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Council OKs purchase of Avatar properties

By Staff | Sep 21, 2009

After 30 years of wrangling with restrictions imposed on parts of the city overseen by Avatar Properties, the Cape Coral City Council voted 8-0 to approve a agreement where the city assumes control of the company’s local interests.
By acquiring Avatar’s properties, the city gains a number of parking lots as well as properties currently occupied by Coral Oaks Golf Course and Sun Splash Family Waterpark by paying the company $1.1 million.
Estimates by some officials put the value of the acquired properties at $6 million. Perhaps the most priceless advantage for the city is the ability to develop the properties in the future without becoming entangled in negotiations with Avatar.
“There are all kinds of opportunities that are opened up by the city. These rights have resided with the original leaders and their successors for over 30 years now, very little has come out of it,” said City Manager Terry Stewart. “I believe it is a great opportunity for us.”
Although the parking lots under Avatar’s control have received most of the publicity in this agreement, council members pointed out that other properties being acquired will ultimately be a source of future development and investment for the city.
Some Cape Coral residents addressed the City Council with concerns about the property owners who abut one of the Avatar properties. They wanted to ensure that they don’t lose their ability to enforce their own restrictions.
Councilmember Bill Deile suggested that that a memorandum be entered into public record that would ensure that property rights of abutting owners wouldn’t be effected, yet City Attorney Dolores Menendez said, “the document speaks for itself.”
“The agreement doesn’t affect the rights, if any, of the abutting property owners. They aren’t party to the agreement,” said Menendez.
Deile also pointed out that an indemnity provision will hold Avatar harmless during the process of handing over the properties to the city.
City officials ultimately supported the agreement with Avatar.
“It is not a question of how much you can sell these properties for, but how can the city decide how it wants to develop these properties in the future,” said Menendez.
Joe Mazurkiewicz, president of BJM Consulting and a former mayor of Cape Coral, stated the 40 parcels involved in the transaction are worth as much as $6 million.
“This will give the city great freedom and bring additional value to the city,” he said. “All the values they would have paid to Avatar now come right to the city.”