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Date of Issue: August 20, 2008

Tidemark found some rocks in its tide

When original Tidemark developer Nick Easterling first obtained site-plan approval from the city commission in August 2001, following a number of contentious and stormy public meetings, he then said he expected to begin construction within six months and units would sell for about $250,000.

But when Island property sale prices climbed by 20 to 30 percent annually between 2001 and 2004, Easterling opted to wait for higher prices, a decision that would prove fateful for the project’s financial backers.

With Easterling continuing to predict almost daily that the start of construction was just a “few weeks away,” six months dragged on for three years, and Tidemark never reached its required 50 percent pre-sale requirement for construction financing.

Faced with mounting monetary difficulties, Easterling filed for bankruptcy in January 2004. As part of the bankruptcy settlement, Tidemark was taken over by Reliance Property Group in 2005, and Easterling left the management team.

But the new owners were stung by a plummeting real estate market, particularly for condominiums. Demand along with prices fell dramatically between 2005 and 2007, while the inventory of available units rose accordingly.

It’s only been in the past few months that the market has stabilized, according to seasoned Island sales agents and prices and sales have slowly begun to rise.

With seven years in the waiting, the Tidemark Marina Resort now appears ready to achieve the lofty goals Easterling predicted in August 2001, according to its representatives.