This 16-acre peninsula near Stuart, surrounded by the St. Lucie River and the Okeechobee Waterway, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder Thursday at 2 p.m. on a location at the Blue Water Way access.
Could this be your special place?
16-acre Cooley’s Island will go to the highest bidder
BY KATE GRUSICH
For a number of years, Cooley’s Island has been a tranquil picnic spot for a now retired Indian County physician and his family.
But the 16-acre Stuart waterfront peninsula – between the Okeechobee Waterway and the South Fork of the St. Lucie River – will be up for grabs at a Thursday auction. And the pristine land is expected to draw the interest of a number of bidders, both local and international.
“It’s one of the most secluded pieces of property in the county,” said auctioneer Tim Hoza of Stuart-based Karlin Daniel & Associates. “It’s truly one of the most unique pieces of property I’ve sold.”
Little is known about the history of the untouched peninsula – including where it got its name.
“Perhaps the land was once owned by someone named Cooley,” said local historian Sandra Thurlow. “It is very close to the Cookie Delaplane property that was controversial because of the African Queen fiasco with the Martin County Land Trust.”
Cooley’s Island is just south of the 51.3 acre Delaplane site, riverfront property once thought to be the backdrop for the movie “The African Queen,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. That parcel garnered headlines a few years ago after the filming claims were found to be unproven.
Although Cooley’s past is unclear, Hoza said the land was platted back in the early 1900s.
The unspoiled space features about 3,700 feet of deep waterfront , along with draping canopies of tropical oaks, figs and imperial and cabbage palms.
Hoza said the property owner, listed in public records as the William E. Wild Trust of Vero Beach, thinks an auction will provide the best results. Wild could not be reached for comment.
The 16-acre property is divided into three parcels, but will be sold as one tract. According to property records, the land was recently assessed at about $903,600.
Hoza said future use might include the construction of a secluded retreat or compound.
“I don’t believe it will ever be high-density,” he said. “This is a gem; it’s truly one of a kind, I suspect this is how Sewall’s Point looked early on.”