Hotel, restaurant to be built at old Glades Inn site

County agrees to sell 5 acres for $60,000

MOORE HAVEN — The commissioners of Glades County voted 4-1 at their regular meeting Monday, July 23, to accept the only plan they received after issuing a request for proposals for development of the former site of the Glades Inn.

A one-year-old company known as New Moore Haven LLC, based in Dania Beach, submitted a proposal that it would take the 5-acre property off the county’s hands for $60,000 and construct five units of workforce housing, a four-unit professional office or retail outlet building, a 160-seat restaurant and a three-story, 86-unit hotel.

The principals of the New Moore Haven limited-liability corporation are listed as Tommy Kertesz and Hugo Moreira. They also agreed to pay a settlement or closing fee of up to $150, plus the actual cost of any mortgage recording fee. Glades County agrees to pay remaining closing costs, including any taxes due as of the closing date, any existing mortgage and/or lien costs, any commissions and title costs; and to deliver a fully executed warranty deed, abstract and title insurance for the land cost, with closing to occur within 180 days.

New Moore Haven LLC’s proposal states that the purchaser intends to develop the site with a branded hotel/motel, franchise family-casual dining restaurant and a strip mall office/retail building on the land, located at 1100 S. U.S. 27 in Moore Haven. A piece of land that is not contiguous with the bulk of the property, just behind the dead end of Cactus Avenue, would be the site of the workforce housing units.

Their proposal further says that the developer intends to purchase a hotel/motel franchise within 240 days, with construction starting within a year and its completion within two years.

Interim county manager Joe Helfenberger presented the proposal in what was his last meeting of a short tenure in Glades County; he’s accepted a position in Lake City, and his last day with the county was Thursday, July 26. County Board Chairman John Ahern said he thought “the site plan looks good.”

Commissioner Donna Storter Long said the county’s contract with the developer has protection “built in for what we want there” and that New Moore Haven LLC would have to conform to those needs.

On board with the plan were Commissioners Weston Pryor (“Give them a shot”) and Tim Stanley, with the latter remarking, “I’m all for selling it.”

But Commissioner Donald Strenth, who ended up voting “no” on Commissioner Pryor’s motion to approve the proposal, said he thought his fellow commissioners were in too big of a hurry to sell the tract and were almost “giving it away” for a price of just $12,000 per acre. Mr. Strenth said he thought perhaps the county should study the proposal first and make a counteroffer, calling New Moore Haven LLC’s proposal a “heck of a bargain” for the company.

But Mr. Stanley countered by saying, “This is going to be something that draws business,” noting that the developer will be under contract to build the restaurant and hotel and that, even if New Moore Haven LLC eventually sells the property to someone else, the county still will have a new hotel and restaurant.

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