MANATEE -- The Goodwill Manasota board of directors decided Wednesday to move ahead with plans to consolidate most of their administrative offices to a new headquarters in Manatee County.
According to Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota, the board reviewed preliminary drawings and numbers and told its administrators to continue with the plans for the 9.2-acre site on the northeast corner of 51st Avenue East and U.S. 301.
"The board is very excit
ed," Rosinsky said. "We will continue our due diligence to develop the final numbers and costs, and once we have that we will take them back to the board."
The nonprofit community service organization, which services Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Hardee counties, is in the process of purchasing the property, he said.
"We expect the purchase to take place in the next couple of months," Rosinsky said. He said he expects to have the final figures before the board within 120 days, and if approved, construction to start soon after.
The facility could be completed sometime in 2014, Rosinsky said.
Goodwill Manasota provides jobs and job training through several programs, including Job Connection and its retail store outlets, where it takes in donated items for resale.
It has an operating budget of $50 million, and a $20 million payroll in the four-county area, Rosinsky said.
"Our programs are 100 percent funded by Goodwill," he said. "There are almost no government contracts."
Manasota Goodwill generates about $50 million a year in retail sales at its 33 locations and ranks among the best run in Goodwill International's membership, boasting "among highest market penetration in the Goodwill system," Veronica Brandon Miller, vice president of Goodwill Foundation, told the Herald last month.
A new headquarters in Manatee count will bring 100 to 120 construction jobs to the area near the retail corridor along State Road 70 and the Manasota Industrial Park.
"This will be great for the south county," said Manatee County Commissioner Robin DiSabitino, in whose district the new headquarters will be located. "It will be a great boost for the economy of that area."
DiSabitino also said the temporary construction jobs will provide a trickle-down effect for the economy.
When the planned 27,000-square-foot facility is completed, several administrative, service and educational operations will be consolidated, bringing together 50 or 60 employees who are now working in various locations.
Another 50-60 people will be working in a new 35,866-square-foot retail store and drive-through donation center.
Rosinsky said Fawley Bryant Architects has done some preliminary designs, and the board voted Wednesday to retain the Bradenton firm for the project.
The design will have an educational campus feel, he said, which fits in with Goodwill Manasota's Mission Development Services, which helps Goodwill agencies in other areas develop their programs.
The campus will be used for training and to host people from around the world, Rosinsky said, adding to the economic impact.
"People see our trucks and buildings," he said, "but our buildings are just the doorway to people finding work and job training."