SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) – Southport leaders looked for a piece of property to build a park, but it's no longer available.
Five parcels of land owned by First Bank along West Bay Street between Yacht Basin Road and South Caswell Avenue in downtown Southport were recently taken off the market.
Mayor Robert Howard says he's disappointed that the town missed out on this "prime real estate along the waterfront."
The owners of several businesses at the Yacht Basin are in the final stages of completing a deal to buy the property at a reduced price.
Paul and Maria Swenson are the owners of the Yacht Basin Provision Co., Frying Pan Restaurant, and Flavas Ice Cream Shop. Howard says they have agreed in principle to purchase the five parcels for commercial use.
Most of the property included in the deal is currently being used as parking for existing businesses.
The city had been eyeing this land for years in hopes of building a park or some sort of green space in the area.
According to Howard, right now, it's selling for approximately $750,000, but Howard says the bank wanted $6 million a few years ago.
The mayor says they're upset they didn't get it, but just couldn't afford it at the time.
"We are truly disappointed," said Howard. "No question about it, we would have loved to have this property for the community and I believe we had widespread support from the community. On the other hand, the city could not see its way clear. We couldn't fund it anymore than the original offer we made."
Mayor Howard went on to say that he was pleased that local investors will be developing the property.
We tried to contact the new owners to find out their plans for development. We left several messages for Paul and Maria Swenson, but we haven't heard back at the time of this report.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard