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London City Hall. Can you imagine this in Town Center?!?! STOCK IMAGE
Palm Coast Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 8 years ago

Revisiting City Hall, in light of $40 million sale

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by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Last week, we reported on the sale of Palm Coast Landing for $40 million. It’s not going to impact shoppers, and the buyer doesn’t have any intention of building anything new, but it is a sign that Palm Coast is increasingly on the map of the big boys of the commercial development world.

As a side note, the interview I did with Palm Coast Holdings LLC’s vice president of commercial sales, David Lusby (see Page 3A of the Jan. 12 issue), took an interesting turn. I asked him what the sale means for Town Center, thinking of all the empty lots surrounding the lake at Central Park in Town Center — and he brought up City Hall.

In his opinion, it’s hard to sell the concept of that area being the future center of Palm Coast when the city offices still are not located there — when the city has yet to commit to the area by building there itself.

The issue seems to be dead for the moment, but I wonder: Why are people so against a City Hall being built now?

We had about a dozen letters to the editor denouncing the City Council for even thinking of building a City Hall about 18 months ago, when a plan was proposed for a $10 million facility that would not require the city to go into debt.

Because there was no debt required, there was no need for a referendum. Residents voted against a $22 million City Hall project years ago, and so the idea of this one being proposed without a referendum — that didn’t go over well, to say the least, and the issue was dropped.

But looking back now, it seems a shame.

City Marketplace couldn’t be saved by city offices being located there, anyway; it is now owned by the bank. People say the city should buy City Marketplace, but that would be an embarrassing permanent City Hall, in my opinion. It’s a shopping center, not a government building.

Now, the funds that were available are mostly spoken for. It doesn’t look like the same $10 million plan would work anymore, and the window is likely closed, for now.

But picture this: If City Hall were under construction near the lake in Town Center as we speak, would that not be a great selling point for Lusby and others to expedite the development of the area — to expedite the economic recovery?

 

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