Someone recently bought the Layby Hotel Resort on Holmes Beach for $8.825 million, making it one of the largest property sales on Anna Maria Island.
Buyer and seller were corporations, but the word on the street was that the purchase was for country music superstars Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood.
Judie Berger, listing agent for the property with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Sarasota, said the buyer and the seller were both corporate entities and that she could not confirm whether the transaction was for the country music stars.
“I did not meet the client. ... It’s a great piece of property,” she said.
Brooks is no stranger to the Bradenton area.
Brooks grew up idolizing Roberto Clemente and as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. He visited Bradenton and the Pirates during spring training earlier this year and told mlb.com that the Pirates are first in his heart.
In a letter to the editor published in the Bradenton Herald in February, Jack Gjeldum wrote that he had met Brooks at Pirate City.
“On Saturday, we were able to speak with him, and told him that we have two handicapped nephews in St. Petersburg, who are his biggest fans,” Gjeldum said.
“With the help of a Pirates security employee, we were able to have a private session with Garth, including some precious photos. Garth was incredibly kind and generous with his time. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget,” Gjeldum said.
Ed Chiles, local restaurateur and community leader, said he, too, knew that the country power couple had been in town about six months ago and hopes the rumors are true about them purchasing property.
“(Brooks) is a real neat guy. Then I heard something about Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman being in town,” Chiles said.
The Laybe Hotel Resort sits on nearly two acres of beachfront and has 9,770 square feet of space under roof, according to the Manatee County Property Appraiser website.
The seller was Southern Region Industry Realtor Company, and apparently made the property available for railroad employees. The realtor association has not identified the buyer.
Jason Sato, co-owner of Sato Real Estate, is no stranger to big real estate transactions on Anna Maria Island.
Even though he was not involved in the sale, he was impressed by the size of the transaction.
“This one is up there. It’s a big one,” Sato said. “Who knows, if it was Garth and Trisha, I’m sure the sale wouldn’t be in their names.”