House built for ‘the big one’ survives historic hurricane


MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (CNN) — The owners of a Florida home that made it through Hurricane Michael say the design saved their home. 

The three-story, four-bedroom vacation rental known as the “Sand Palace” is located in Mexico Beach. 

It rose in prominence after the house was shown standing high on stilts above the debris left in Michael’s wake. 

The owners say the house was built with hurricanes in mind. For instance, Hurricane Michael made landfall packing maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. 

The “Sand Palace” was built to withstand about 240 to 250 miles per hour winds. 

“When it came time to make a decision about what level of material or what to use, we didn’t pay attention to code. We went above and beyond code and we asked the question what would survive the big one. And we’ve consistently tried to build it for that,” says one of the owners, Dr. Lebron Lackey.

Russell King, the other homeowner, commented, “We’re glad our house survived but we’re so sad– we’re overcome with sadness for anybody else.”

However, Hurricane Michael did not leave the house unscathed. According to the “Sand Palace” Facebook page, its ground floor and the stairs up to the middle floor are gone. So are the windows in one of the bedrooms and all of the utilities need replacing. 

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