City receives $2.7 million offer for Dodgertown property

MARK SCHUMANN

With plans to build a 280-unit residential development, Murphy Garlinge & Associates, LLC of Palm Beach Gardens has made an offer of $2.7 million for approximately 35 acres of public land located southeast of the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Aviation Boulevard.

The land was once the site of of a nine hole golf course owned and operated by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a deal involving the City, County and the Dodgers, Vero Beach bought the land in 2005 for $10 million dollars. At the time, the vision was to develop a park comparable to Riverside Park. Sharp budget cuts following the 2009 Recession and an increasing focus locally on limited government has left the City without the resources or the inclination to create more public open space.

Currently, some $500,000 in sale tax revenue that could otherwise be used for road maintenance and for making improvements to the City stormwater system now goes to service the City’s $5 million debt on the property. Debt service this fiscal year will total $662,000.

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari, who was a member of the Vero Beach City Council in 2005, continues to insist buying the land for $10 million dollars was a wise move on the part of the City.

In a memorandum accompanying the offer Murphy Garlinge founder Patrick Murphy wrote, “Gents, I understand the City paid a premium for this site, but in all honesty, it was never worth what they paid for it.”

5 comments

  1. With allowance for roads, retention, etc., the remaining area yields trailer park density. It would put a substantial strain on all of the city’s facilities. For $2.7M, where is the benefit to the Vero Beach?
    After all this time, why not wait a bit longer for a deal that benefits the community without stressing/depressing the entire area around it.

    Might I suggest this might be an excellent spot for the storm water retention lake that we are looking for? It is paid for and currently maintained by the COVB. It also fronts on the North Relief Canal. Sweet!

  2. So what does former City Council member Bob Solari think of this offer, I wonder. My memory of this transaction about a dozen years ago is fuzzy. Would like to hear from knowledgeable business folks. I don’t qualify but certainly concerns me as a VB resident. We seem to keep getting low bids on out-of-city electric customers in IRS and low bids from FPL for total sale of VB electric…..We surely exist at the pleasure of others.

  3. No matter how Bob Solari twists and spins the facts, buying the Dodgertown tract was and is a gigantic mistake. Buying the land for $10,000,000 and selling it years later for $2,700,000 will be a blot on Solari’s record. This land sale will always be known as Solari.s Folly.

  4. I have to agree with Commissioner Solari. What’s the rush is the city going bankrupt because of the electric issue? They don’t make land anymore…never know when the city will need space. I guess we will become another concrete jungle like Pt. St. Lucie and points south.
    In 2008 land sales were booming who knew the bottom was going to fall out of the market. I know a lot of people who are still upside down on their mortgage.

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