Canadian investor buys 18,000 acres in Levy County
July 25, 2011
Source: Fred Hiers
A Canadian investor has purchased approximately 18,000 acres in central Levy County, along with 7,376 acres along Lake Kerr in the Ocala National Forest.
While the name on the deed is Mike Rogers, of Ontario, Canada, records indicate — and those familiar with the purchase believe — that Rogers' land purchase is somehow connected to wealthy horseman and industrialist Frank Stronach, who owns a large horse farm near Williston.
Records show Rogers bought the land north of Lake Kerr for $13,276,800, or $1,800 per acre. The property was purchased under the corporate name of Plum Springs LLC.
Rogers, who is listed in Florida Division of Corporations records as manager/member of Plum Springs, said he is the sole owner of the land and has no financial partners.
But Rogers' connection to Stronach is clear: He works as Stronach's farm manager at Adena Springs North in Ontario.
Rogers also is listed as the manager/member of Sleepy Creek Lands LLC, which purchased about 5,500 acres south of the Plum Creek land in July 2010 for $9.9 million. The mailing address of Sleepy Creek is Magna Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Stronach's Magna International.
Magna International is a major automotive supplier that was founded and, until recently, controlled by Stronach.
The 78-year-old Stronach is a multiple Eclipse Award-winning owner and breeder, and owner of the Adena Springs breeding and racing operations, which includes his 3,300-acre farm in Williston and farms in Kentucky and Canada.
He also owns Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California, Gulfstream Park in Florida and a majority stake in the Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Stronach is suddenly lush with cash after giving up control of Magna International, the company he founded. The deal netted Stronach nearly $1 billion.
Plum Springs LLC bought the approximately 18,000 acres in Levy County this month, paying $26.7 million.
The Marion County land is zoned for agricultural use but would allow one home per 10 acres. The Levy County land also is zoned for agricultural use.
"I'm thinking we might have a cattle business, but we'll keep it agricultural … and some of the timber will be cut," Rogers said. "I'm going to leave it just as it is for now."
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