Harrison County

D'Iberville sells Ocean Expo land back to Mandal

D'IBERVILLE -- Robert Mandal Jr. beat Saturday's deadline to close the deal and buy back the Ocean Expo site from D'Iberville.

City Manager Bobby Eleuterius said the transaction with Mandal's Ramco Real Estate LLC took place Wednesday and 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 $1,137,134 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 $3,535,000 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.