The deal is done.
After three years of negotiation, developer Lost Lagoon has closed on the purchase of 95 acres of land that could someday hold a water park and Charlotte County’s new downtown.
Lost Lagoon’s lawyer notified the county Thursday that funds were wired to an escrow account.
“I offered congratulations to Lyn (Mims) and Caleb (Grimes) and they are very grateful for all the work Dave (Gammon) and his team and Claire (Jubb), Ben (Bailey) and Shaun (Cullinan) and their teams did to get this deal done,” Assistant County Attorney Tom David said in an email to county staff. Mims is president of Lost Lagoon and Grimes, its lawyer. The others are county staff who have been working on the deal, some since 2017.
The multi-step agreement requires Lost Lagoon LLLP to pay $3,755,610 for the first and largest piece of undeveloped land in Murdock Village. The total deal is $6.7 million with purchases spaced out at later dates. The developer is expected to build water and sewer infrastructure, for sidewalks, landscaping and other improvements that will be used by the public.
Although they only closed on one piece this week, this first piece contains most of the land intended for the key elements, an innovative downtown and a water park.
This sale marks the second large piece of land in Murdock Village to pass from the county to a developer. County officials have been trying to develop an undeveloped swath of the county center since 2003, when commissioners started buying or taking land by eminent domain from private owners. The goal has been to bring economic vitality to the county’s commercial center, which lacks full access to water and sewer north of U.S. 776.
The two parcels are both bounded State Road 776 and U.S. 41 and west of U.S. 41. A team of developers, Kolter Land Partners and Private Equity Group started this development, which is slated to hold numerous residential subdivisions. Earlier this year, they renamed their section West Port.
Lost Lagoon has said it will rename its section Arredondo Pointe after an old Florida neighborhood near Orlando.
One large piece of land remains undeveloped in between these two pieces. County officials say they will start marketing once projects are underway in Arredondo Pointe and West Port.
The first thing Lost Lagoon has to do is start rebuilding Toledo Blade Boulevard. The road currently stops short of connecting the two state highways. Lost Lagoon must submit its plan within 180 days for the road and a large, decorative stormwater retention pond. The developer must start construction on the road within a year, and complete it within two years.
The developer team has said they plan first to build a hotel and small commercial section along S.R. 776 first, as a way to get started and to house workers. Commissioners were not happy to see strip development as the first step after Lost Lagoon had promised a walkable downtown, which Charlotte County lacks, within the interior.
The water park, which would be located closer to U.S. 41, would begin soon after the downtown, developers have said, to the disappointment of families looking forward to the entertainment.
Lost Lagoon President Lynn Mims has said the coronavirus pandemic has changed the design of the development, but did not provide details.
The pandemic also delayed the closing as New Jersey area lenders were in partial shutdown. One lender also backed out and another took over.