, to revive the Anna Maria General Store, began earlier this year. Working with local people to restore the building and renew the business - the only independent grocery store on Anna Maria - the store has undergone a transformation. The plan here is to pass it over later in the year to Brian Seymour, an Island local and the Store Manager.
This kind of ‘revive, restore and create local businesses’ has attracted interest from two local people, who would like to develop an Island Microbrewery and Island Kitchen (bakery, Italian foods) elsewhere in the City. But the most challenging development is yet to come.
Mike and Lizzie own a further 5 plots on Pine Avenue, among them an empty overgrown plot, a derelict house, and a warehouse. Working with locals, including Sissy Quinn of the Island Preservation Society and Betty Yanger of the Anna Maria Historical Society, their vision is to utilise these plots to:
* Showcase ‘Old’ Florida, reviving derelict buildings and giving them a new life.
The name of this vision is The Anna Maria Historic Green Village; over 8,000 square foot of buildings across four lots, including 3 historic buildings, one of which is a 1935 Sears Catalog cottage and the remainder built in 1911 and 1915.
The design and style of the Anna Maria Historic Village Green will mirror the historic buildings in both scale and styling but will all be subject to some modern improvements, most notably solar and ground heat pumps, so that the complete development will be powered by green electricity.
The Anna Maria Historic Green Village is likely to be home to a medical centre, a gallery, other professional services, retail and café space as well as beautiful gardens for the public to enjoy.
Mike and Lizzie are working with the local community to ensure that they deliver what Islanders want. So far, the reaction has been positive. Betty Yanger, Director of the Anna Maria Historical Society said, "We at the AMI Historical Society are dedicated to preserving and celebrating Anna Maria’s living past. It is with a great deal of enthusiasm that we look forward to these efforts at properly reinvigorating and utilizing some of our most precious historic cottages."
Mike is a British Designer and Lizzie is a Green Entrepreneur. Together they created the Organix Children’s food company a hugely successful enterprise since 1992, and a key driver in the transformation of children’s food in the UK. Most notably, Lizzie was one of the inspirations behind Jamie Oliver’s school dinner campaign. "We are so passionate about Anna Maria Island and the wonderful community here. We are dedicated to creating useful businesses, in appealing buildings, run by green energy, with an end vision to pass them onto the local people here to own and run. We would like to see Anna Maria work for everyone".
Pineapplefish is a collection of 7 luxury villas (Honeyfish, Limefish, Cherryfish, Chillifish, Plumfish, Lemonfish and Berryfish) on Anna Maria Island, re-developed by British couple Mike and Lizzie Thrasher. Each home is unique, luxurious and stylish, and has been chosen for their fantastic, often waterfront locations with breathtaking views. To view all properties, please visit www.pineapplefish.com
Anna Maria Island is an undiscovered and unspoiled part of Florida, in Florida’s Gulf Islands. With seven miles of exquisite white sand, temperatures averaging 84F/26C, Anna Mara Island, is a quiet Florida beach resort, with beautiful wildlife, unhurried tropical living and a lively soul. The Island has its own ‘old-Florida-charm’, with low-rise houses, tropical plantings, quirky shops and world class dining, with many describing it as the Real Florida.
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Tel: +44 1202 486245