Proposed development would add 3.2 million square feet of industrial and distribution facilities to Tradition Center for Commerce
April 23, 2020

Originally posted on by Knowhere

A representative rendering of one of the Class A light industrial/distribution facilities the Sansone Group is proposing for a 300-acre parcel in the Tradition Center for Commerce. Rendering by Sansone Group, Arco Murray Design Build, and GMA Architects

Acting as the Governmental Finance Corporation, a body which oversees the city’s Southern Grove property, the Port St. Lucie City Council voted unanimously on April 22 to move forward with negotiations on a purchase and sale agreement with the Sansone Group for 300 acres on northeast corner of SW Becker Road and SW Village Parkway.

The city had two competing proposals for the same parcel, selecting the Sansone Group over the Leonardi Capital Group LLC.

The Sansone Group’s proposal consists of approximately 3. 2 million square feet of single- and multi-tenant Class A, institutional quality light industrial and distribution facilities, including of all related infrastructure.

The company plans to build a 600,000-square-foot expandable speculative distribution facility and a 150,000-square-foot multi-tenant distribution facility in the first phase of the three-phase project. Subsequent phases would be developed based on market demand and are anticipated to include speculative, build-to-suit, and possibly pad-ready sites.

Pete Tesch, president of the Economic Council of St. Lucie County (EDC), said that, based on industry averages, the facilities would likely employ 2,500-2,600 people once completed. The project goals call for the jobs created to pay more than St. Lucie County’s average wage, $18.94 per hour as of January 2020, according to Tesch, who estimated that the payroll created at build-out would exceed $100 million annually.

“It is especially refreshing to see something like this happen during an economic and health crisis,” said Tesch, who had worked with EDC Vice President Jill Marasa on the project for several months. “Sansone is a nationally prominent industrial and commercial developer that wants to develop this project in Port St. Lucie, creating thousands of jobs.”

The purchase and sale agreement to be negotiated will include disincentives for jobs that pay less than the county’s average wage. According to the proposal, Sansone will pay a penalty of up to $.20 per square foot of net usable acreage associated with the facility for a company that does not meet the target wage criteria. The developer also agrees to restrictions on the project, such as prohibiting self-storage units and similar uses, to ensure use by industries and companies desired by the city, .

Sansone Group conceptual site plan showing all three phases. Graphic by Sansone Group, Arco Murray Design Build, and GMA Architects

Sansone Group’s anticipated timing is to master plan the site during the fourth quarter of 2020, close on the land and commence site work in the first quarter of 2021, and complete Phase One for occupancy by the fourth quarter of 2021. The timing for the second and third phases would be dependent on market conditions.

While the net price the city will receive from the sale of the land will be under $1 million, when the property is transferred the ongoing special assessment district costs will no longer have to be funded by the city. Over time, according to Wes McCurry, Community Redevelopment Agency director, the costs on the 300 acres would exceed $15.4 million. If grant funding can be obtained to fund part of the infrastructure costs, the city would receive more net funds from the developer.

“Here we are in one of the most difficult moments we’ve ever faced…we don’t even know exactly where the bottom is yet … on the crisis that is materializing,” said Mayor Gregory Oravec, speaking about the economic impact of the pandemic. “And, yet, in the midst of this darkness, there is light.” Oravec said that last week the city approved a proposal for a high-tech wire factory and this week the 300-acre proposal from Sansone gives the city hope for the future.

“Our jobs corridor is our promise. The Sansone proposal gives us an opportunity sooner rather than later to continue keeping that promise,” said Vice Mayor Shannon Martin. She also said that the city had been advised recently by an economist that it was deficient in business attraction due to not having spec buildings; the spec buildings Sansone proposes to build will give the city a leg up in competing for jobs.

The St. Louis-based Sansone Group has been in business 63 years and has developed over 20 million square feet of similar projects throughout the country, including industrial projects in 26 states. The company has completed development projects for Home Depot, Barnes and Noble, Ford, General Motors, Pepsi, and others. Its partners include Goldman Sachs, USAA, CenterSquare, Ares and Fortress.

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