Developer McKinney reacts to Haiti quake

Jan.January 14, 2010 04:26 PM

Developer Frank McKinney may build multimillion-dollar mansions, but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty or make a statement.

At noon today, McKinney, best known for his $29 million Acqua Liana mansion in Manalapan, chained himself to his Delray Beach tree house, while it was being moved 35 feet by a 60-ton crane, to make a statement about “what’s important to fight for,” he said.

By mid-afternoon, he’d boarded a chartered plane headed to Haiti to help with disaster relief efforts after the devastating earthquake that struck Tuesday and has destroyed buildings and killed tens of thousands of people.

The chaining event had been scheduled for weeks, and was to be the culmination of an eight-year battle with the City of Delray Beach over the controversial house, which was ruled illegal by the city’s preservation commission. It was also to serve as a small fundraiser for his Caring House Project Foundation, which built 11 self-sustaining villages in Haiti, with three more underway. At least half were destroyed in the quake.

Now the efforts of the self-described publicity stunt will be directed to the ravaged Caribbean nation, still reeling under the catastrophic effects of a massive quake.

“Through the schools and orphanages, the project has touched the lives of 4,500 people,” he said.

So McKinney, who frequently invokes “compassion with action” as a personal credo, gathered together a handful of search-and-rescue experts, medical personnel and equipment, and arranged for two chartered planes to transport them to the Port au Prince airport.

“My role has been logistics,” he said. “Ours will be one of the first domestics to get in.”

Going with McKinney are a search-and-rescue team, a nurse and a doctor from Colorado, people trained in search-and rescue from Delray Beach, two Creole speaking trained search-and-rescue people from West Palm Beach and a media person.

McKinney’s volunteers will help where needed with search, superficial excavation and medical assistance. They plan to set up tents at the Port Au Prince airport, making it their home base anywhere from three days to a week. He doubts that they will get to the villages he helped build. “I think we will be mobbed at the airport,” he said.

Related Articles

Daily Digest Miami

LeBron James’ Unknwn store is opening Dec. 5, Palm Beach Gardens showroom trades for $10M

Walgreens at 3200 South Federal Highway

Walgreens sells Delray Beach store on Federal Highway

Midtown Delray, Todd Rosenberg

Pebb Capital pays $40M for once-named Midtown Delray site

1675 Lands End Road (Credit: Redfin)

Investor Joseph Imbesi sells Manalapan house

Rendering of Ocean Delray

Ocean Delray nabs $73M construction loan

Photo illustration of Grant Cardone (Credit: iStock)

A look at Grant Cardone’s real estate portfolio and how he raised $15M in 90 minutes at Marlins Park

ABC Carpet & Home

Collier family converting former ABC Carpet & Home in Delray to facility for car collectors

From left: Joseph Maas, Susan Burrell and Paul Burrell of TMT Properties and 190 Congress Park Drive (Credit: Google Maps)

TMT Properties buys Delray Beach offices