MILTON — Approval to advertise a Request For Proposal (RFP) to build a 50,000 square-foot spec building — short for "speculative building"— at the Northwest Industrial Park @ I-10 was given by County Commissioners.
Santa Rosa Economic Development director Shannon Ogletree presented a plan for the building. He said a building on the site will attract more interest in the property.
"No product, no project," Ogletree said.
Since October 2017, Ogletree's office has received 40 leads for the property, 76 percent were for an existing building. The site's infrastructure and utilities are already in place.
"We used $1 million from special appropriations for infrastructure. The site is ready to go," Ogletree said.
The proposal is to construct a 50,000-square-foot general-use building, 32 feet high, which can be divided into two 25,000 square-foot sections. The facility should also have the flexibility to expand to 100,000 square feet. Five acres on the site have been set aside for the project.
Commissioners were concerned that competition may develop between the industrial park and Whiting Aviation Park, which recently was awarded $8.5 million in BP oil spill settlement money. Ogletree explained that each park will be marketed to attract different industries.
Whiting Aviation Park will bring in defense contractors, maintenance repair operations and flight simulator companies. The industrial park will market to companies that specialize in general merchandising and distribution.
The county acquired the 90-acre site in 2009, but has not been able to attract any business tenants. Pensacola State College is working towards an agreement with commissioners to locate their new truck driving training school at the site.
Another highlight of the meeting was the Florida Beverage Association presentation of the 2018 FBA Community Grant Environmental Sustainability Award to Santa Rosa County.
Liz DeWitt, executive director of the association, presented commissioners with a $12,000 check for their work in community preservation and environmental sustainability.