Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Outtakes—Pick a Deal

By Rick Outzen

Pretend you are the mayor of Pensacola. You are presented two real estate deals. Which deal would you choose to support?

Deal A calls for construction of a $9.4-million building and provides another $9.4 million to operate the facility for five years. The government agency would pay $50 a year to lease the land. No ad valorem taxes would be paid. The facility would employ 10-12 people.

Deal B calls for $20 million of construction for buildings on three parcels. The lease fee is $120,000 a year. Buildings on two of the parcels would pay ad valorem taxes. Over 100 jobs would be created.

Deal A is an industrial fish hatchery on Bruce Beach. School children could visit the facility and learn about the hatchery process. The plans have an option to build a pedestrian bridge to connect the site to the UWF Historic Trust’s Maritime Trail and four markers highlighting the history of the area. The city has applied for other grants to add a kayak launch on the beach.

Deal B is for the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, a $10 million, 55,000-square-foot building that would be a downtown campus for the university on parcel six of the Community Maritime Park, a conference center and Blue Wahoos training facilities on parcel nine and childcare and a sports museum on parcel three.

Deal A did not go through the request for proposal process. It was offered to only one entity. No appraisal was done. Though Bruce Beach is in the CRA, the Community Redevelopment Agency never approved the lease, as required by law.

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