Despite a proposal from a major developer to buy vacant land, originally planned to be an entertainment hub in Port Charlotte, the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners will unwind a private contract between home developer Kolter Group Acquisitions LLC and Arredondo Pointe.
Arredondo Pointe planned to develop a major water park attraction with adjoining attractions and amenities. The proposed 45-acre Lost Lagoon water park and surrounding amphitheater, golf facility, hotel and convention center complex would have been a major attraction in the area but was never developed.
Arredondo Pointe President Lynn Mims testified before the board Tuesday.
At the end of the hearing, commissioners voted to buy back the land from Arredondo Pointe and start over by exploring other options.
Under the original agreement with the county, the land was sold to Arredondo Pointe for $6,679,200 in 2017 to develop an entertainment complex.
About 100 acres in the Murdock Village section of Port Charlotte have been vacant since the purchase, and taxes have not been paid on lots the county bought from private owners or took by eminent domain for future development more than a decade ago.
Since then, tax certificates on Arredondo Pointe’s acreage have been purchased by another entity for the 2021 and 2022 tax years.
“Why hasn’t this moved ahead?” Commissioner Stephen Deutsch asked Mims.
“We tried,” she said of the original plans, citing supply-chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 95% of the company’s water park materials and other materials were sourced from India and China, she said.
Mims further explained that by 2022, there was a queue of water parks waiting for supplies, and Lost Lagoon, the anchor of the entertainment complex, couldn’t be built.
Kolter recently entered into a private contract with Arredondo Pointe to purchase the acreage.
Kolter is currently developing the West Port community in Port Charlotte, where six building firms have been constructing single-family homes and multifamily units. Some firms already have sold out their inventory, said engineer Matt Morris, who represented Kolter and delivered a presentation before the commissioners.
Morris said the development company sought to take over Arredondo’s purchase agreement with the county to create West Port Commons, a development of 262 single-family homes, 192 townhomes and 42 acres of nonresidential usage along State Road 776. It includes space for a library, food trucks, a small or large box store, a restaurant, a miniature golf course and a man-made lake.
Commissioners balked at the proposal.
“Let’s unwind the contract,” Commissioner Chris Constance said. “You return the land to us. We return the money.”
Constance vowed the county will sit tight and collect taxes on the land until a developer is found to produce the original concept of a water park and entertainment hub.
“You made us sit here for six years,” Constance said to Mims. “I’m sorry your business model failed, but you promised us a concept.”
Assistant County Administrator Claire Jubb will work with Mims and her partners to unwind the developer’s current contract with the county, and the matter will be brought before commissioners at a future meeting.