Palmetto mayor explains sale of the CBI Building

BRADENTON HERALD | GUEST COLUMNIST

CommentaryNovember 17, 2009 

An open letter to the good people of Palmetto:

A few of the facts regarding the sale of the run-down building in the City of Palmetto known as the CBI Building have been grossly misrepresented , or have been omitted completely from recent media reports. Contrary to any implications by certain individuals, the entire process of disposing of the CBI Building was carried out in public meetings, pursuant to the requirements of Florida law for disposal of government-owned property.

In response to the city’s open request for proposals, the city received one proposal. Everyone had the same opportunity during the 30-day period after the request was issued to submit their own bid and proposal for the property. Unfortunately, no one can know if someone is interested unless they submit a bid.

The proposal is consistent with the past contribution of its creators to this community and will be a positive influence on the downtown Palmetto area. The site development plan provides 11 public parking spaces that would benefit neighboring businesses in the area. One major example is the nearby assisted-living facility, which sorely needs additional parking for visitors.

The $100,000 payment that has been tossed around by those in opposition to this project as being the “sales price” omits or misrepresents many significant conditions to this proposal. What has not been reported is that there are several stipulations to the agreement for sale in this project:

n In the event the development is not completed (i.e. no certificate of occupancy is issued) within two years of the date of contract approval, the Palmetto CRA will be entitled to re-acquire the property at no cost to the Palmetto CRA.

n The site will not be eligible for a façade enhancement program grant (storefront grant) for a period of 10 years.

n The owners will allow parking for public events that do not conflict with their own parking needs.

n The design is to be substantially consistent with that presented to the Palmetto CRA advisory board/Palmetto CRA board and the two sides not shown shall be similar in design to the front side and renderings should be brought back with the contract.

n Environmental auditing and testing shall be paid for by the purchasers.

n Any reasonable request for extension to complete the project shall not be unjustly withheld by the Palmetto CRA.

It is estimated the Phase 1 environmental audit, exterior facade work and interior build-out for the proposed 2,000-square foot medical/professional office will take approximately six months. This means jobs for a number of professions in the city and an improved downtown area.

It would be ridiculous to condemn the CBI building to demolition due to non-compliance with the fire code and forego the benefits of redevelopment and jobs. No one is going to pay the $800,000-plus that the city’s previous administration paid for this property for a very long time. And it would be a shame to see a project with such great potential for the City of Palmetto halted by the misrepresentation of facts that has taken place thus far.

Shirley Groover Bryant, mayor of the City of Palmetto, can be contacted at mayor@palmettofl.org and 723-4570.

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