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ECUA agrees to sell wastewater treatment site
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- Tonight, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority agreed to sell the former wastewater treatment site in downtown Pensacola... For $7.6 million but they have some conditions. ECUA doesn’t want to pay any broker fees and the buyer, H-T Land Company in Texas can only cancel the contract if the property can't be developed because of environmental concerns or city code restrictions. So, it’s not a done deal, but it is one step closer to a sale.
This Texas company is a bit of a mystery. There are no concrete plans on the table and no telling what they could build on this land. And that is giving one board member serious reservations.
Lois Benson was the only board member to vote against this offer. She's worried we don't know enough about the buyer.
"He's never talked to us, never shared his dream... I want someone to come in who has a dream too,” said Benson.
This 19-acre property across from Maritime Park is the former site of a wastewater treatment plant.
"This is the most important piece of property for the future of our community and we're turning over the keys to someone who we haven't vetted," Benson said.
The first time H-T Land Company offered $7.6 million for the land. ECUA rejected it saying they'd hire a real estate marketing firm to promote it. This time... H-T Land added a rendering of what could be built there, a combination of condos, shops, and a hotel. Benson says it’s still just a concept.
"My concerns were not about the dollars... Or if it's someone who's going to do something great for our community,” said Benson.
People who live downtown have their own ideas of what they'd like to see.
Barbara Lenn said, “I really don't want to see shops…There are plenty of places downtown for shops."
Megan Lenn said, “A smaller neighborhood that's more affordable... More places for people to live."
The Texas company now has three choices: Either accept, reject, or counter the board's changes.
The board expects an answer within the next few days.