State agrees to sell Southport Marina

Posted January 5

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— The North Carolina Council of State unanimously voted Tuesday to sell the 46-acre Southport Marina to the company that has operated it since 2006.

Preston Development of Cary, operating as Southport Marina Inc., has maintained the marina as part of a 15-year lease that has two 10-year renewal options. The company will pay $5.25 million to own the property outright.

Although officials said more than 20 companies and individuals inquired about the property, Southport Marina was the only one to submit a formal bid.

Gov. Pat McCrory said there were likely not more bids because of the long-term lease. Ed Church, director of real estate for the Ports Authority, confirmed that notion.

"Most of the interested parties wanted to own and operate," Church told the Council of State.

The council is made up of North Carolina's 10 statewide elected officials, including the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner. The Ports Authority agreed to the sale in December. Money from the sale will go toward improvements at other state ports facilities.

As a condition of the sale, council members said Southport Marina Inc must maintain public access points currently available at the facility.

In 2006, maneuvering in advance of the long-term lease agreement led to ethics questions about then-Gov. Mike Easley. The Democrat faced allegations he tried to give control of the marina to political supporters. A state ethics complaint was eventually dismissed.


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