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Lake Commissioners postpone vote on $1.3M incentive for proposed corporate relocation

Lake County Commissioners will consider selling this 26-acre site on Independence Boulevard at a steep discount to a company planning a corporate relocation there.
Lake County Commissioners will consider selling this 26-acre site on Independence Boulevard at a steep discount to a company planning a corporate relocation there. (Lake County Property Appraiser)

The Lake County Board of Commissioners postponed Tuesday’s scheduled discussion regarding the sale of 26.34 county-owned acres in Groveland to an unnamed company that plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Lake County.

The land, located in the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park at 3080 Independence Blvd., has an assessed value of $1.985 million, or $75,000 an acre, but the proposed sale price is $661,235, or $25,103 per acre, contingent upon a final survey.

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Known only as Project TAPS, the prospective buyer has asked for confidentiality under state law. The anonymous corporation is working with Lake County’s “Elevate Lake,” an office of the Board of Commissioners focused on job growth as well as retention and attraction of new businesses. The applicant’s attorney asked the board to move the item to its Aug. 10 meeting agenda.

The sale requires that within 18 months the buyer will employ 130 people with at least 60 positions paying a minimum of $59,000. Of the 130 employees, at least 90 of the positions will be new positions. The proposal also requires that 90 of the new positions be available to Lake County residents. The sale requires that the positions are kept for at least 10 years.

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Other requirements include that the company make a total investment of $2 million within two years and that it will create jobs that include vocational and college-degreed positions.

Under the proposal, the unnamed corporation will provide the county with an “Irrevocable Letter of Credit” for $1,323,765, which represents the difference in the purchase price and the property’s appraised value. The letter is meant to guarantee that the company meets the terms of the agreement.

Brandon Matulka, Executive Director of the county’s Agency for Economic Prosperity, said that under a confidentiality agreement with the company he cannot discuss any details until the commission brings the item up for discussion.

The Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park is located on U.S. Highway 27 at the crossroads of State Road 19 and Florida’s Turnpike. The land was purchased by the county in the 1980s following catastrophic freezes that wiped out the citrus industry in the area. The county purchased the land to develop an industrial park. Other companies currently in the park include Kroger-Ocado, Domino’s Distribution Center, Metals USA, Carroll Fulmer Trucking, and Peri Formwork Systems.

The Project Taps site is directly north of the Niagara Water and Dunkin Donuts warehouses, both located on American Way.

The Villages Development Company plans to start construction this year on the first phase of a 15-year, $100 million wellness district.

Orlando’s Hanover Land Company broke ground July 12 on a new 425,000-square-foot spec industrial building across from the new Kroger fulfillment center.

Lake County officials are also set to vote on rebate incentive package for a $100 million mixed-use development planned by The Villages Development Company. The wellness-themed town center will have an emphasis in the healthcare industry and includes construction of a regional hospital.

The Villages expansion project is located on 435 acres at the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and C-470. The project straddles the Lake County/Sumter County line with approximately 240 acres located within Lake County and 195 acres located within Sumter County. The Project will be anchored by the regional hospital and will include a mix of ancillary uses across a variety of targeted industries including healthcare, translational science, research, academic, regional retail and commercial facilities, and residential.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to include the results of the July 27 meeting.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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