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Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 11:44am

Coastal Development Deal Reached

The city of St. Mary's now has ownership stake in one of the coast's largest and most controversial development projects.

The site of a closed paper mill in Saint Mary's was to be transformed into an upscale residential community called Cumberland Harbor, fit with a thousand new homes and two large marinas.

But the marinas ended up in court over environmental concerns.

Then the development went bankrupt in the housing bust.

Now the city's reach a deal to get the project started after 18 months of delays.

Mayor Bill DeLoughy says, the news will put some people back to work.

I think we'll get stuff on the tax rolls. People who want to build houses will be able to build their houses now. And we'll be able to sell it and make it a marketable community. Right now, it's dead in the water.

A company official says, construction will begin soon, an often-heard phrase in the housing bust.

DeLoughy says, this time, there's a real incentive for it.

"Any time you do anything there's risk," DeLoughy says. "What we've done is work to minimize the risk."

Under the deal, if the new developer, Orlando-based Catalyst Development, doesn't build, the city will take possesion of valuable waterfront property.