Jumbolair Hits the Market for $10.5m
Bring your Boeing! A mile of road can take you to a few places, but a mile of runway can take you anywhere in the world. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a very special asset, which includes the longest private runway in the United States. Able to accommodate aircraft as large as a Boeing 737, this exclusive property offers the ability to quickly and privately maximize the utility of your aircraft for business and personal travel. Included in this offering are 550 acres, Runway 17FL, Turf Runway 18/36, the former Muriel Vanderbilt Mansion and Conference Center, (17) developed two to three acre estate lots with direct runway access, an 88,730+sf warehouse complex and 30+ income producing assets consisting of single family residential homes, apartments, mobile homes, hangars and pasture.
Originally the equestrian mansion home of American socialite Muriel Vanderbilt, the property was later acquired by entrepreneur Arthur Jones, founder of Nautilus exercise machines. Jones went on to build the longest private paved runway (7,550’+) in the country at www.jumbolair.com, which accommodated his personal inventory of private planes. Next to the runway, he also built a 88,000sf warehouse complex, which he used to build the MedX corporation. In 1984, Jones flew his Boeing 707 from Jumbolair to Zimbabwe and back to rescue 63 baby elephants rescue mission caught the attention of the national media and was featured on ABC’s 20/20 featured. In 1989, the Jones’ divorced and Terri eventually changed the direction of the property to become Jumbolair Aviation Estates, an exclusive aviation community which included the longest (7,550′) private paved runway in the United States and 38 residential lots. There are ten large private homes in the Estates today.
In 1980, businessman Arthur Jones, inventor of the Nautilus brand of exercise equipment and 1983 Forbes 400 member, purchased the property and took it in a different direction. Jones added on 450 surrounding acres, built a $6,000,000 runway and renamed the property Jumbolair. “Jumbo” is an African word for elephant and “lair” refers to an animal den. Together with his wife Terri, the Jones' amassed a spectacular collection of exotic animals which included over 90 elephants, three white rhinos, a four hundred pound gorilla named Mickey, and thousands of crocodiles including Gomek, a legendary 18-foot, 2,000-pounder. In 1984, Jones flew his Boeing 707 from Jumbolair to Zimbabwe and back to rescue 63 baby elephants. The rescue mission caught the attention of the national media and was featured on ABC's 20/20 featured.
In 1989, the Jones' divorced and Terri eventually changed the direction of the property to include Jumbolair Aviation Estates, an exclusive aviation community which included the longest (7,550') private paved runway in the United States and 38 residential lots. There are ten large private homes in the Estates today.
In 2003, a well known celebrity with a passion for aviation purchased a 20 acre parcel and built a beautiful home which was featured in the November 2005 Architectural Digest.
Ten years later in 2013, businessman Frank Merschman, the founder and former CEO of Big Top Manufacturing, purchased Jumbolair. Merschman later shutdown the bed and breakfast, conference, and wedding venue businesses, which were being run from the Vanderbilt mansion, and took the remaining residential lots off the market. He built a large home and hangar for his jet and has enjoyed the property for his private use. With a love for speed machines, Merschman has also hosted the "Wanna Go Fast" event on the runway for the past several years, where private owners of Lamborghinis, McClarens, Ferraris, etc. pay to drive top speeds down the runway.
Although originally owned by Muriel Vanderbilt Adams, the legend of Jumbolair really began with the eccentricity of Arthur Jones. Jumbolair has been featured on 20/20, Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, and NBC Nightly News and written about in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Fast Company, Business Insider, and Florida Trend Magazine.
The Jumbolair offering is truly a unique opportunity to own a rare and exclusive piece of Florida real estate. The long, private runway capable of landing a Boeing 747, the Vanderbilt mansion, its location in the heart of thoroughbred horse racing county, the 88,000sf manufacturing/warehouse complex, and the many additional acres included, really create a world of opportunity for a broad range of buyers. I tend to think whoever buys Jumbolair will be one or a combination of the following:
1.) A high net worth individual with large aircraft seeking privacy and security who could easily build a large estate here, especially someone with a passion for horses.
2.) An entrepreneur with a passion for aviation who could utilize the warehouse complex for their business and enjoy a Florida residence.
3.) A real estate developer interested in expanding the property as an exclusive aviation community.
4.) An aviation related business which could utilize both the runway and warehouse complex.
While the most unique feature of this property is its long private and paved runway, it is what's beyond the runway that makes it so special. Full details of the offering may be found at www.bartowmcdonald.com.