The federal government has paid nearly $500,000 to the owners of the Waveland Professional Plaza over the past 18 months to house Waveland’s temporary government offices, but owners of the property have defaulted on a mortgage loan, and the plaza will be sold on June 30.
In December 2008, Waveland began moving into the newly-built plaza located behind Sonic on Highway 90.
FEMA agreed to pay rent for 14 offices, until the city built a new city hall and government annex facility on Coleman Avenue.
FEMA agreed to pay $339,979 a year for the city to use the 1,700 square-foot plaza, FEMA Spokesman Eugene Brezany said Thursday.
Virtually all of the city’s government offices, except the fire department, are located at the plaza.
FEMA agreed to fund the move because the city had been operating in a cluster of trailers on Coleman Avenue.
The former trailer site is now where the new Waveland Library is being constructed.
The plaza was completed after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2007, developer Johnny Neumeyer secured a $1.5 million deed of trust with BankCorp South of Gulfport to develop the plaza.
After completing construction of the plaza, Neumeyer pitched it to the Waveland Board of Aldermen as a one-stop shop capable of handling all of the city’s needs until its government facilities could be rebuilt.
The board approved the move from Coleman Avenue in December 2008, and signed a 12-month lease with the Waveland Professional Plaza LLC.
FEMA agreed to reimburse the rent payments to the city.
The city has continued to occupy the plaza for the past 18 months, but recently, the bank filed a notice of trustee’s sale saying the plaza owners have defaulted on the $1.5 million loan.
The plaza will be sold at auction on the steps of the Hancock County Courthouse on June 30.
Waveland City Attorney Gary Yarborough said he was not made aware of the foreclosure situation until Thursday, but he does not believe it will immediately impact the city.
“I don’t know what is going on with them and their lender, but regardless, it is not going to affect our lease,” Yarborough said.
The city is currently building a new city hall, government annex, and police department.
All of those projects, however, have just begun and it may take more than a year before the city can move into its permanent homes.
FEMA has previously said it will fund the city’s temporary quarters as long as the prices are reasonable and warranted
BY: Dwayne Bremer
The Sea Coast Echo