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GFC Accepts Transfer of 1,223 acres

Post Date:06/29/2018 4:36 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Government Finance Corp Accepts Transfer of 1,223 acres from Tradition Land Company

The City of Port St. Lucie accepted the transfer of 1,223 acres of land from Tradition Land Company utilizing the Port St. Lucie Government Finance Corp (GFC), Thursday, June 28, 2018 GFC is a nonprofit organization owned and controlled by the City. GFC has a greater range of authority for the kind of uses anticipated for the Tradition Commerce Center. Board members consist of City Council.

The transfer agreement included allocations and deed restrictions to the property under the following terms. 

The property will be allocated, and deed restricted so that the uses permitted shall not exceed:

    • 786 multi-family residential units,
    • 900 apartment units,
    • 2,582,851 square feet of retail development, 
    • 4,296,480 square feet of R&D/office development, 
    • 3,838,336 square feet of warehouse/industrial development 
    • 240 hotel units
    • GFC will have the right to shift uses as permitted under the conversion matrix set forth in the Southern Grove Development of Regional Impact (DRI).

At a previous City Council meeting on March 29, Port St. Lucie City Council voted to conceptually accept transfer, subject to due diligence, to maintain control of its long-term vision for a jobs corridor along Interstate 95 and to help achieve economic prosperity for the City.

The Southern Grove property is subject to six CDDs, which are called the Southern Grove Community Development Districts Nos. 1-6. A CDD is an independent special district, created pursuant to, and existing under, the provisions of Chapter 190, Florida Statutes.  A CDD offers a means of providing the financing and management of major infrastructure systems and services to support the development of new communities. A CDD is a unit of local government like a county or city, although it does not have the regulatory powers of a county or city.

Legal counsel recommended that title to the property should be taken by Port St. Lucie Governmental Finance Corporation to preserve voting rights under the Community Development Districts because under Chapter 190, Florida Statutes, a governmental entity shall not be counted as a landowner and does not have voting rights and need not be notified of CDD proceedings.

“We’re building something special in PSL; and, to continue realizing our great promise, we have to build our economy up from a strong foundation of high-quality education and high-paying jobs,” said Mayor Oravec. “With four miles of running frontage along I-95 bookended by two fully constructed interchanges and located at the midpoint between the South and Central Florida metro areas, the fully-entitled Southern Grove is the place to make it happen.  Working with the private sector and our citizens, we are going to make the most of this opportunity and deliver the long-anticipated Jobs Corridor.  We should expect Southern Grove to become the economic engine that powers the prosperity of our community, and we are going to work hard, smart and together to ensure that it does.” 

The City will be required to continue paying taxes and assessments, but this obligation will decline as parcels are sold back into the private sector. This course of action was deemed the most beneficial to the City because the City would occupy the position of master developer of the jobs corridor and thus control its destiny. 

There is no additional debt associated with Southern Grove as it has been included in the City’s overall debt portfolio since 2007. In the past, the debt service was paid for by the land owner. Now, the City’s cash flow will be impacted, and it must find funds in its budget to pay the debt service, but the overall amount of debt will not increase as a result of the transfer.

As part of the closing, Tradition Land Co. was responsible for payment of:

  • $1,200,000 toward 2017 outstanding RE Tax Bills;
  • Recording costs and documentary stamp taxes 
  • Its attorneys’ fees.

The Governmental Finance Corp. was responsible for payment of:

  • 2017 outstanding Real Estate Tax bills, of $2.2 million minus the $1.2 million payment from Tradition Land Co.
  • Its attorneys’ fees

“This land in Southern Grove has long been at the heart of the City’s efforts to create an employment center to diversify the local economy,” said City Manager Russ Blackburn. “Because of its unique development history, there are no other large commercial and industrial parcels in Port St. Lucie that could be developed into a jobs corridor with the potential to create more than 22,500 jobs.”

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