Elk Run developer land dispute
Here's my take on the recent land dispute between Tower Investments, the developer of Pine Island's massive Elk Run biobusiness community, and a local farmer:
At issue is part of the farmland that Tower Investments of California is acquiring from land owners, Elmer and Judy Stock.The land is across U.S. 52 to the west from the primary 2,000 acres Tower has slated for the planned commercial, residential and biotechnology development called Elk Run. Tower describes the parcel in question as "excess agricultural land" that came with the purchase of the Stock farm.
On Tuesday, Elmer Stock, who is now divorced from Judy Stock, reportedly initiated foreclosure proceedings on a portion of the land, claiming Tower was behind in its mortgage payments to him.
Stock could not be reached to comment on this story.
Tower says the fault lies with Stock.
"The Stocks breached our mortgage agreement in 2008. We held back payment of the interest in 2009 because of that breach," said Geoff Griffin, the Elk Run project manager based in Chatfield.
Tower paid all of the outstanding interest in late 2009, when the Stocks "…promised to cooperate in the future and abide by the terms of the agreement."
But that did not last for long.
"Almost immediately they breached the agreement again. Therefore we are in this current dispute," Griffin said.
How does this land conflict affect the planned Elk Run development that includes a 1.7-million-square-foot bioscience research park, along with hotels, restaurants, stores, offices, a medical clinic and a residential neighborhood built around parks and lakes?
It doesn't, according to Tower and the Pine Island City Administrator Abraham Algadi.
"This is an issue that is private, I want to super emphasize that," says Algadi. " It is between two private parties that have no impact whatsoever on progress of the remainder of Elk Run, the interchange or the biotech park."