With the fanfare deserving of the occasion, city and state officers and officials were joined by Small Business Administration district director Mark Hayward at Rocky Point on Sept. 17 to announce an agreement had been reached for the state to acquire the remaining 82 acres of the former amusement park.
Hayward was optimistic that everything would come together quickly and that the state would hold a deed to the land by Jan. 13, 2013. He said it was only a matter of days before the purchase and sales agreement would be filed with the Federal District Court, thus starting the clock on a 45-day period during which a qualified buyer could step forward and acquire the property at a 10 percent premium on the $9.65 million purchase price.
But first, the State Properties Committee had to approve the agreement. That happened on Oct. 10 and again it looked like everything would fall into place rapidly.
But as of yesterday, the SBA had still not filed the agreement with the court.
“There are a couple of technical things that need to get done,” Hayward said Tuesday without elaborating.
Despite the delay, Hayward remains optimistic that everything can come together by the end of the year and the transaction will be completed even before the Jan. 13 date in the agreement.
Asked whether there has been renewed interest in the park from developers since the state and SBA have reached agreement on the price, Hayward said he hasn’t gotten any calls.
Likewise, City Planner William DePasquale has not heard of any inquiries from developers over the property.
Apart from economic conditions and the chill it has put on the housing market, the terms of the agreement with the state would have to be met by a developer. That includes preserving 50 acres of the site as open space, which would reduce the acreage that could be used for development. Furthermore, when the City Council abated taxes and liens on the land of approximately $2.3 million on Sept. 26, it was on condition of a sale to the state. A private developer would therefore need to come up with the taxes plus the 10 percent premium for a total of $12.9 million.
Asked what should happen after the state acquires the property, DePasquale said, “I think it has got to be a collaborative where all stakeholders are involved in determining the future of the property.” He suggested the process would be “fun” and should “connect with what people really love about this property.”
He said the park is a place where many people shared a good time and that future activities could include shows, concerts and fairs as well as concessions.