The 22-acre City Center development site in Port St. Lucie (Credit: Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

A firm based in South Florida plans to acquire 22 acres of distressed real estate in Port St. Lucie for commercial development.

Hollywood-based Biscayne Atlantic, led by principal David Garfinkle, plans to acquire the property for the development of a hotel, apartments, and spaces for restaurants and retail stores.

Garfinkle apparently has the 22-acre property at U.S. Highway 1 and Walton Road under a purchase contract.

His Hollywood-based firm plans to revive a slow-moving mixed-use development in Port St. Lucie called City Center.

Lily Zhong, a Chinese businesswoman, acquired the 22-acre City Center site in January 2015.

But 10 months later, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Zhong made false and misleading statements while recruiting investors for a commercial property she claimed to be developing at the City Center site.

Zhong never built anything at the site, and the SEC has seized it, and plans to sell it.

The property’s market value is $5.5 million, according to appraiser records.

Michael Goldberg, the SEC receiver in charge of the City Center site, told Port St. Lucie Mayor Greg Oravec in a letter that he expects “to finalize the contract with Mr. Garfinkle and culminate a sale of the City Center to him … as quickly as possible.” [TCPalm.com] – Mike Seemuth


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