Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, the City Council voted to purchase a waterfront property City Hall has been eyeing for years. Council members voted to authorize the purchase of 0 Prince Street and 200 Strand Street for $2.8 million.
“This has been a goal of the city for decades,” said Mark Jinks, assistant city manager. “This a major step in the long-term plans for the waterfront.”
The parcels are now occupied by several buildings, a parking lot and a dining cruise ship operation. City leaders plan to initiate the planning process in the spring, with current activity on the property continuing for one year.
“So, in other words, the status is quo for one year,” said former Mayor Frank Mann, who owns part of the parking lot not purchased by the city. “What happens after that? Is the parking lot shut down? Is the pier closed?”
Mann said that he’s concerned about eradication of businesses on the waterfront.
“Now that they have it, what are they going to do? You don’t go out and buy a piece of property if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it,” said Mann, who has owned the property since 1970. “This is just another example of what I consider extremely poor planning.”