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Opinion

Better than nothing

OPINION OF THE SUNCOAST
Published:   |   Updated: June 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM

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In real estate, as most other markets, the guiding principle is buy low, sell high. In the case of the city of New Port Richey’s ownership of the Hacienda, the downtown former hotel, the best advice probably is sell. Period.

This week, Yaakov and Abraham Rosner, the father-son team behind the company Florida Motel Inc. told city officials they still want to redevelop the Hacienda and turn it into a boutique hotel. As part of the deal they want to buy the pink stucco relic of the 1920s Florida land boom-bust. They are offering $2 million, which is roughly $500,000 less than the city paid for the building 10 years ago.

The city bought the Hacienda and several other pieces of property in and around downtown in the middle of the last decade in anticipation of a redevelopment program that was scuttled by the post-2007 real estate crash in Florida and the nationwide financial crisis and resulting recession. For a time, it looked as if the debt hangover from those purchases was posing a severe risk to the city. Finance Director Peter Altman now says the debt situation is no longer ominous, but the city should get rid of the downtown land holdings in as prudent a manner as possible.

Florida Motel Inc. does not have a long list of redevelopment projects, but if the Rosners are willing to pay up front, city officials should seriously consider their offer, especially since no one else has a credible deal on the table. If nothing else, selling would get the Hacienda generating property tax revenue for the city.

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