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Destin City Council looking to buy the vacant lot next to the Marler Bridge, owner seeks $10 million

The Destin City Council has approved a counter offer of up to $8.5 million for the vacant lot adjacent to the Marler Bridge. The owner initially sought $10 million, sparking negotiations over the prime real estate.
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In a supermajority 5-2 vote on Tuesday, the Destin City Council made a significant move regarding the vacant property at 1 Harbor Boulevard next to the Destin (Marler) Bridge. The council approved a counter offer of up to $8.5 million, aiming to acquire the 2-acre property that was previously home to a tattoo shop.

  • The property was purchased by BK of Destin Inc. for $5,500,000 on June 17, 2022. 

“The difference in price between what we’re offering and what they’re willing to accept is significant. Right now, we’re at $8 million and they are at $10 million,” explained Land Use Attorney Kim Kopp during the council meeting. 

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Council-member Kevin Schmidt promptly made a motion for a final offer not exceeding $9.5 million. Council-member Johnny King seconded the motion.

However, Council-member Dewey Destin proposed a substitute motion, suggesting the city not exceed $8.5 million. Council-member Teresa Hebert supported the substitute motion.

Destin confirmed the average of the city’s appraisals on the property was $7.9 million. “So we are at $8.5 million. We’re half a million dollars more than our appraisal,” pointed out Destin, backing his motion. He also highlighted that any amount above the appraisal would require a supermajority vote under state law.

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Council-member Jim Bagby expressed his reservations about the property’s price. “I’ll be honest with you. They bought it for $5 million. They probably put a half a million dollars into it…I would’ve given them $6 million,” he said. He emphasized the significance of the property for the town’s future development, especially in regards to a possible town center.

  • Bagby clarified that his vote was not in favor of buying the property at $8.5 million but rather authorizing a counter offer at that amount. He advocated for seeking public input and assessing the overall worth of the acquisition. However, Bagby firmly stated his opposition to the proposed $9.5 million counter offer.
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“I saw what happened to the Emerald Grande property,” stated Schmidt. “I would think that citizens of Destin would probably shoot themselves in the foot 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now to say, ‘Man, one more million dollars and we could have not had that. One more million.’”

Ultimately, the council decided to move forward with a counter offer of not-to-exceed $8.5 million. The next step will involve waiting for the property owners’ response to the counter offer. The outcome of this negotiation will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of Destin as it pertains to the entrance of the city.

3 Responses

  1. The City of Destin should spend the money and buy the property. Unless you want to see another hotel or condo on that site

  2. Has any other property in Destin darn near doubled in value in just over one year?? Come on. I’m with Bagby on this one. And Definitely Dewey Destin as well.

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