Developer, Mayor Tired Of Waiting

A land developer who formerly held contracts to purchase the old Circle G Ranch said Friday the proposed developers should "move forward or move on and let someone else have a shot at it." Dale Morrow, manager for High Pointe Investments LLC, said Friday that the proposed development touted by entrepreneur J. D. Stacy "appears to be in trouble again. It's time for him to let go and move on." Stacy, the vice president for development for Stars Resort, a proposed golf and entertainment resort to be built on 794 acres of land near Goodman Road and Miss. 301, has asked landowners for another extension to allow financing to be worked out. The 794 acres includes the 155-acre Circle G Ranch once owned by Elvis Presley. It's where Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon in 1967. The ranch property is owned by the McLemore family. An adjacent tract of 317 acres is owned by the Hugh Dancy Co. "He tried to put this together in 2001 and failed. He tried again in 2002 and failed again. He tried again in 2004 and failed again. Now he's asking for more time, but I say it's time for him to come up with the money or to get out of the way and let someone else have a crack at it," Morrow said. Morrow had a contract to purchase the Circle G Ranch and he had paid $50,000 in earnest money on the land. But he said his earnest money was returned after Stacy increased his group's offer for the land in March. "I would have thought that a bird in hand was much better than one in the bush," Morrow quipped Friday. "Obviously, that's coming true." However, he said he had hoped that Stacy and his supporters would have been successful in their plan for a $2 billion development. "Certainly that would have helped my development here at Poplar Corner," he said. Meanwhile, Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker said he's hopeful that some resolution can be reached. "We've done everything Mr. Stacy and his supporters have asked, but it's time to move on," he said. "We're not going to be tied down indefinitely." Baker said the city had accepted the county zoning of a planned unit development for the property when the city annexed the land in 2002. "Since then, we've reaffirmed the zoning and we have agreed to accept 35-story towers as part of the development. What we do not want to do is to so encumber the land with restrictions that only one developer could possibly build there," he said. Morrow said his plan for the property -- he would use only the Circle G Ranch and the Dancy tract -- would not involve high-rise buildings. "We'd have an upscale village-type residential development very likely backed by some attractive commercial buildings," he said. "The location (at Goodman and Miss. 301) is the front door for Horn Lake for people coming to the city from the casinos in Tunica. "Right now what we have is a trailer park on the north and vacant fields on the south. That's not much for a front door. Our plan would change all of that," he said. Baker, who has met privately with Morrow, said he had met with Stacy and with two principals from the investor group -- Peter Voss, president of Global Realty Development Corp., and Robert Kohn, chief financial officer and a director of the company. Global Realty Development Corp., based in Australia, is an international land development company operating through various real estate development subsidiaries. The company is primarily engaged in the acquisition and development of real estate in Australia, and intends to pursue development projects in the United States, South Africa and the Far East. It trades its stock over the counter as GRLY. Friday, the stock was valued at $1.50 a share with no trades reported. Baker said Voss and Kohn said the land purchases had been delayed because of a threatened lawsuit from Daniel DelPiano, a former associate of Stacy's. DelPiano was sentenced to five years in federal prison Aug. 11 after being convicted of attempting to defraud a Waltham, Mass., company out of $12 million. He was sentenced and taken into custody in Boston. "My idea is that if something is not done quickly, that we take the property back to the original agricultural-residential zoning and let everyone start fresh," Baker said. "I want something done. I'm tired of sitting and waiting. I don't want to hear about another 60-day extension. There have been too many extensions on this property. There's something wrong, somewhere."
Source: Commercial Appeal / Updated: Aug 21, 2005 
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