PORT MANATEE -- A 45-year-old warehouse almost given up for dead is back in business and is ready to host its first tenant in more than six years.
Warehouse No. 2, a steel-framed, metal sided 60,000-square-foot port dry storage facility recently received extensive repair to its support columns after a former tenant damaged them so badly that the building was condemned in 2009. Initially considered a candidate for replacement at an estimated cost of between $960,000 and $6.3 million, the building's rehabilitation came at a bargain price of just $86,000, according to the port's planning director, George Isiminger.
The range of estimates included options for building both a new dry storage warehouse and a more expensive refrigerated warehouse.
The scope of the repair work included cutting off the bottoms of numerous support columns and welding on new steel replacements, as well as replacing some of the metal exterior panels. The port also demolished a huge metal awning that once extended over the building's truck docks. It had been badly damaged when it was hit by a truck.
Carlos Buqueras, the port's executive director, said port staff are close to securing a commitment from a potential tenant interested in using about half the space in the warehouse.
The port received a $176,000 insurance settlement in 2011 to repair the damage. It also sued a former tenant, Liberty Terminals, for causing the damage. The port won a $1.05 million judgment against Liberty in 2014, but later settled for $370,000. Denise Stufflebeam, the port's finance director, said that money went to pay off "existing accounts receivable."
Warehouse No. 2 is one of 11 designated warehouses the port owns and operates. The port owns a total of 916,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to its website.
Status Update, a new weekly feature, is a regular look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County.
Project name: Warehouse No. 2
Location: Port Manatee
Project type: Partial reconstruction
Owner: Manatee County Port Authority
General contractor: Cropland Services, Bartow
Project value: $86,000
Completion date: Jan. 7
Square footage: 60,000