Shad Khan will buy Neptune Beach's Seahorse Inn

Shad Khan's Iguana Investments has announced its intent to purchase the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn and the Lemon Bar in Neptune Beach. Here's what the future could hold for this landmark beachfront property.

Courtesy of Seahorse Oceanfront Inn.

The owners of the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn, Lemon Bar and nearby properties in Neptune Beach today announced they have entered into a letter of intent to sell the assets to Iguana Investments Florida, LLC. Iguana Investments is a special purpose entity formed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan focused on real estate development opportunities. This is the first property pursued outside of Downtown Jacksonville by Iguana, which has largely focused on projects in the Stadium District and nearby Shipyards site, including an ongoing plan to build a Four Seasons Hotel and Residences on the site of Metropolitan Park.

The sale includes the Seahorse and nearby properties, including the parking lot at the corner of Atlantic Blvd. and First St. The oceanfront motel was originally built in 1956. It has long been a landmark of the Beaches Town Center area, well known as home of the Lemon Bar, a popular beachside watering hole connected to the main building off Lemon St. In a press release, the current owners, Kathy Cole and her children Will and Emma, said that they first met with Iguana in March 2022, noting that they were looking for a buyer “with the appropriate financial resources and commitment to ensuring a promising future for the popular Beaches Town Center destination.”

“This is a bittersweet day for our family,” Kathy Cole said in the press release. “We poured much of our heart and soul into the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn over the past many years, and we’ve certainly enjoyed the journey knowing the properties have meant so much to the Jacksonville community. Now it’s time to pass the torch, and we’re really happy to see these properties going into the right hands with Shad Khan and Iguana Investments. I have no doubt they will do the right thing for the viability and success of the property well into the future.”

The Lemon Bar. Photo by Sarah Gojekian.

The Lemon Bar. Photo by Sarah Gojekian.

Khan stated that while his concept the property is still in development, he sees it consistent with the current use – a boutique beach hotel, restaurant, parking and other public amenities. “I have great faith in the future of Jacksonville, from downtown to the beaches and all the neighborhoods in between,” Khan said in the release. “I’ve always appreciated the unique vibe of the Beaches Town Center community and it means a lot to me to play a small role in the community’s continued growth, just as we are with the development of Jacksonville’s downtown riverfront. None of this would be possible without the faith of Kathy Cole and her children Will and Emma. They’ve all been instrumental in bringing life to Neptune Beach, and I thank them for their confidence in the ability of our Iguana group to help realize their goals and a promising future for our entire region.”

According to the release, Iguana will engage with the community and local stakeholders to discuss their vision for the property as the purchase moves forward. After the purchase is complete, Iguana plans to hire a management company to continue operations of the current motel and bar until redevelopment plans are finalized.

Article by Bill Delaney. Contact Bill at