Heartland Fertilizer has been a key component of Palmetto’s agricultural history for more than three decades. Now a deal is close at hand that may see the company sold to make way for a new apartment complex in the 900 block of 11th Avenue West.
One of the owners confirmed the pending sale but was unable to provide additional information on Thursday, and the developer likely will have some environmental issues to contend with given the property’s long history of mixing fertilizer and using chemicals in the process.
Carla Owens, city planner, said the 8.2 acres, owned by Gary Guthrie, are under contract by an unnamed developer. However, the sale is contingent on the rezoning process being approved.
Owens said that process should begin in January and a more detailed general development plan will be submitted at that time. She estimates the development, to be built by NDC Construction, to be three-to-four stories with an estimated 150 market rate units or more.
“My understanding is that there was a signed agreement a couple of weeks ago and if they both signed it, it’s pretty much sold, just not closed on yet,” Owens said. “What they’ve indicated is that closing is contingent on the rezoning. It’s zoned industrial now and in some cities industrial means you can do whatever you need to do. Palmetto’s codes require rezoning even if you are doing something less intense.”
According to the tentative plans, the project includes additional retail components fronting 11th Avenue West. Owens said the developer also is interested in its neighbor’s property, the Palmetto Police Department – the city will use sales tax dollars to replace and relocate the aging structure.
“The general development plan will give us much more detail,” Owens said. “Right now it looks like it will mirror what NDC built in Bradenton with the Riversong Apartments. Not in height, but in style. These are market-rate units, not affordable housing.”
Including affordable housing gives a developer certain bonuses in the codes to increase density, but there are other ways to capture those bonuses. If the GDP shows an effort to capture some of the historical features of Heartland or if they include Heartland in the title, those density bonuses will be awarded.
“Heartland is kind of a historic site,” Owens said. “In a general sense, they’ve been in the Palmetto community for years and years. If the developer wants to play off that, that’s the kind of stuff they need to work on when it comes back to commission for rezoning.”