- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (AP) - The original owner of the land which was purchased by the city of D’Iberville to building the Ocean Expo has beat Saturday’s deadline to close the deal and buy back the site.

City Manager Bobby Eleuterius tells The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1SpNlUw) the transaction with Robert Mandal Jr.’s Ramco Real Estate LLC took place Wednesday. He says the city intends to pay off what remains on the $4 million bond for the proposed aquarium site.

The bond was to be repaid with a surcharge on admission to the aquarium. When it wasn’t built, D’Iberville taxpayers made the payments of $1.1 million in principle and interest over three years until the site was sold.

According to a press release issued by the city Monday, D’Iberville owes $3.5 million on the bond.

The final sale price was $6.8 million.

As part of the deal, Mandal sold his auto dealership, appraised at $2 million, to the city.

Eleuterius said Mandal will lease the building at fair market value from D’Iberville for a year while he builds two new dealerships on the former Ocean Expo site at the intersection of interstates 10 and 110.

The two dealerships are expected to generate $600,000 in annual sales tax revenue and create 40 jobs.

“These revenue projections are better than the projections for the aquarium by nearly double,” the press release said.

Once Mandal moves his dealership, the building on Automall Parkway will becomes the city’s new public works facility.

Eleuterius said D’Iberville is speaking to those interested in leasing or buying the current public works building once the department moves.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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