PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A deal to sell the bankrupted Digital Domain property in Port St. Lucie has abruptly fallen apart, according to city officials. The facility, located in the Tradition development, has been vacant for months. With a potential buyer stopping the deal from proceeding, the building will remain vacant indefinitely.
It is the harsh reality for the people of Port St. Lucie, who just found out their city has taken yet another economic blow. The deal to sell to Vero Beach resident Richard Friedberg was supposed to be finalized Friday. Friedberg had previously offered the city $14 million for the building. It is unclear why the deal was not completed.
"We see our property taxes going up maintaining empty buildings," said Port St. Lucie resident Linda Erendson. "I for one am really sick and tired of it," she said.
Some residents are placing blame on elected officials who helped entice Digital Domain to the area years ago. The digital production company filed for bankruptcy in Septmeber 2012.
Selling the property would have alleviated some financial burden for the city, which has been left responsible for debt payments on nearly $40 million issued in bonds.
"If no one goes in that building, we're footing that bill," said resident Frank Carapazza. "The city of Port St. Lucie is on the hook for millions of dollars as it is and now the residents are left holding the bag."
"I think in five years it's going to be a beautiful building that is dilapidated," said Erendson.
WPTV NewsChannel 5 requested comment from Interim City Manager Jeff Bremer about the city's next course of action and about the immediate future of the former Digital Domain property. Bremer was not available for comment on Friday.