Someone just woke me up and said Murdock Village is no more.
Well, actually it still exists, but perhaps only for a few more days or weeks.
As most of you may know by now, Private Equity Group wrote a check for $11.6 million to Charlotte County Monday to close on 453 acres in Murdock Village. It is the first time the county has received any money in the 15-year struggle to develop the 1,100-acre plot of land near the Town Center mall it acquired through purchases and eminent domain.
Of course the county is giving back the $11.6 million to PEG to pay for roads and infrastructure needed to develop the property. The thinking is the developer can do it cheaper and faster than the county. Some may argue about all that, but I won’t. The sooner someone puts a shovel in the ground and actually starts to build something there, the better.
Murdock Village has been a nightmare.
I can’t recall the number of articles, columns and editorials I have written about Murdock Village in those 15 years. When PEG announces a new name for the development — which it promised is coming soon — it will be a blessing. We won’t have to utter the words Murdock Village again.
Not that the idea was so bad to begin with.
Charlotte County has no downtown, with the exception of a three-or-four-block strip in Punta Gorda, the county seat. We are a county made up of strip malls that you have to drive from one to another to shop. We have no place where you can park your car and spend half a day or more shopping, eating and finding entertainment. Maybe you find a seat in a shaded park area and let the kids play. Perhaps later that evening you attend a concert in an amphitheater.
That has always been the dream.
Now, maybe, just maybe, parts of it, at least, will come to fruition.
One thing is almost certain, PEG will build homes and apartments. We need homes and apartments. There will be other amenities too. It will be a good thing.
But mostly, Murdock Village will be remembered just as former Charlotte County Commissioner Tom Moore described it after Kitson and Partners became one of a handful of developers to bid for and then drop out of the project.
“Will this toothache never stop?” Moore said. He went on to add: “It will, but not fast enough for me.”
It was not fast enough for many of us. A handful of county commissioners have come and gone, some have even passed away, since the whole mess started back in 2004. There has been lots of hand-wringing and plenty of passionate speeches about the county’s debt on the property and the interest it has paid over the years.
That won’t end tomorrow. One thing that will end is the Murdock Village name.
I wonder what the new name will be? I’m sure PEG already has planned a marketing campaign around a snappy moniker. But, just for fun, send me your ideas.
What is your new name for Murdock Village?