On Monday, July 17, the Destin City Council unanimously voted to approve the purchase of the vacant property at 1 Harbor Boulevard (next to the Marler Bridge) for $9 million.
- The decision comes after weeks of negotiations with BK of Destin Inc., who initially purchased the 2-acre property, previously occupied by a tattoo shop, for $5,500,000 in June 2022.
The council’s approval follows a counteroffer from the seller, who stood firm on a minimum price of $9 million. “We had given them a final offer of $8.5 million,” said City Attorney Kim Kopp. “They’ve come back and said $9 million is the absolute lowest they would go.”
Councilmember Teresa Hebert made the motion to approve the purchase of the property for public purpose, emphasizing the importance of acquiring this particular piece of land. Council-member Dewey Destin agreed.
“I can’t imagine what would be more of a public purpose than this piece of property,” expressed Destin. “This will be the most important public purpose we’ve done in the CRA. With this acquisition, we’re actually adding a parcel of property that has just tremendous value for the public purpose that we want to achieve, which is to preserve that view and preserve that piece of property.”
Councilmember Jim Bagby shared his perspective on the broader implications of the acquisition, suggesting that he would like to see the city’s future Town Center make its home on the property.
- “The town center goes back to where it was 20 years ago before the Emerald Grande was built,” he said. “Where we have the library in that area..the community center, the museum in that area. We have the substation with the fire department in that area. And that becomes our town center.”
The most recent appraised value of the parcel was $8.2 million, according to Kopp. The average of the two appraisals was $8 million. Despite agreeing to acquire it for $9 million, the council was confident that the long-term benefits and preservation of the scenic view justified the investment.
During the meeting, it was clarified that the purchase of 1 Harbor Boulevard will not result in the property being sold off or transformed into a condominium complex or commercial establishment. Instead, it will be utilized for a public purpose, although the specifics have yet to be determined.
With the upcoming acquisition of 1 Harbor Boulevard, the city takes a significant step towards reclaiming the entrance to the city and ensuring a lasting legacy for its residents and visitors alike.