The Palm Coast City Council is set to sell to a developer corner lots at Bulldog and SR100 for almost $600,000 less than it paid for them, as an incentive and linchpin for the redevelopment of the Bulldog Drive entrance.
The Palm Coast City Council will approve doubling “contingencies” to $427,000 for the now-$5 million Bulldog Drive project, after approving change orders on the engineering contract that more than doubled the cost to $845,000.
Palm Coast agreed to pay GEA Auto owner Gus Ajram $1.15 million for his two properties on Bulldog Drive, $25,000 more than even he was asking three years ago, ending years of acrimony and clearing the way for the city to eventually (and again) widen Bulldog Drive unimpeded.
Palm Coast has never owned Bulldog Drive, a county road since 1956, though the city is widening the street, has acquired land alongside it and has engaged in an epic battle with business owner Gus Ajram as if the right of way were Palm Coast’s. City and county are speeding toward formalizing the city’s ownership.
Ajram and City Manager Jim Landon have battled over Ajram’s property on Bulldog Drive for several years, in what became a personal showdown. Rather than acquire the property, the city is now diverting Bulldog Drive, at a cost significantly greater than the difference it was unwilling to pay Ajram in negotiations.
Lack of money and traffic and the threat of a lawsuit forced Palm Coast to keep Bulldog Drive a two-lane road for now, beautifying it, but also dropping its long-running condemnation threat against property owner Gus Ajram.
Invoking eminent domain is Palm Coast’s latest plan of attack against an immigrant business owner who refuses to sell his parcels at the city’s price.
In 2004, Palm Coast declared 3,000 acres of scrub and pine forest “blighted” and in need of “redevelopment.” The Town Center “Community Redevelopment Agency” was born.