County approves Murdock Village proposal
The developers behind a proposed $200 million project to convert a section of Murdock Village into a bustling arts-and-entertainment district have moved one step forward in a long process that officials hope will breathe life into the area.
At Tuesday’s Charlotte County Commission meeting, commissioners accepted a proposal from Main Stage LLC to develop 100 acres of the Murdock Village community redevelopment area into a music-themed district complete with 400,000 square feet of theater space, 240,000 square feet of commercial space and 500 multifamily units. The entertainment district would be modeled after a similar concept developed in Branson, Mo., which draws millions in tourism dollars each year, officials said.
The commission’s action Tuesday was largely a formality, said Charlotte County Economic Development director Tom Patton, since no other prospective entities submitted proposals to redevelop Murdock Village. By law, the county had to give a 30-day public notice to potential bidders.
“Basically, what we did was open it up to the world and said bring us your ideas and proposals,” Patton said. “No one (other than Main Stage) submitted anything. So what the commission did was officially accepted their proposal.”
Under the proposed plan, the county will allow Main Stage to develop 100 acres of county-owned land within Murdock Village if the developer is able meet the criteria outlined within the 18-month timeline the commission previously approved.
At the meeting Tuesday, the commission also voted to refinance a
$49 million loan that remains outstanding for the county’s acquisition of Murdock Village, a deal that has generated harsh criticism from taxpayers.
According to County Administrator Ray Sandrock, the county has paid about $120 million for the property, which has sat idle for the last 10 years waiting to be developed.