San Sebastian Harbor details coming to light


Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, met with Don McCormick, Director of Business Development for Humphrey Realty this afternoon; the entity managing the development of the Doubletree by Hilton on San Marco Avenue at Old Mission Avenue, and the new owners of the long vacant land to be developed into the San Sebastian Inland Harbor.

The meeting took place in the conference room of the City Manager’s office and was attended by City Manager John Regan, Assistant City Manager Tim Burchfield, and Public Affairs Director, Paul Williamson. The paperwork was filed yesterday by SA Marina Holdings, LLC, and McCormick says the new owners are excited about the future for this development.

“Thanks are due to Dan Bartok, Executive Vice President with Wells Fargo & Company, and the head official over bank-owned real estate, who worked with the buyers and the city to find the right buyer that can benefit our community,” said John Regan. “Our staff, particularly David Birchim and Reuben Franklin, have gone above and beyond to accommodate the Humphrey group, and it has paid off.”

The 10.6-acre property, bordering Riberia St. and San Sebastian Way, will be developed similarly to the existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) which will include a hotel with upscale restaurant, retail space, condominiums and a marina. The hotel planned at the San Sebastian site will be a Westin.

SA Marina Holdings, LLC, based in Sanford, has invested $4.75 million in the property, and is prepared to purchase and close on two of the remaining three parcels owned by other investors from the original group; Devlin, Newton, and Grunthal.

The first step it to get the existing PUD amended. The projected completion date for the project is approximately 18 to 24 months after the PUD amendments are approved.

Representatives of SA Marina Holdings, LLC stated that while it would have been ideal for the development to be completed in time to serve the needs of those visiting the city next year’s 450th Commemoration, they are confident that the improvements and additional assets will serve the city for many years to come.

City Manager John Regan stated that this project is without a doubt the single most important project in the city with benefits to the community including increased parking, tax revenue, improvements to a major gateway to the city, and a potential partnership on the marina.

McCormick told reporters that the company will use the time to communicate with neighboring residents, businesses and other stakeholders, so that their concerns and ideas can be considered.

King Street residents will be happy to learn that the budget priorities being presented at tomorrow’s meeting, includes $800,000 for installing all available wiring underground.

Traffic patterns being discussed include a shortstop cut-through that takes patrons off King Street right away; diverting them to restaurants, the resort hotel, or the proposed parking garage as soon as they cross the San Sebastian Bridge, eastbound.

Estimates are that the completed project will be valued for assessment purposes at a minimum of $80 million. The vacant land generates about $50,000 – $60,000 annually in property taxes for the city, according to Tim Burchfield. The Assistant City Manager predicts tax revenues will reach over a million-dollars each year, after complete.

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