Manatee County’s Old Jail building adjacent to the courthouse will not be turned into housing, after the prospective developer withdrew his proposal this week.
The Croghan Company, doing business as Connect Bradenton, withdrew its proposal, which was the only one submitted to the county, to transform the more than 80,000-square-foot Old Jail building, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., from its current condemned state into workforce housing.
“To me, it’s a shame that the millennials will miss an opportunity to have in-town, walk-to-work housing that is affordable,” Bernard Croghan with Connect Bradenton said Friday afternoon. “The millennial population that we would have in that building posed no risk whatsoever to the security of the judicial center.”
Croghan’s decision to withdraw the proposal comes a little more than a week after several community leaders, including Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, sent a letter to County Administrator Ed Hunzeker in opposition.
The letter, which was dated Nov. 2, detailed security concerns, which ranged from the need for an increased law enforcement presence to rooftop access to a secured detention area.
“In a time where the public demands a safe environment to conduct their business related to the function of the courts, the liability that this project exposes us all to is undeniable,” the letter reads.
In response to the letter, Croghan said earlier this month he had requested the opportunity to talk to people with the sheriff’s office, the courthouse and the clerk of the circuit court, but he said he never got a response.
On Friday, Croghan said he didn’t think the county and sheriff’s office wanted to reach an agreement about the concerns.
“I was not confident that the county and the sheriff department would come to an agreement,” he said.