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Punta Gorda City Council will decide May 15 whether to grant Fishermen’s Village, now in receivership, a deadline extension to complete improvements to the property or to take it back. 

If Council doesn’t provide additional time for receivers to complete improvements agreed to in 2018, Punta Gorda could take steps to have the property transferred back to the city, Punta Gorda Assistant City Manager Melissa Reichert said. 

“According to the acquisition agreement, Fishville would then have the right to lease the reverter parcels pursuant to a ground lease with a term of 99 years and an initial annual lease payment of $203,100, adjusted thereafter by a formula provided in the agreement,” she said. 

A reverter clause refers to the right of the grantor to possess property in the future if a certain condition isn’t met. 

Buyer Jonathan Larmore, CEO of Arizona-based Arciterra Companies LLC, entered into the agreement with the city to make certain improvements to the property within five years, including construction of a parking lot adjacent to Fishermen’s Village. 

The deadline was Nov. 13, 2023five years from the date of the signed second amendment to the acquisition agreement. 

But Larmore had personal and professional troubles, and he filed for bankruptcy for his various holdings, including Fishermen’s Village. 

The property was put in receivership, and local attorney A. Jill McCrory has been communicating with the city’s attorney, David Levin, and City Manager Greg Murray, on behalf of the receiversPGFL Associates LLC and SVN Commercial Partners, who have “begun a process to market the property for sale,” McCrory wrote to Levin on April 5. 

McCrory asked Levin and Murray in separate letters to extend the deadline to Nov. 13, 2026, alluding to wording in the acquisition agreement. 

In her April 5 letter, she wrote the agreement provided for the extension “in the event that an Act of God…or financial and economic conditions will not allow for the construction.” 

She wrote that during the time since the execution and amendments to the agreement, Fishermen’s Village and the city “have experienced two Acts of God”the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ian. 

But Levin disagreed. 

In his summary, which appears within the May 15 agenda, he wrote, “City attorney does not agree that Fishermen’s Village is entitled to an automatic extension of the deadline.” 

He stated that “City Council must determine whether the ‘Acts of God’ and other eventualities” regarding Fishermen’s Village were in fact substantial causes of Fishermen’s failure to reach the deadline expressed in the agreement.” 

In McCrory’s letter to Levin, she wrote that SVN “has been working on a plan to market the Fishville property for sale to a reputable purchaser” with the “expectation that a purchaser would, among other things, complete the requirements of the current property owner required under the redevelopment agreement.” 

During Larmore’s ownership of Fishermen’s Village, he revealed plans to build a tall hotel and condominiums, which created a firestorm in the community, especially among residents living in the Historic District. 

Fishville, as locals refer to it, was established in 1980, but the pier on which it stands was built in the late 1920s. 

The open-air mall is a tourist attraction and houses shops and restaurants that are no taller than two stories. Adjoining the mall is a marina that serves as the home port of King Fisher Fleet tour boats. 

Once news of Larmore’s plans to expand the mall in size and height became known, a grassroots movement to oppose overdevelopment began. 

Candidate Debi Lux, whose platform was preserving Punta Gorda’s small-town character and preventing high density and taller buildings, defeated incumbent Mark Kuharski last year for his Council seat. 

In the upcoming election, three candidates sharing Lux’s philosophy, are challenging the three council members who are up for reelection. 

Meanwhile, Larmore was hit with a restraining order in a $35 million fraud case in December 2023, and in March, he was charged by feds for stock fraud. 

The City Council meeting starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Military Heritage Museum, 900 W. Marion Ave. 

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