A New Jersey-based lender announced Wednesday that it was financing Lost Lagoon Development’s purchase of 101 acres of raw land in Murdock Village.
The loan was for $3 million, provided by Kennedy Funding. The seller was Charlotte County. The sale closed last week with Lost Lagoon paying $3.755 million for the first and largest phase of its project.
In this phase, Lost Lagoon plans to build an innovative downtown for the county, plus a water park. The first task, however, is to rebuild Toledo Blade Boulevard, a hotel and commercial space on the corner of U.S. 776 and Toledo Blade. Lost Lagoon is expected to reimbursed its purchase price in exchange for infrastructure work on roads, sidewalks, landscaping and storm water control.
Lost Lagoon is naming the development Arredondo Point.
Closing had been delayed on the deal after Lost Lagoon executives told county officials a lender had backed out. The coronavirus pandemic was holding up business in the New York, New Jersey area, developers said.
The new lender, Kennedy, said in a press release that conventional loans on undeveloped land have dried up.
“Traditional lenders will not even consider lending on raw land, especially now,” Kennedy CEO Kevin Wolfer said in the press release. He stated that the pandemic has made commercial development borrowing “extraordinarily difficult.”
The county’s Economic Development Director agreed with Kennedy’s CEO that commercial land transactions are difficult to complete at present.
“That’s why it’s so impressive Arredondo folks got this done,” Gammon told the Sun.
Kennedy specializes in bridge loans, according to its website. These are short-term loans.
Kennedy is also providing funding to another developer in Charlotte County, JBCC Sandhill LLC, which is trying to sell land on Sandhill Boulevard after receiving zoning approvals for a variety of housing and commercial options. That loan was for $750,000.
The Lost Lagoon project proposal has been in the works since 2017. The land has been county owned since 2008 when earlier commissioners decided to buy up or take by eminent domain, most of Murdock Village for commercial and residential development. The land had languished, from a development perspective, since its original owner, John Murdock, failed to find big buyers in the 1920s.
Kennedy praised the project, the developer and the region as promising.
“Port Charlotte has been ready for new commerce and development for quite some time, and with the borrower’s guidance and expertise, this vision will finally come to fruition,” Wolfer said.