Bidders on the same parcel approved as buyers of ‘Quads’ property at Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard
What proved to be a quandary for the County Commission in March appeared headed for a resolution this week, as the County Commission approved the sale of two surplus county parcels.
On March 22, James F. Gabbert of TST Ventures LLC in Sarasota and Gerald Daws of JMDH Real Estate of Florida threw a proverbial monkey wrench into the works as they addressed the Sarasota County Commission about their respective bids for a surplus county parcel at the southwest corner of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota.
TST was offering $1.8 million; JMDH, $1,750,000. However, Gabbert’s last-minute withdrawal of a stormwater stipulation that was part of his bid altered his proposal. Although Gabbert was offering more money, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh explained, the board would have to consider the requirement to obtain stormwater or floodplain compensation as outlined by staff, “or start over, if you did not want to choose the other [bid].”
After about 40 minutes of discussion — including engagement with staff about stormwater considerations on and off the site — Commissioner Christine Robinson made the motion to start all over, this time, with an Invitation to Negotiate process in lieu of bids.
On July 12, both TST and JMDH won unanimous commission approval to purchase surplus county land referred to by staff as part of the “Quads.” The action was part of the board’s vote on its Consent Agenda of routine business items. TST Ventures was awarded the 10.3 acres that was the focus of the March 22 discussion — having offered $1.8 million again — while JMDH will purchase about 6.9 acres at the northwest quadrant of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard — paying $1,280,000 — county staff memos say.
The sales are subject to various stipulations, including the rezoning of each parcel.
The ITN the County Commission authorized on March 22 was marketed on the county’s surplus lands website for one month, beginning on April 11, a staff memo explains; the solitary proposal came from TST.
TST plans to use the property for a recycling facility and waste transfer station, the memo adds, subject to its rezoning to Industrial, Light Manufacturing and Warehousing (ILW) and the County Commission’s approval of a special exception permit. TST will be required to build an 8-foot-tall “precast decorative wall along 730 feet of Palmer Boulevard frontage and along 762 feet of frontage of Apex Road,” the memo says.
The firm has one year from the effective date of the contract, or 30 days following approval of the rezoning petition and receipt of the special exception approval — plus expiration of appeal and challenge periods — to close on the property, the memo explains. The extended period was negotiated, the memo notes, because of the anticipated amount of time needed for TST to win the necessary county approval to proceed with its project.
As for the other “Quad” parcel: The staff memo says, “Because of the interest generated on the sale of the southwest quadrant at Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard, staff moved forward and published an [ITN] on the northwest quadrant.” That was posted on May 9 and closed on June 10, the memo adds. “A representative for the respondent flew in to Sarasota from Georgia to hand deliver the proposal on June 10,” the memo notes.
JMDH plans to build a wholesale food distribution center, the memo explains, though that is subject to the rezoning of the parcel to ILW. The project is anticipated to generate about 100 new construction jobs, the memo adds. Upon completion, the center is expected to have up to 60 new full-time employees, the memo says.
In March, Daws told the commissioners he was acting on behalf of Restaurant Depot, a national wholesaler of food, supplies and equipment, which has 120 stores across the United States, including 10 in Florida. An 11th location was under construction in Fort Myers, he added.
For a little more than a year, Daws continued, he had been looking for a suitable site in Sarasota for a 65,000-square-foot facility. Based on averages reported by the existing Florida stores, Daws continued, the Sarasota location would be expected to generate gross sales tax revenue between $650,000 and $700,000 per year. Restaurant Depot already has 67 Sarasota customers who come to its Tampa store, he added; they spent $1.7 million there last year.
The closing on that property is anticipated in the spring of 2017, the memo notes. After the rezoning is completed, the memo continues, construction of the facility should take about 12 months from the time it begins.