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WINTER HAVEN, FL-For profit or non-profit–that’s the crucial issue involved in the pending sale of Cypress Gardens, a 67-year-old, 176-acre internationally known, water-themed attraction here, 60 miles south of Downtown Orlando. The park closed April 13 after attendance had fallen to about 150,000 per year.

Backing a non-profit enterprise, Gov. Jeb Bush and his three-member cabinet have voted to place the shuttered park on the Florida Forever projects list and provide funds to buy the development rights for the 176 acres, but not the actual park.

That’s the latest action in the four-month-old negotiations between at least two well-known developers and other so-far unidentified buyer prospects, Polk County area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Disclosed for the first time, however, is a 30-day contract the Trust For Public Land of Washington, DC has signed with the park’s owner, First Gardens LC, to buy 107 acres of the park for an estimated $8 million, or about $73,913 per acre ($1.70 per sf). The Trust has until Oct. 1 to do a deal with park principals Larry Maxwell and William Reynolds. The 67 remaining acres, not part of the deal, are largely used for excess parking, a Trust representative says.

According to area brokers, if the Trust does the deal, it would first sell a conservation easement to the state and then sell title to the land to either a for-profit or non-profit development group.

Two developers watching the scenario unfold are David A. Siegel, chairman of Orlando-based Central Florida Investments Inc., the $300 million timeshare company that owns the Westgate Resorts chain, and Kent Buescher, president and majority owner of Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta, GA.

Siegel previously offered to buy the park for $17 million, an asking price the owners had earlier placed on the property. After buying the park, Siegel would either transfer ownership to the state or hold title to the land and turn over all earned revenue to the state, his associates previously told GlobeSt.com.

Buescher hasn’t disclosed what he has offered but has told the owners he plans a commercial attraction on the site.

Meanwhile, park owners Maxwell and Reynolds already have contracted with an undisclosed buyer to sell 10 acres in the park along Cypress Gardens Boulevard for $5.4 million, or about $540,000 per acre ($12.40 per sf), according to former State Sen. Rick Dantzler who heads a local group of merchants dedicated to saving the park from commercial redevelopment.

Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the state would have to pay at least 5% over the $5.4 million contract price to buy the 10 acres after the initial deal is done.

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