South Bay ready to seek developers for Park of Commerce

SOUTH BAY — South Bay commissioners heard at their meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, of final changes to the city’s planned request for letters of intent (RLI) concerning potential development of the 88-acre city-owned Park of Commerce tract along U.S. 27.

City Manager Leondrae Camel told commissioners he’d done his best to incorporate all their ideas and comments from a recent workshop into the new version of the request, which will be advertised soon.

He quoted from its “purpose and scope” section: “Interested parties must possess the financial and legal ability to carry out the proposed development, meeting the city’s goals and objectives of creating a mixed-use industrial destination that will stimulate development within the city of South Bay.”

Displaying with a projector a map of the land and outlining its boundaries for commissioners first, Mr. Camel then went through several pages of the RLI’s text and explained that the changes mainly flesh out specifics about information that potential developers must supply in their letters.

The ad will request detailed information of each respondent, he said, listing “developer experience, project experience (add your project size, project delivery approach, construction values and some photographs), project team organization and financial capacity.

“We’ve added some additional teeth to the financial capacity component of the letter of interest,” he went on, listing them also: “provide a certified financial statement of each principal of the organization or audited corporate statements within the past 12 months, a list of and the status of all pending litigations against the respondent, a copy of financial rating reports or other verifiable documents indicating the financial condition of the respondent, a statement indicating how the respondent proposes to finance the purchase of the site and development of the project, showing the proposed source and the amount of equity investments in the proposed source of financing, including probable terms and conditions of the financing; provide banking references with authorization to contact references; and indicae a willingness to post a letter of credit or performance bond necessary to fund development costs.” Mr. Camel said he also added seven uses to the RLI’s list of about 30 sample uses to exemplify how the city envisions the land being used: a fleet depot, recycling center, distribution center, offices, warehouses, repair shop, and storage (both commercial and self) and manufacturing facilities.

“All those items … will also be in line with the current zoning of the property in the Park of Commerce. We are trying our best to be as clear as possible once this request goes out,” he said. “We’re also adding in scheduled performance and timeline into this document, with all the other items remaining the same.”

Finally, he said, “We’ll ask permission to do more advertising, and even if there’s an additional cost, we are going to get this out as far and wide as possible for this letter of interest.”

The city’s legal department will examine the finished document before the RLI is advertised, Mr. Camel said, “but we’re proposing to have this out on the street as soon as possible so that a respondent can respond by Sept. 15, and the names will be read aloud at your Sept. 19 meeting.”

On another matter, the South Bay City Commission unanimously approved the city’s priority items for Palm Beach County representatives to consider in the Florida Legislature’s 2018 session. Legislative committees begin meeting next month, Mr. Camel noted, adding that among the requests is $1 million for improvement and development of the Park of Commerce parcel. “That covers some preliminary engineering and design for its future development,” he said.

The commission also heard from Barbara King, founder and CEO of Kings Tutoring and Mentoring Foundation in South Bay, who appeared to return most of a $1,000 sponsorship grant the city had given for its football program ($100 was spent on footballs).

“We were not able to form the football team for this year,” she said, “but as of the present moment, the cheerleaders will still compete in the cheerleading competition and still get a chance to participate with the Pop Warner program in Pahokee.”

In other business, city commissioners unanimously:

• Rejected the sole bid received on a Florida Department of Transportation project of milling and resurfacing plus curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement. Mr. Camel explained that the bid came in about $60,000 over the funding amount for the project.

• Approved a $2,500 charitable sponsorship for the Glades Tri-City Senior Ball.

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