The City Commission voted 3-1 to sell a city -owned vacant parcel of land located at 650 W. Gaines Street. Commissioner Jacqueline Porter voted against the sale and Commissioner Matlow recused himself due to a potential conflict.
The transaction was completed without a competitive bid solicitation.
The Tallahassee City Commission has recently approved a similar transaction without a competitive bid solicitation.
City Commission Policy #136 – Real Estate Policy, the City Commission can approve the sale of the property without a bid if the Commission determines that the sale is in the best interest of the City.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson took great offense to the implication by some speakers on the issue that he and his fellow commissioners might be acting in an immoral fashion. He said they would not answer for the mistakes of their predecessors.
Richardson said, “of course we consulted with our attorney, we want to do what is right for Tallahassee.” Richardson also noted that in this case, the south side of the city will directly benefit from the revenue created by the sale of this property, which is good for the community.
The city staff highlighted the following benefits from selling the city owned land:
- Consistent with the City’s Strategic Plan priorities including economic development, impact on poverty, and public infrastructure.
- Promotes comprehensive plan priorities such as infill development and redevelopment.
- Consistent with the vision of the Gaines Street Vitalization Plan.
- The sale facilitates redevelopment, returns the property to the tax roll.
- Removes maintenance responsibilities from the City.
- Allows immediate purchase/sale negotiations with a ready and willing buyer at a price greater than other properties within the immediate area.
- Facilitates removal of blighted properties.
According to the staff analysis, as a stand-alone parcel, the City-owned real estate has limited development potential due to its size, shape and utility encumbrances. However, the interested party is working toward an assembly of multiple parcels for redevelopment that will include the City parcel as well as adjacent non-City property. This assemblage of properties allow for a cohesive redevelopment plan that will provide for greater in-fill density/intensity and increase the utility of City property that would otherwise be difficult to develop.
Staff recommends the sale of the property to the 908 Group in the amount of $4,000,000 without a competitive bid solicitation in accordance with City Commission Policy #136.
The 908 Group, located in Tampa, Fl., is a boutique real estate development services firm specializing in urban infill, multifamily and mixed-use projects.
The vacant property was purchased by the City in 2016 for $1,418,959.73 (including $15,930.73 for closing costs) as part of a project to construct a large drainage facility from Madison Street to the Regional Stormwater Management facility at Lake Elberta. The drainage project has been completed, and the property has been utilized as a dirt surface parking lot as an interim use.
The CRA has allocated funding to provide a formal, paved parking lot on the property. However, at the time of CRA funding approval, staff indicated that the City had received an interest to purchase the property and would work through any development interests prior to commencing construction of the parking lot.
Staff states that the developer, who has constructed multiple student housing developments in the immediate area, intends to construct a multifamily student housing project.
City staff notes that based on sales within the market area, and notwithstanding the drainage facility encumbering the property, the value of 650 W. Gaines Street as a stand-alone site is estimated to be approximately $35 per square foot, or $1,586,000. Commission approval would allow immediate purchase/sale negotiations with a ready and willing buyer at a price greater than other properties within the immediate area.
Looking at the 908 group, they seem to be pretty reliable, they’re currently responsible for 14 either completed or ongoing student housing projects so far, so they are definitely looking up. I would imagine they would build something just as large for their next project in Tallahassee, so they will need to buy the Rainey Cawthon Distributing site to build a parking garage that loads onto Madison Street. They will also want to buy the 2 corner lots owned by Ronnie Manning, in order to make the residential/commercial space big enough to stretch all the way down the block, and that way it could get that super-desirable street corner spot that allows for that unique architectural impact.
Curtis: Your advocacy should be for the interests of residents of the City of Tallahassee; not a disgruntled minority on the South Side. Try to remember what the residents have been through in the very recent past by elected officials lining their own pockets. Immorality is for churches to deal with. What members of the Commission have perpetrated is illegality. And you take umbrage that people question its honesty and judgment? If you do, perhaps you should find another line of work.
@ A Skeptic : It all depends on the Promises the Commissioners made to the “908 Group”.
If someone wants to pay $4 Million for that piece of Property I say sell it NOW. If you draw out the Lot Lines and factor in the Building Rules and Codes, there is not much of any thing you can put there, maybe a long skinny Parking Lot. With that said, I would really like to know what the 908 Group has planned for it and how many of the Building Rules and Codes will be bent and broken for that $4 Million Sell Price.
160% return on a 5-year investment? Sign me up!
I’m usually not a fan of circumventing the competitive bid process, but in this case it seems to be good for the taxpayers of Tallahassee
WOW, Richardson actually said “they would not answer for the mistakes of their predecessors?” That means he is NOW admitting that there WAS a Dark Cloud over the City.
More luxury student housing I hope!
Sorry peeps totally off topic:
Main stream media does not want you to know but fans in large numbers at Saturdays college football games were chanting “EFF JOE BIDEN”.
But they weren’t saying “EFF”.
Google it. Its out there.
“According to the staff analysis, as a stand-alone parcel, the City-owned real estate has limited development potential due to its size, shape and utility encumbrances.”
Sure; ok… Because after all, who doesn’t spend $4-million on a worthless piece of land… someone in the City is bank’n on this one.
@ Charlie T: If they really cared about the Traffic they would never have gone from Four Lanes to Two Lanes.
I believe the sale should be made and profits allocated to adding on to the ICU units at both hospitals. They will be necessary especially as the policies of the current Governor continue to be in place. One will note that of one-half of one percent of the eighty thousand fans at the FSU game Sunday contract Covid, there will be an additional 400 hospitalizations in about 3 weeks. This assumes 100% of the attendees were fully vaccinated and is the best-case
scenario. The pandemic only took a pause and now we have the Delta variant. They is a more resistant variant on the horizon known as Mu. One state had 2 cases last week. 4 days later, this had grown to 156 more cases. Please wear masks, get vaccinated, and practice social distancing. Your own life may depend upon it!
What could you possibly build on that small parcel of land, and where would people park?. The only people that maybe would buy something like this are large investment firms like Blackstone. This area was suppose to be developed under the Green theme, but money talks I guess and they don’t care how saturated the area is with traffic.
If they write the City a Check for the full amount and does not expect the CRA or the City to give them any Money in return to help build what ever it is they plan to build then I say, OK.
Hmmmm…the “908 Group” outta Tampa…sounds like another one of those FBI front businesses. If the “908 Group” takes you greedy elected officials to Vegas just dont hire any midgets for your pervert ways and you all should be OK. And stay out of any FSU sky boxes too.