Credits: Much of this information was taken from the book, “The Tri-Par Story” by Loren A. Disbrow and Ruth & Charles Becker
The concept of providing land at low cost for mobile homes to establish a community for retirees, was the idea of Sydney Alder who graduated from Miami Law School in 1953. He established a corporation known as T.E. Incorporated. That corporation developed the first mobile home park in which owners would purchase the property upon which their homes were located. That park was Trailer Estates, in Bradenton, Florida.
Trailer Estates was amazingly successful when sales began in 1955. In 1959 a publicly held corporation named Mobilife Corporation with Sydney Adler as President, purchased the stock of T.E. Incorporated. Mobilife developed five such communities, all with T and E in their names:
Trailer Estates, Bradenton, Florida
Tri-Par Estates, Sarasota, Florida
Tucson Estates, Tucson, Arizona
Tidevue Estates, Ellenton, Florida
Tri-Palms Estates, California
To begin development of Tri-Par Estates, Mobilife Corp. purchased 160 acres of land in 1960. The land on the north side of the drainage canal was covered with trees and undergrowth that had never been cleared. The land south of the canal had been partially cleared and planted with pineapple until a heavy frost in 1917 ended the venture.
This subdivision was named Tri-Par Estates In keeping with the developers desire to include the initials T and E in the name, and because the south border adjoined a Par 3 Golf Course. In keeping with the golf theme all streets were named after various well-known United States golf courses.
Clearing was started on the north side the year of purchase. The land was graded, streets excavated and FPL poles installed. Five wells were drilled to provide water. Sewer lines and TV cable were installed. Work was started on the clubhouse, pool, shuffleboard, laundromat, picnic area and horseshoe courts. To provide for the public facilities, 7.1 acres at the corner of Tri-Par Dive and Presidio Street were dedicated as Common Property.
Design for the streets was an early indication of the forward thinking that went into the development of Tri-Par Estates. Tri-Par Drive and Presidio Street were provided a 60 foot right of way, and other residential streets a 50 foot right of way. Large by any comparison for subdivisions, and especially for a mobile home park. To provide both maximum view and privacy, lots were platted in a herringbone pattern with a 60 degree angle to the street. Deed restrictions were developed to control location of homes on lots and care for the lots.
Development and sales happened quickly, as a census of Tri-Par Estates listed 105 residents living on 61 lots as of January 29, 1962. The bridge over the canal was completed by early 1962 and Tri-Par Drive extended to 301. Sections 1 through 6 were completed at that time in 1962. Sections 7, 8 and 9 were developed later, with the final Section 9 opened in 1973.
In 1964 the Evangelical Covenant Church of Tri-Par Estates was established and incorporated with the State of Florida.
Also in 1964 the ownership of Tri-Par changed. The Detroiter Mobil Homes Corporation acquired Mobilife Corporation and its five parks. A few months later Tri-Par Estates and Trailer Estates were purchased by new owners called the Tri-Par Development Corporation. This ownership continued for about six years. In 1971 Tri-Par Estates was purchased by Tri-Par Associates. They also purchased land across DeSoto Road to develop a Holiday Inn Trav-L-Park. This new owner was only interested in making profit and eliminated some of the benefits for residents and allowed maintenance of facilities to deteriorate. Many residents put their maintenance fees into an escrow account instead of paying to the owner. There was much friction between Tri-Par residents and the owners of the park. About 1974 Tri-Par residents started seriously considering purchasing the park.
After many meetings and negotiations, in July 1978 a strong majority approved the purchase and becoming a Park & Recreation District. The price for the common facilities was $688,500, plus costs and fees. A 20 year loan of $700,000 was taken from Gulf Coast National Bank. Closing of the sale was completed September 29, 1978.
Airport issues were a problem at Tri-Par from the beginning due to noise and sooty dirt from low flying airplanes. Tri-Par joined with some other residential developments in efforts to get the airport moved to another location, but these were unsuccessful. In another attempt for a solution, the airport offered to purchase all Tri-Par properties at market value plus an allowance for costs to move to another location, but this was strongly rejected by a vote of Tri-par residents. In 1992 the airport began buying homes in the highest noise area near the DeSoto Road entrance, purchasing a total of 47 lots and removed the structures. In January, 2004, Tri-Par Estates purchased these vacant lots from the Airport Authority for $40,000, with an agreement that the land be used only for recreational purposes with no commercial or residential uses permitted. This explains the vacant areas along Broadmoor Street and the north end of other streets in that area.
In the late 1990’s the Airport Authority also implemented an Easement Acquisition Program, called an “Avigation” easement. For a cash payment of $2,400 many owners in eligible areas accepted this offer for a deed-recorded perpetual right-of-way for aircraft above their property. This explains the entry on many of our deeds, “SUBJ TO RIGHT OF FLIGHT ESMT TO SARASOTA MANATEE AIRPORT AUTHORITY”
The purchasing of properties and the Avigation easements, plus changes in aircraft and flight patterns has resolved the complaints and relations with the airport. Many residents now appreciate having convenient access to a local airport.
Following approval by property owners, Tri-Par Estates became an “Older Persons Community” on June 13, 1994, when Attorney Domber recorded the documents in the official records of Sarasota County. The effective date of the present deed restrictions was January 1, 2000, to be effective for a period of 30 years. An amendment in 2006 added Paragraph 22, and another Amendment in 2019 added Amendment 23.
Summarized by Galen Swope – May, 2015; Updated 10/27/2019