Beaufort’s Port of Port Royal Back on the Market


Port of Port Royal back on the market after buyer pulls out of $25.9 million sale

March 19, 2008


Port of Port Royal buyers today backed out of a $25.9 million sale agreement with the State Ports Authority to redevelop the 316-acre site at the end of Paris Avenue, citing inability to gather necessary funds.

Port Royal Harbour LLC’s due diligence period expired Monday, the third extension since February. The port’s sale already has been pushed back more than a year from the original deadline set by the state legislature.

“That sale terminated,” said Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller. “The current contract has ended, and the property is on the market.”

Miller said the Ports Authority is eager to restart marketing efforts to sell and develop the land. The last ship has called at the Port of Port Royal and the last Ports Authority employee at the site was relocated within the last week, Miller said.

“We also believe there’s interest in the land, and we look forward to advancing the sale,” Miller said.

Tom Gardo, who represents Port Royal Harbour, said in a news release Tuesday that the company couldn’t afford the property in the time allotted.

“Port Royal Harbour and its financial partners were fully prepared to move forward, but unfortunately in the chaos of today’s financial markets across the United States, the parties were not able to secure the kind of funding necessary to complete the transaction,” he said.

“At this point, they have exhausted all of their resources and cannot meet the extended deadlines which were established. The principals, David Staley and Scott Schmidt, deeply regret the unfortunate financial circumstances which have culminated in this termination of their efforts.”

Gardo wrote that the instability of financial markets have made it virtually impossible to complete a transaction of this magnitude and the complexity of issues involved.

Town leaders said the news left them wondering what would become of the property that many believe will be the motor that will drive the town’s business economy.

“I’m disappointed the deal didn’t go through,” Mayor Sam Murray said. “So many people are depending on the development of the port and increased traffic for their businesses.”

Town Council member Vernon DeLoach said the sale falling through leaves in limbo the shrimpers using the 11th Street dock, who hinged their bets on the sale and a deal with Port Royal Harbour to keep the industry going.

“I don’t know where we’re going to go from here. Every day they delay (the sale) it’s going to cost us (time until the port is developed and revenue begins flowing in),” DeLoach said.

Town officials say Port Royal is waiting to find out what the Ports Authority has planned for the port since the sale has fallen through, since the town is at the mercy of both the buyers and Ports Authority.

“At this point I don’t know why (the deal fell through),” Van Willis, town manager, said.

Miller said the Ports Authority is re-enlistingthe help of NAI Avant, a Columbia-based marketing firm, to find a new buyers.

Tom Davis, Gov. Mark Sanford’s chief of staff and a former Ports Authority board member, said the governor is urging the authority to be expeditious in finding another buyer.

“We are very disappointed,” Davis said.”Gov. Sanford signed a bill four years ago directing the Ports Authority to sell this property so that it could be redeveloped as a part of the revitalized downtown area, and folks in the town are understandably disappointed that this hasn’t happened yet.

“The governor has asked the Ports Authority to take immediate steps to find a qualified purchaser for the property.”

In 2005, the state legislature directed the Ports Authority to shut down and sell the property by the end of 2006. The Ports Authority failed to sell the port by the 2006 deadline. In a March 2007 round of bidding for the property, bids were short of the appraised $25 million. That summer, the Ports Authority teamed up with NAI Avant to market and sell the property. And in November 2007, Port Royal Harbour, through negotiations with NAI Avant, entered into an agreement to buy the port property for $25.9 million.


This link will take you to the listing information provided by NAI Avant.


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