Manufacturer to build $43M Tradition plant

Accel International, a Connecticut-based cable and wire manufacturer, offered Port St. Lucie $1.7 million for a 40-acre tract in the city-owned Tradition Commerce Park where it plans to build a $43 million facility.

The City Council Monday authorized City Manager Russ Blackburn to enter a letter of agreement with Accel International for the vacant parcel between Interstate 95 and Pete Hegener Way.

Accel International plans to build a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility on a 12-acre portion of the property just south of the City Electric Supply building.

The facility would employ 125 workers with an average annual wage of $47,000 plus benefits, city records show. It will benefit from a multimillion-dollar economic development incentive package the council approved in July 2018.

Construction could start in 2020 if the transaction and government approval processes go smoothly, said Malcolm Sina, a real estate broker representing Accel International.

Accel International was attracted to the site by inexpensive land, easy access to Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike, and a strong workforce, Sina said.

“The customer base for Accel International is nationwide and worldwide,” Sina said. “So it allows them to be able to transport raw materials in and finished products out all over the world.”

It took a long time for the deal to come to fruition because Accel International had been considering purchasing a rival cable and wire manufacturer, Sina said in an interview after the meeting. But that deal fell through, so Accel International decided to build the new facility, Sina said.

The letter of agreement allows 60 days for the negotiation of a binding purchase and sales agreement. Accel International would then have 60 days to conduct due diligence, 120 days to approve the deal and 30 days to close.

The project qualified for a variety of city, county and state economic development incentives, including breaks on city assessments and city and county property taxes for 10 years.

The council committed in October to pay $1.2 million to extend Peter Hegener Way to the Accel International site, as part of the deal. That commitment came into play Friday after Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a state grant that would have helped pay for the extension of Hegener Way.

St. Lucie County also agreed to provide a $271,875 job growth investment grant and Florida chipped in a $625,000 qualified targeted industry tax relief grant, city records show.

The city and county are also giving Accel International breaks on the impact fees imposed on new construction projects to pay for the new public facilities needed to handle the new residents and businesses.

Accel International proposes holding the remaining 28 acres in the parcel for future expansion, city records show.

If Accel International decides not to expand, the company will work with the city to attract a comparable manufacturing operation to the site, says a letter outlining the proposed deal.

The 40-acre site had been part of the 84 acres the city provided to Tambone Companies to market, sell and develop, but was cut out of that deal Monday night.

In its place, the city will provide Tambone Companies a 40-acre tract 500 feet south of the Accel International site, behind the 25-acre Somerset Career Academy site.

But if the Accel International deal falls through, Tambone Companies will get the original 40 acres back, said city Community Redevelopment Agency Director Wes McCurry.

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