JOSEPH CRANNEY JOEY.CRANNEY@NAPLESNEWS.COM; 239-213-6035
The offer from Naples officials to buy a downtown parking lot is now at $4.6 million after the City Council agreed to new purchase terms Wednesday.
Eyeing the lot at Fourth Avenue South and Fourth Street South for a parking garage, council members rejected the city’s initial $6 million purchase contract with Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate. After proposing $5.5 million to buy the lot Tuesday, council members voted again Wednesday, 5-2, to lower the offer to $4.6 million.
Mayor Bill Barnett said he was concerned Hoffmann wouldn’t agree to the lower offer.
“I don’t think there’s any way in the world Mr. Hoffmann is going to go through with this,” Barnett said
Vice Mayor Linda Penniman and Councilman Doug Finlay voted against the new offer. Those council members said they oppose any plans for a 350space parking garage, which has faced a deluge of public criticism.
More than 30 residents packed City Hall during Tuesday’s hearing, most opposed to the garage proposal.
Council members said Tuesday the city could buy Hoffmann’s lot and open its more than 100 parking spaces to the public. In the meantime, a final decision on the garage would be delayed until the spring after the city gathers more public input, council members said.
Other provisions in the revised contract offer the council agreed to Wednesday would allow the city to sell the land back to Hoffmann if the council ultimately opposes the garage.
Council members based their lower $4.6 million purchase offer on a city commissioned appraisal on the Hoffmann property from July. The report from Florida Valuation & Consultants valued the property at $4.6 million if used as a surface parking lot with 115 spaces.
At the property’s highest and best use, likely a mixed-use project with condos and parking, the value would be $6.1 million, according to the appraisal.
Before Wednesday’s vote, Councilwoman Ellen Seigel said she was unaware of the lower value included in the July appraisal. Finlay scolded Naples officials for not including more detailed information in the project memo prepared for the council.
“That should have been offered to council,” Finlay said. “It got into a situation where (Seigel) said, ‘Where did you get that?’ I said because I asked for it, and I handed it to her. That should have never happened.”