Portage evaluates Marina Shores potential

2012-05-02T18:30:00Z Portage evaluates Marina Shores potentialBy Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | When the developers of Marina Shores at Dune Harbor first proposed their residential and marina project some seven years ago, they painted a picture of relaxed, upscale living close to Lake Michigan.

But the development never really set sail.

Plagued by lawsuits, a stagnant economy and financial woes, the development never became what was envisioned.

Now the city is giving some indications it may be interested in the development, which is owned by Schererville-based Brant Construction.

The Redevelopment Commission last week commissioned Ice Miller, of Chicago, to complete a financial analysis of the development and determine what is owed and to whom.

"For the last three, four, five years the project has been embroiled in a series of lawsuits. All the litigation has been resolved, and that paves the way for someone to come in there and develop it," City Attorney Gregg Sobkowski said.

The idea is to determine if the city could be in a position to acquire an interest in the development, Sobkowski said.

Ice Miller was the bond counsel for the project when the developer sought to create what was then an unique financing district using revenue bonds to finance infrastructure. The bonds were to be repaid through assessments on the property.

The city's interest in the development is OK with owner Bill Brant, who said Wednesday that he hasn't had any conversations with city officials.

"We are actively trying to get an investor to come in and buy out the bank mortgage," Brant said. "That's fine if they are trying to work with the city, but I haven't heard anything from them."

Brant said the 300-slip marina is doing well. Residential construction is not. Only six single-family homes and 16 condominium units have been constructed. Crews are working to get the restaurant open.

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