King’s Landing in Fort Pierce Could Get a New Developer

King’s Landing in Fort Pierce could get a new developer, which could restart the long-awaited construction project at the city’s old power plant. The developer, Harbert Realty Services, is based in Alabama.

Harbert is one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the Southeast. Harbert Reality was brought into the King’s Landing project after city commissioners expressed discontent with Audubon Development’s progress.

The City of Fort Pierce and Audubon have had numerous ongoing disputes. In May 2024, local journalists reported that Fort Pierce and the local developer were going head to head in a meeting to determine the future of the King’s Landing development. Today, the city hopes a new developer will take the reins, and it’s possible that King’s Landing in Fort Pierce could get a new developer.

kings landing fort pierce sketch

Sketch of King’s Landing in Fort Pierce (Source: Audubon)

Fort Pierce’s Broken Agreement with Audubon Development

The city has had concerns over deadlines that the developer still needs to meet. In April 2024, Fort Pierce officials gave Dale Matteson, the president and chief executive officer of Audubon Development, a forty-five-day extension to meet deadlines associated with the project. Local commissioners were concerned because Matteson had missed deadlines at multiple stages of the project. Audubon’s missed deadlines count as a breach of contract, leaving the development hanging in the balance. The city gave Audubon a default notice, which Audubon disputed.

Dale Matteson stated that they haven’t met deadlines because they have to remediate the site where construction would happen. Matteson stated that city officials misled the development company into believing the site was clean and ready for construction. Audubon states that they were misled to believe that the power plant was completely removed, but when construction started, the developer hit a concrete foundation and halted the process.

According to Matteson, remediation of the site is interfering with the city’s deadlines. Audubon also surprised the city by presenting a $1 million fee for cleaning the site. In 2020, the city expected to spend $170K to make the site clean enough for the project to move forward. The hefty cleaning fee is another point of frustration for city officials in Fort Pierce. The City Commission also expressed concern about Audubon’s financial ability to complete the project. If a new developer takes over the King’s Landing project, city officials will have renewed confidence in the financial ability to complete King’s Landing.

kings landing land in fort pierce florida

Will Audubon and Harbert Agree to Work Together on King’s Landing?

Fort Pierce doesn’t know if Auduon and Habert will work together on King’s Landing, but city officials hope that Audubon will hand over the project to the new developer. The lot where construction was supposed to occur has been empty for over four years. Commissioners are cautious about rejecting the contract with Audubon because the city doesn’t want to spend time in litigation with the developer. They are also concerned that if things don’t work out with Audubon, it could deter future developers from wanting to work with the city. If an agreement between Audubon and Habert isn’t reached, Fort Pierce may have to start a legal battle with the developer to reclaim the land.

The City Commission voted to give Audubon Development 45 days to create an agreement that hands over control of the project to Harbert Realty Services. The new agreement and joint venture would include building schedules and payment plans. If Audubon and Harbert agree to the terms, Harbert would become the primary developer, with a 55% stake. Audubon would have a 45% stake. City officials would happily welcome an agreement, as it would save taxpayers the potential cost of a legal battle with Audubon and allow the site to proceed with development.

Audubon Development and the Coast Guard House

King’s Landing Fort Pierce isn’t the only project that Audubon is currently working on. The developer is also working with Indian River State College to restore the historic Coast Guard House on Hutchinson Island. The building was the home of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, but the college evicted the organization.

Now, it wants to build a bed-and-breakfast and event space. The space would serve as a wedding venue and even a cigar bar. A water taxi would connect the site to the mainland. The developer would create a 20-slip boat dock and a 75-foot dock on the north side of the property for the water taxi. The renovation of the Coast Guard House is expected to take two years to complete.

kings landing fort pierce rendering

Rendering of King’s Landing in Fort Pierce, Florida (Source: Audubon)

King’s Landing: Transforming Fort Pierce and the Surrounding Region

The former H.D. King power plant site, located at 311 Indian River Drive, can become an incredible residential, retail, and commercial space that brings more jobs, potentially a future Brightline station, and modernity to Fort Pierce. Local officials pondered the possibility of turning the old power plant into a retail and residential space. The Fort Pierce City Commission moved forward with those plans when they selected Audubon Development to help them construct the vision. The vision of the King’s Landing Fort Pierce development is an innovative and beautiful space that contains 116 residential units, 106 condos, ten townhomes, a 140-room hotel and restaurant, retail, and a parking garage.

King’s Landing is expected to be a pedestrian-friendly and modern space with unique residences, a boutique-style hotel, and a community-focused area that expands Downtown Fort Pierce. The site is located across from the Fort Pierce City Marina and will add to the city’s charm. The King’s Landing development is not only meaningful to Fort Pierce but could have a positive impact on the region.

Fort Pierce business owners and residents are waiting to see what will happen with the development. Most residents hope the city can work things out and move forward. Local business owners also want the project to progress and bring new residents and tourists to the area. For locals, the project will offer new jobs and career opportunities. The Treasure Coast has worked hard over the last several years to increase tourism and economic development. King’s Landing would be a welcome addition to the area.

kings landing fort pierce

When Will Construction Start on the King’s Landing Project?

The city’s development project has had a lengthy timeline for King’s Landing. Fort Pierce initially awarded Dale Matteson and his company Audubon Development a contract in 2019. The developer received a title to the land in 2022. Construction was supposed to begin in 2023. Hundreds of trucks arrived at the development site, but construction was halted.

The construction was supposed to happen in three phases, and the city officials are upset that Audubon has missed the deadlines for Phase 1. The initial project plan was to complete construction in 2026, but delays have pushed the completion date to 2029. The city expects the hotel to be constructed first and completed in 2027.

If the city can’t work out a new deal with Audubon, the site could sit undeveloped for three years while Fort Pierce has litigation with the developer. In April 2024, Dale Matteson told local journalists he was still ready to proceed with the project. Audubon’s president stated that his company wanted to make King’s Landing work and have a path forward. He is hoping that the City Commission will reset the development timelines. Mayor Linda Hudson stated that the development project had gone on far too long and that the city was working hard to bring the project back on track.

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