Despite an offer by Wes Long to pay $589,200 or appraised value, whichever is higher, to develop the hotel at the City Harbor, Mayor Leigh Dollar says she intends to “stay the course” and transfer the nearly two acres of land to Patrick Lawler for $10.
It’s late in the proceedings to be considering a second offer. The Council is poised to vote on the economic development agreement at its June 20 meeting. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. in Town Hall and is open to the public. Members of the public will be able to comment on the hotel deal prior to the Council's vote.
City leaders don’t consider Long’s offer to be a legitimate offer for two reasons, city attorney Dan Warnes said.
For starters, the $50,000 “earnest money” was not attached to the offer Long delivered to City Hall. Instead, there was a check stub attached to the offer saying the earnest money had been deposited into an escrow account controlled by Long. That’s not typically how earnest money is handled, Warnes said.
The second reason is because of a clause in the contract Long offered. It essentially allows him to walk away with the earnest money if he doesn’t like the appraisal that comes back, Warnes said.
At least one Councilman, Larry Wilson, feels Long's offer changes the entire way the Council should be handling development of the hotel.
“Another developer expressing an interest in the harbor hotel project indicates the city has potential alternative paths forward," Wilson said in a statement. "The residents of Guntersville will remember for a long time the way the Council moves forward on the project. An open process with competition and a focus on fair market value should be the favored path. We should develop a solicitation, define selection criteria, requests bids, and have a robust advertisement.”