BRADENTON -- A final push to approve a county-run $12.5 million chiller plant at 323 Ninth St. W., was successful Wednesday with a unanimous vote from the Bradenton City Council.
The 7,000-square-foot facility received no public opposition.
Construction can begin at any time with fall 2015 given as an estimated completion date. The project, part of the county partnership with Florida Power and Light's energy savings program, is estimated to save the county $10 million in utility costs in the first 20 years.
It also will eventually create revenue as the county provides utilities to potential clients like the city of Bradenton and eventually private businesses within a 1-mile radius of the plant.
The planners' primary concern was to ensure noise levels were mitigated.
Jason "J.B." Taylor, of Fawley Bryant Architects Inc. of Lakewood Ranch, said the machines operate below maximum city decibel requirements and using insulation pads and "jackets" around the machines should keep facility noise from being an issue to a nearby residents.
The property is owned by the county and serves as a parking lot.
David Thompson, Manatee County building maintenance division manager, said the facility would eliminate about 25 parking spaces in the 90-space lot.
"Those employees giving up spaces will be issued passes to park in the county administration parking garage," Thompson said.
Plant goals include saving the county money on utilities and reducing the county's carbon footprint by allowing for removal of unsightly air-cooled machines atop surrounding buildings.
The Manatee County Appraiser's Office is cooled by the air-chilled unit atop a building at 920 Manatee Ave. W. that has sat vacant for about four years. The building previously served as a bank and then the county public defender's office, but it was vacated when the judicial center was completed.
In the past three years, the six-story building's only use has been as a cooling station for the appraiser's office.
The chiller plant will free the property for other uses.
Thompson said it will likely be moved into the county's surplus property list at some point and he doesn't foresee the building itself being used again because of needed upgrades.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.