Historic City News reporters watched as the City of St Augustine mayor and commissioners voted during their regular meeting Monday night to sell the 102 Bridge Street property for an $80,000 capital loss, without giving further consideration to a higher all-cash offer.
Many residents of the Lincolnville neighborhood were glad to see the drug dealing at the former M&M Market go away, while many more objected, very vocally, when the mayor and commissioners offered to buy the property which was forfeited in a multi-jurisdictional drug raid in November 2010.
“I like being the bank,” boasted St Augustine Mayor Joe Boles; when asked if he didn’t want to consider the competitive cash offer. The accepted contract requires the City to hold a mortgage for two years. Boles remarked that he felt the City would have more control over what is done so long as they are holding the mortgage.
Adding to the loss, just last month, Assistant City Manager, Timothy A. Burchfield, submitted a request for an additional $12,000 for repairs. Plus, for the last three-and-a-half years, the property has been off the ad valorem tax rolls — in 2010, alone, that would have been $6,580.
“The offer is lower, but financing, savings on real estate commissions, and community peace of mind, more than make up for it,” Former St Augustine Mayor George Gardner wrote in the recent issue of the St Augustine Report.
Planning and Building Director Mark Knight and City Manager John Regan noted that the real estate commission was waived by Saltwater Property Group broker, Irene Arriola. Title fees are being waived as well.
David and Sandra Corneal plan to build a seven-unit apartment complex with potential future restaurant use, rehabilitating “the existing building so that it will reflect the original historic character of the period in which it was built.”