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Too pricey for Sebastian: City will pass on buying properties next to Fisherman’s Landing

NewsToo pricey for Sebastian: City will pass on buying properties next to Fisherman's Landing

SEBASTIAN — The city won’t be buying the two lots next to the Hurricane Harbor building at Fisherman’s Landing.

Sebastian offered $1.2 million for the property — 1527 and 1528 Indian River Drive — to expand the city-owned Fisherman’s Landing next door. The owner, Sembler & Sembler, which originally listed the properties at $2.9 million, countered the city’s offer with $2.5 million.

The City Council rejected that counter on Jan. 11.

The 1.3-acres is zoned for commercial/multi-family residential use and includes a pier.

Part of Working Waterfront

City Manager Paul Carlisle said the city was interested in the lots to help preserve the riverfront view, the dock and the aquaculture business currently underway at the site to keep it a vital part of the city’s working waterfront.

“But we have to look at what value that is,” Carlisle said. “We ran some numbers and they’ve been changing a little bit on the financing if we were to finance that property, and it just gets expensive.”

Councilman Ed Dodd said he, too, looked at the numbers and would rather the city look for grants to expand the working waterfront.

“I personally would love to have that piece of property,” said Dodd told the council. “I just don’t think we can pay that kind of money for it. If the city doesn’t have to come up with $2.5 (million) and we can use grant money to make up the difference, it might be worth the city thinking about doing something with that.”

Sebastian purchased the Hurricane Harbor property more than a decade ago with grant money secured through the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfront grant program. After years of renovations, the building was leased for a small restaurant and fish market called Crab-E-Bills that opened in 2014.

Repair it? Demolish and rebuild it?

With the building now in need of major repairs, the city has been considering what it should do with it when the current tenants lease expires next year. Estimates to repair the rear of the building top $140,000, which may be too steep a price to pay. The city instead could demolish the existing structure and rebuild it.

Officials are expected to decide what to do after April 2024.

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