Contact Us
  • Comment

Liberty Harbor project site now up for sale

Posted: February 5, 2014 - 7:52pm
Back   Photo: 1 of 4  Next
Terry.Dickson@jacksonville.com  Agnes Hunter, delinquent tax manager, finds a parcel on a map of the Liberty Harbor development during a May 2010 auction outside the Glynn County Courthouse.  The Times-Union
The Times-Union
Terry.Dickson@jacksonville.com Agnes Hunter, delinquent tax manager, finds a parcel on a map of the Liberty Harbor development during a May 2010 auction outside the Glynn County Courthouse.

BRUNSWICK | A 136-acre block of waterfront property that was supposed to be home to a $1 billion to $2 billion development is for sale for $15 million.

Liberty Harbor, a proposed development with 1,800 residences, a 400-room hotel, 300,000 square feet of commercial space and a 450-slip marina on the Brunswick River is being offered by the Chicago company MorrisAnderson, the company said in a release.

MorrisAnderson, which consults in turnarounds, is trying to sell property, some of which went unsold at auction on the Glynn County Courthouse steps for delinquent taxes.

Partners Gary Waxman and Jeffrey Weiner made a big splash when they announced plans in July 2007 to develop Liberty Harbor. Waxman said the property was the last remaining quality waterfront property of its size on the Eastern Seaboard and that his plans called for 250-foot condominiums standing beside the Sidney Lanier Bridge.

The company hosted parties for brokers and buyers at Sea Island and Sea Palms resort and ultimately sold lots with prices ranging from $300,000 to $600,000, MorrisAnderson said.

Harbor Development Limited Partnership, which was developing Liberty Harbor, announced it had sold 129 lots and pre-sold 120 condominiums.

But today, only one lonely four-story house and a sales office stand on the property where the J.A. Jones Construction Co. built Liberty Ships in World War II and launched them into the river.

Harbor Development had secured $40 million in 2007 to finish the project, but the company collapsed in 2009 and Harbor Lenders Holding Co. took possession of the property in 2013.

Harbor Lenders has bought back some of the lots that had been sold, obtained limitation of liability letters and made a number of other improvements, MorrisAnderson said.

MorrisAnderson manages the property for a group of lenders who foreclosed on the property in February 2013. They were able to get Limitation of Liability letters from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in November 2013 after they completed some minor soil testing and remediation work on the site.

City Planner Arne Glaeser said that Liberty Harbor was laid out in two phases as a planned development district and that Phase 1, which is the portion nearest the river, has all the infrastructure in place except for the top layer of asphalt on the streets.

The water and sewer lines are in and a lift station that serves the nearby U.S. Coast Guard station and Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division office building is working.

The City Commission had approved a height overlay extension to allow the 250-foot condo towers, which remains in place, Glaeser said.

“So yes, they can still build those,” but any developer would have to secure the necessary building permits for the condo towers, he said.

Of the marina, Glaeser said, “That’s DNR jurisdiction. We have nothing to do with that.”

Glaeser said that a DNR permit for the marina was about to expire last year but that Kennedy Funding, which loaned money to Harbor Development, had secured an extension.

If a new developer takes over and starts building, it could run into a literal roadblock, Glaeser said.

“The [Georgia] Department of Transportation” said they can build only 90 units with the temporary access on Conservation Way,” he said.

With the 91st unit, the developer would have to have the permanent access finished, but the plans call for that to run through the eastern end of a facility where Jered Industries holds a long-term lease, Glaeser said.

Liberty Harbor promised to secure another location for Jered and move it, but that was another part of the plan that fell through.

Still pending is a lawsuit that Kennedy Funding Inc., of New Jersey, filed against the city last March. The suit said it loaned Liberty Harbor developers $55 million based on Brunswick’s false assurances that the company had completed infrastructure improvements on the property.

Kennedy Funding said it was still owed $47 million and that it wants $21.5 million from the city.

Among the city’s defenses are that the infrastructure it said was in place is complete and that Liberty Harbor failed partly because of the collapse of the real estate market, not because of the lack of services on the property.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

Comments (2)

ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Skipbear
21
Points
Skipbear 02/06/14 - 06:06 pm
0
0

Pretty sad to see the

Pretty sad to see the fall-out of the real estate bubble still going on. For sure our communities on the coast did many deals with the devil when it came to betting on developments of million dollar gated condo communities that few people could afford.

johnctaughtme
13554
Points
johnctaughtme 02/06/14 - 12:04 am
0
0
Premium Member

How many more of these "big

How many more of these "big deals" are cities and counties going to get themselves and citizens' money involved in, rather than concentrating on the core, basic, and essential functions and services of government, as well as infrastructure?

Back to Top

 
Sign up for Jacksonville.com's morning newsletter and get top stories each morning in your inbox.