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07 May 2014

$40 Million Proposed Development in Brunswick, Georgia Now On Sale for $15 Million

If one needs evidence on how the economy has struggled since 2008, then look no further than the Liberty Harbor project in Brunswick, Georgia.

"Liberty Harbor was well on its way – 1,500 condos on 40 acres ready with a lift station and marina permits and plans to grow to 153 acres – then a year ago it just vanished,” former Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson said in a 2011 interview with Georgia Trend magazine [Young (2011). Brunswick/Golden Isles: Basking in the Glow. Georgia Trend. Retrieved on 7 May 2014.].

(Artist rendering of the proposed Liberty Harbor project in Brunswick. Image courtesy Liberty Harbor)
In the spring of 2008, hopes were high for the Liberty Harbor (shown right) development, a more than one hundred acre project on the deep waters of the Brunswick River, with plans for 1,800 residences, a 400-room hotel, 300,000 square feet of commercial space, a marina and more.

But the timing couldn't have been worse, with the economy already starting to deteriorate leading up to the financial crash that would accelerate in the succeeding months. Now -- the current owners are seeking to sell the property for $15 million.

"The developers had secured $40 million to make Liberty Harbor a reality, but we all know what happened next. Credit dried up, and in the next few months, we saw one financial giant after another fall, and the stock markets collapsed," said broker Stephen Karbelk, who has been retained to market the property, now owned by Harbor Lenders Holding Company LLC, a consortium of lenders.

"It was a great idea and still is, but nothing on that scale could swim against the tide of the financial and credit meltdown. Now we're in a favorable environment in which the right investors can fulfill their own vision for a fraction of the investment the original developers had in it," Karbelk continued.

Liberty Harbor was supposed to complement Downtown Brunswick. Now the land sits vacant as a shrine to what could have been, if the bottom had not fallen out of the market.