Carlos Beruff among suitors for Citrus County land purchase
Carlos Beruff does a little shopping in Citrus County.

beruff sarasota amazon
Commissioners delayed the decision until next week.

A Sarasota developer who chaired the Constitution Revision Commission is the potential front-runner to buy the former Betz Farm property near Crystal River.

Citrus County Commissioners delayed a decision for two weeks to allow three competing developers to submit their final offers.

The county has two offers for the full ask of $5.5 million, and a third offer that came in Friday for $6 million from Carlos Beruff, managing partner of both Medallion Home and Charlie Michaels Inc., of Sarasota. 

Commissioners were leaning toward the Beruff offer during a meeting Tuesday but agreed on a delay when one of the developers complained he wasn’t given time to bring a counter offer.

Three decades ago, the Tamposi family, developers of the Villages of Citrus Hills in central Citrus County, planned a 1,500-home community called Betz Farm on 350 acres about two miles east of U.S. 19 just outside Crystal River city limits.

Even though Tamposi secured a Development of Regional Impact permit for Betz Farm and built a portion of Turkey Oak Drive, sidewalks and utilities, Betz Farm was never developed. In 2003, Tamposi swapped the land to the county in exchange for transportation impact fee credits.

Though various uses were discussed over time, Commissioners in 2017 declared the property surplus and put it up for sale. An October 2020 appraisal set the value at $5.385 million.

The site showed little serious interest until late March when Tampa developer Hamid Ashtari offered $5.5 million. 

Ashtari owns Cardinal Farms Groups LLC, 147 acres of vacant property on Cardinal Street near the Suncoast Parkway interchange. When the county approved an interchange management land-use district, it included Cardinal Farms.

Ashtari’s offer was on the Citrus County Commission’s April 12 agenda. The day before, however, the county received an identical $5.5 million offer from Stephen Tamposi, general partner of Lecanto Properties LLC. Without time to evaluate Tamposi’s offer, Commissioners delayed the matter for two weeks.

Both offers were set for a Tuesday vote. But, just as what happened two weeks prior, another offer came in. The county received Beruff’s $6 million offer on Friday.

Ashtari told Commissioners he would have countered with $6.2 million had County Administrator Randy Oliver given him that chance. Instead, he said he was told Commissioners would consider just the three offers.

Because the offers weren’t part of a sealed bid process, Ashtari said that gave both Tamposi and Beruff advantages since they could view his offer before making theirs.

Commissioners reluctantly agreed. They gave all three developers until Friday to submit their best and final offers, with a vote expected on May 3.

Beruff may not have much name recognition in Citrus County, but he’s known statewide politically. Beruff lost a Republican Primary challenge in 2016 to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. The next year, Gov. Rick Scott named him chairman of the Constitution Revision Commission.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


One comment

  • just sayin

    April 28, 2022 at 8:24 am

    I wish DeathSantis would stop being such a fascist so that people would stop moving here. 1,500 more homes?

Comments are closed.


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