MOORE HAVEN — A little over a year after they accepted a plan to buy and develop the site of the old Glades Inn, the Glades County commissioners approved a purchase and sale agreement with New Moore Haven LLC on Aug. 26.
The matter had been tabled from their Aug. 13 meeting. Commissioner John Ahern has been spearheading the effort along with County Attorney Richard Pringle to reach a final deal.
Last winter, the board decided to move forward with a ground lease arrangement rather than a sale, but Commissioner Ahern said that deal morphed into what Mr. Pringle presented to the board Monday night.
Mr. Ahern explained: “It’s not the grond lease. We have it set up to actually sell them the property, but we have to approve the franchise and the design of the hotel and stuff (such as the site plan) before we sell the property. Before we deed the property to them, they have to go all the way through the permitting process and pay for the permit.”
The new deal approved by the county commissioners last week, he said, contains two different timelines. The clock starts ticking on the 500-day time limit between the company’s securing a major hotel chain franchise, getting their financing, getting all their engineering and architectural work lined up. “So then we can approve everything, and then they have to get the permit,” he said.
Sometime after that roughly 18-month period, “then we’ll have the closing, then they start construction, and I think we’ve got it set up so the construction phase (limit) is 450 days,” Mr. Ahern related.
There was a reverter clause to be included if they had used a ground lease arrangement — which would have returned the property to the county and canceled the leas — but the commissioner explained that posed a problem for the financiers.
So now, with the purchase and sale accord, there are provision for a performance and construction bond that New Moore Haven LLC will have to post.
Commissioner Ahern explained, “Richard (County Attorney Pringle) has built in protection as much as he can for the county to be sure the project is completed, where if something bad happened, we would have the bond to continue and get it finished or whatever.”
New Moore Haven LLC is a Florida corporation based in Dania Beach that’s just over 2 years old.
Its original proposal was to take the 5-acre property off the county’s hands for $60,000 and construct a four-unit professional office or retail outlet building, a 160-seat restaurant and a three-story, 86-unit hotel on the land, located at 1100 S. U.S. 27 in Moore Haven In addition, the company is to build five units of workforce housing on a separate tract of property, just behind the dead end of Cactus Avenue.
The principals of the New Moore Haven limited-liability corporation are listed as Tommy Kertesz and Hugo Moreira. They also agreed to pay a settlement or closing fee of up to $150, plus the actual cost of any mortgage recording fee.
Glades County agrees to pay remaining closing costs, including any taxes due as of the closing date, any commissions and title costs, and to deliver a deed, abstract and title insurance for the land cost at closing.
The plan is develop the site with a branded hotel/motel, franchise family-casual dining restaurant and a strip mall office/retail building.