Tambone first in line to develop commerce park

Tambone Companies will get the first crack at marketing and developing city-owned land in Tradition Commerce Center.

The Port St. Lucie City Council voted unanimously Monday to enter a letter of intent with the Palm Beach Gardens developer for 84 acres on the north side of the “jobs corridor” along Interstate 95.

The letter gives the city and developer 120 days to negotiate and execute a development and option agreement on the 84 acres between Discovery Way and the Somerset Career Academy site.

Tambone Companies will pay the city $763,966 for the exclusive right for two years to market and sell the 84 acres, the letter says. That amounts to $4,535 per acre each year, the city’s carrying costs for the land.

The deal calls for Tambone Companies and the city to share the proceeds from any land sales on a 50-50 basis, after each side recoups its upfront costs, the letter says. “Being developers and being 35 years in this industry and working on properties of this size – we believe we know what needs to be done,” company founder Richard Tambone told the council.

“Going to the market place and working with the brokers and working with other developers, I truly believe you’re going to see a significant influx of companies,” Tambone told the council.

“We need to get the land prices up and give less incentives,” Tambone said. “The only way you can do that is by getting a significant amount of influx of clients and tenants interested in the property.”

Carolyn Niemczyk, a commercial realtor in the city, urged the council to move forward with the Tambone Companies because there is a great demand for warehouse space.

“We really have to get moving,” Niemczyk told the council. “I have 20 companies here that need twice the space or three times the space and they have nowhere to go. Working with Tambone is the way to go. Let’s go for it.”

Mayor Greg Oravec said he believes Richard Tambone is going to take on the project with a “sense of urgency.”

“This is a great step forward,” Oravec said. “We look forward to the fruits of our partnership.”

Tambone Companies was among seven developers that responded to the city’s April 13, 2018 request for proposals to develop 1,160 acres of city-owned land in Tradition Commerce Center.

The city took title to the vacant land in the “jobs corridor” along Interstate 95 on June 28 after Tradition Land Co. decided to exit western Port St. Lucie.

The city also assumed more than $5 million in annual assessments on the land to repay the loans taken to construct roads and water, sewer and drainage utilities.

At the time, City Manager Russ Blackburn said it was worth the costs to maintain momentum on the city’s longstanding economic development efforts.

The City Council decided on July 23 to start negotiating with Tambone Companies, while rejecting the developer’s initial offer of $5.2 million for 210 acres.

The letter of intent approved Monday included several other terms including giving the city the option to pay for infrastructure – such as roads and water, sewer and drainage utilities – to facilitate land sales.

The agreement would also give the city the sole discretion to extend the term by one-year increments for up to three years. Tambone Companies would be obligated to pay the property taxes and assessments on the unsold land.

The city has several other pending deals to sell land in Tradition Commerce Center.

The council is negotiating to sell Publix Super Markets a 20-acre parcel on Becker Road and Village Parkway for $3 million, city records show. Those talks resumed after city officials had considered scrapping the deal because Publix proposed a refundable deposit, excessive closing cost and restrictions on adjacent property.

The city agreed in February to sell a 9.75-acre site on the northwest corner of Discovery Way and Tom Mackie Boulevard to Oculus Surgical for $849,680.

Oculus Surgical broke ground days later on a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility.

The city’s sale of three acres on the northeast corner of Discovery Way and Village Parkway to commercial developer Capital Brands of Boynton Beach for $450,000 is expected to close in mid-April, city records show.

In addition, the city has agreed to lease a 25-acre site in the commerce center off Village Parkway to the proposed Somerset Career Academy Port St. Lucie, a vocational-technical school for students in grades 6-12.

The Urban Land Institute, one of the nation’s pre-eminent land planning associations, advised the city earlier this month to formulate a master development plan for the 1,160 acres that focuses on attracting lucrative jobs and improving the city’s quality of life.

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