A contract to sell city property to retail developer Hunt Properties was put on hold Tuesday to iron out contract details.
Hunt offered $500,000 to buy five acres near Cleveland and Garriott to go along with a multi-property acquisition being orchestrated by the city of Enid to buy about two dozen homes and businesses in the Lahoma Courts Addition at the southeast corner of the intersection.
The five acres contain a fire station and grassy area used informally as a park. The city is building a replacement fire station on South Hoover.
At Tuesday’s Enid City Commission meeting, Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell, an attorney, pointed out several parts of the real estate contract he wants beefed up before agreeing to the sale. Without a master development agreement overseeing the entire project, he said, there are hypothetical situations that would be unfavorable for the city.
“If Hunt closes the deal, at that point they can turn around and sell this to whoever they want to without us having any recourse,” Ezzell said. “Hunt has told us all this great stuff they want to do, but there’s no commitment on paper for them to do it.”
Hunt Properties wants to develop the land into a retail outlet containing one or several stores that have not yet been publicly identified. About half the land in the targeted area already was owned by a local developer, who is handing it off to Hunt. The city agreed to use its power to buy up the rest of the properties.
Hunt has agreed to pay back the city the costs associated with buying the land, which could be more than $3 million.
Ezzell also asked the city attorney to put into writing the guarantee that Hunt will pursue high-caliber retailers.
City Manager Eric Benson encouraged commissioners to temper their worries, and said Hunt is the right developer for the job.
“Even if Hunt were to get hit by a meteor tomorrow and die, there are at least three other entities lined up wanting to develop that. That is the premier retail space in Enid,” he said. “It has inherent value just like our downtown area that we now own.”
Neither Benson nor City Attorney Andrea Chism believe the changes would be contentious.
In their meeting, commissioners agreed to buy four properties in Lahoma Courts for approximately $321,800.