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The wastewater treatment facility sits 8.37 acres on the southern bank of Lake Monroe, near Downtown Sanford.
The wastewater treatment facility sits 8.37 acres on the southern bank of Lake Monroe, near Downtown Sanford. (CPH Engineering)

A Lake Mary developer has an interesting proposition for the City of Sanford – he wants to buy the city's northern waste water treatment facility.

Ashley Ansara, a veterinarian who has built and sold several professional buildings in Seminole County through his firm Ansara Holding Corporation, Inc, has proposed buying the Sanford facility for $3 million. The city would then pay for waste water services from Ansara.

The waste water treatment facility occupies 8.37 acres on the southern bank of Lake Monroe, near Downtown Sanford. City leaders and residents have long lamented its location on such a prime piece of real estate.

Ansara's interest in the property is two-fold. First, he wants to relocate the plant within three to five years so he can redevelop the land for residential and commercial uses.

"That location is not really suited for such a facility," Ansara told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "My plan is to move it from that location because that land should really be developed for retail and residential."

Second, he wants to build a technologically-advanced sewer plant and operate it to repay his investors.

"The equipment in that facility is very old, it's very old technology," he continued. "We would use the latest technology."

Preliminary studies to relocate the plant several miles to the west at Seminole County's Yankee Lake facility have put the cost at nearly $100 million. There would also be costs unknown at this time to clean up the site for redevelopment.

As part of his proposal, Ansara wants Sanford leaders to agree to help him secure tax-free bonds to finance the relocation. Ansara says he and his private investors would earn their money back by selling waste water services to the city.

"Our service would be much cheaper, because we would be using better technology," he said.

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On Monday night, the City Commission directed city manager Norton Bonaparte to create an informal committee comprised of city utility staff, representatives from CPH Engineers (the city's engineering firm), and city finance department staff to explore the offer.

Questions they'll have to answer are how much a relocation would cost consumers, and how the city would handle existing bonds on the plant from a state revolving fund. Those funds have a low interest rate because it's a public utility, and not a private one.

If commissioners accept Ansara's proposal, he said he would be willing to close on the deal within 45 days.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at gnip@me.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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