The Magic Beach Motel owners wrestle with health issues and travel desires.

VILANO BEACH, Fla. — It’s an end of an era for an iconic piece of the First Coast.

The Magic Beach Motel in Vilano Beach is going to be sold, and most likely it will be torn down to make way for a much larger resort hotel.

Earl and Remy Jensen are the magicians at the Magic Beach Motel in Vilano Beach.

“We put a lot of our money into this,” Earl Jensen said. “And sweat. A lot of it.”

In 2011, they bought the run-down motel and restored it to its art deco glory. They even restored the Florida murals in every room.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Remy Jensen told First Coast News in 2012. The couple was so proud and excited about owning and running a retro motel on the beach.

A decade later… they’re tired.

“We’re here 24/7,” Earl Jensen said. 

He is having health issues

“I’ve had a lot of eye problems. So much surgery,” he noted.

So they’ve made the decision to sell the neon-lighted gem. It was a tough decision for Earl. “It was. It was back and forth. Got to admit that,” he explained.

But selling is not as hard for Remy “because I was thinking of him. And he comes first. We’re older now too… so it’s hard to keep up with it,” she said.

According to St. Johns County building documents, a developer plans to transform the land the motel is on, along with surrounding properties into a resort. This corner of Vilano Beach will go from 20 motel rooms now to nearly 200 high-end hotel rooms.

The Jensens say the motel was built in 1951, but it was never registered as a historic site. 

The motel was featured in the 1990’s short-lived TV show Safe Harbor.

Some locals are not happy about the plan to build a big resort where the motor lodge is, but the Jensen’s say they’re not the same couple they were when they bought this place and that it’s time for them to see the world.

“I want to see other things too. People come here and they look at this. Well, I want to see others things too before they’re taken down,” Earl Jensen said. 

They expect to close the hotel in December.