(Source: www.forbes.com)

Jimmy Buffett’s classic hit “Margaritaville” is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The song debuted on the 1977 “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” album and quickly took on a life of its own, becoming a state of mind and way of life rooted in fun and escapism for those “growing older, but not up”.

The song about life in this euphoric place where days are wasted away nibblin’ on sponge cake and watchin’ the sun bake has also morphed into a global lifestyle brand that currently has more than $4.8 billion in the development pipeline and sees $1.5 billion in annual system-wide sales. This year, Margaritaville Holdings announced a partnership with Minto Communities to develop Latitude Margaritaville, new active adult communities for those “55 and better”, including the $1 billion Daytona Beach, Florida location and a second in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  

The brand that evolved from the song began in 1985 with the opening of a string of Margaritaville-themed stores and restaurants, the first of which was a store in Key West, Florida, that was followed in 1987 with the first Margaritaville Café nearby. Over the course of the next two decades, several more of each opened throughout Florida, New Orleans and California.  

The brand currently contains 50 licensed categories that include 10 destination resorts across the Southeast United States and the Caribbean with more than 20 additional locations in active development, four gaming locations, apparel and footwear for men and women, home décor items and more than 60 restaurants, including Margaritaville Restaurant, the award-winning JWB Prime Steak and Seafood, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill and LandShark Bar & Grill. In total, more than 21 million travelers visit a Margaritaville destination each year.  

“Since I wrote the song 40 years ago, Margaritaville has affected just about everything we’ve done,” said Jimmy Buffett. “From getting me on the radio first, to the evolution of the brand in so many areas that we couldn’t possibly conceive of in the beginning.” 

Buffett expanded out in 2005 with a national radio station, Radio Margaritaville on Sirius XM Radio, that averages 3 million unique listeners a week. And, in 2007 LandShark Lager debuted in Florida as Margaritaville Brewing Company, bringing Margaritaville-inspired beer, which is projected to deliver 3.6 million cases in the U.S. and 250,000 in Canada this year. Belize, a new launch, is projected to deliver 40,000 cases. In addition, there are home frozen concoction-makers and beverages, including Island Ice Tea, tequilas and rums.

By 2010, the first Margaritaville Hotel opened in Pensacola Beach, FL, and the next year saw the first Margaritaville Casino open in the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. Then, in 2013, the 349-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in South Florida broke ground and in 2015 Margaritaville announced the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, a $750 million development. Additionally, in 2015, the $100 million Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham opened in St. Thomas, USVI, with a second location that same year in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico, offering 500 acres of island pleasures.

Currently, Margaritaville Holdings and Driftwood Acquisitions & Development are rebranding two high-profile resorts in the U.S. and Costa Rica. Tan-Tar-A Resort is a 500-room lakefront property spread across 1,150 miles of shoreline on Lake of the Ozarks. Amenities include 27-holes of golf across two courses, a 103-slip marina, eight food and beverage venues, a full-service spa and salon, a fitness center, horseback and pony riding, numerous sports facilities including tennis, basketball and beach volleyball courts. Indoor and outdoor pools are located throughout the property, as well as a 20,000 square-foot indoor waterpark and more than 91,000 square feet of event space. Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa in Guanacaste, Costa Rica offers 120 guest rooms and suites, along with a full range of activities for eco-tourists, families, couples and more located on the Blue Flag-certified ecological Flamingo Beach. And, the new Margaritaville Resort Orlando will feature 1,000 units including a mix of resort vacation homes, cottages, villas and timeshare units, which will open its doors in late 2018.

Also under construction is One Particular Harbour Marina and Luxury Residences at Harbour Isle, which is located on a 220-acre private island with 132 luxury residences on Anna Maria Sound directly across from Anna Maria Island. This project is slated for completion spring 2018 and move-in ready homes are now available.

Rendering by The McBride Company.

Recent endeavors outside real estate include the Margaritaville College Ambassador Program, which began last year and had 250 total college ambassadors on 104 campuses across the U.S. and Canada. And, Margaritaville Sports & Recreation had its first-ever yoga retreat in July at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in South Florida.

Buffett, 70, was reported to have a net worth of $550 million as of 2016 and was ranked No. 13 on FORBES first-ever list of America’s Wealthiest Celebrities. His 2016 earnings alone total an approximate $40.5 million. The singer, songwriter, bestselling author and business tycoon remains true to his loyal and like-minded fans.

“I love that as successful as we’ve become, the basic principle that I learned on Bourbon Street, of having fun and engaging with fans, has always been a focus,” Buffett said. “I love Margaritaville, the entire idea of it.”

More Info: www.forbes.com

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