A Florida-based real estate development company has announced that it has closed a deal to purchase 95 acres of undeveloped land in Charlotte County. Attorneys representing Lost Lagoon said on Sept. 17 that the developer had already placed funds in an escrow account so the deal could move forward. According to media reports, the agreement was reached after three years of tough negotiations.

A water park and infrastructure improvements

Lost Lagoon hopes to build a water park and a downtown area on the property to attract visitors to the Murdock Village area. County officials say the developer will also build sewer and water infrastructure, lay sidewalks and make other improvements that will benefit residents and visitors alike. The deal is said to be worth about $6.7 million.

Plans must be submitted within 180 days

County officials will likely be happy that the deal has been closed and will provide water and sewer services to residents living north of Florida State Road 776. County commissioners started acquiring land in and around Murdock Village in 2003 with plans to develop the area. When private property owners were reluctant to sell, officials used eminent domain laws to compel them. The first thing Lost Lagoon must do under the terms of the agreement is rebuild and extend Toledo Blade Boulevard. The developer has 180 days to submit its plans to connect the road to two nearby state highways.

Avoiding land use disputes

Agreements like this one should be drafted carefully to avoid costly disputes over land use and zoning issues. This is why property developers may be wise to consult with experienced real estate law attorneys before signing documents to purchase undeveloped land. Attorneys could also advocate on behalf of property owners during eminent domain proceedings in court or at the negotiating table.