It’s called “The Sand Palace,” but it might as well be called “The Hurricane Miracle.” In a sea—or, actually on a coastline in Mexico Beach, FL—of incredible destruction in the wake of Hurricane Michael, one home stands alone. And it’s this one.
“Hurricane Michael tossed cars into the canal, snapped trees in half and carved massive craters into U.S. Route 98” while killing 16 (at last count), said NBC News. The hurricane’s winds lifted another beach house “off its stilts and blew it 160 yards across the main road, where it landed on a grassy area next to a parking lot.”
Yet the Category 4 hurricane couldn’t take down the house built by Dr. Lebron Lackey, a radiologist from Cleveland, TN, and his uncle, Russell King, an attorney from Chattanooga. There was, not surprisingly, some damage to the home, courtesy of 144-mile-per-hour winds and high water that had to go somewhere. “In a Facebook post, it was reported that the ground floor and the stairs up to the middle floor are gone, along with windows in one of the bedrooms,” said Q13 FOX. “All the utilities have to be redone, and one of the heating and air units is gone, too. Still, that’s a far cry from the destruction of much of the neighborhood.”
So how did The Sand Palace stay standing while other homes were torn apart? “The house stayed upright because it was built last year to codes that were even more strict than laws required,” said Weather.com. “It took reinforced concrete walls, 40-foot pilings driven deep into the ground and other factors to keep the house safe in the storm.” The Sand Palace “was designed to survive a monster hurricane, and the reinforced concrete structure was meant to be the last home standing in the event of the unthinkable.”
The home, which is used for vacation rentals, lists many of its features on its Facebook page: “four-bedroom ocean front home with beautiful views, two fully stocked kitchens, inside and outside dining options, an elevator, plenty of living space, plus four and a half bathrooms.”
The post that’s been pinned to the top of the page mentions that the home sleeps 10, has ocean views from the living rooms, master bedrooms, and decks, plus an outside shower, picnic table, porch swings, and a grill. If you scroll down a little further, there is some info about the products used in the home (impact-resistant windows and doors from Custom Window Systems in Ocala, FL) and the companies (Southeastern Consulting Engineers) behind the construction.
And while the home reportedly cost up to 20 percent more than it would have simply to meet existing building codes in Florida, the upside is obvious—not just for this property, but also for the future of homebuilding in areas prone to extreme weather.