Port St. Lucie Considers Offer on Recently Purchased Liberty Medical building

City of Port Saint Lucie

City of Port Saint Lucie

Port St. Lucie Considers Offer on Recently Purchased Liberty Medical building

The Port St. Lucie City Council discussed selling the former Liberty Medical building to a private company at its regular meeting on Monday, October 26.

The city purchased the vacant building at 10400 South U.S. Highway 1 in Port St. Lucie for $4.4 million in August of this year, intending to use it for the expansion of its growing utility and public works departments.  Shortly after the sale closed, Peter Tesch of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County contacted city staff with a prospective buyer – EMD Holdings, LLC.

Jim McCarthy of EMD Holdings, is a private real estate solutions company, wrote in an August 24 letter that his intent was to purchase the building, equipment and contents for $5.4 million and lease it to Teleperformance S.A., a company employing approximately 600 people at its St. Lucie West facility. McCarthy wrote that Teleperformance seeks to hire more than 500 additional employees but is “bursting at the seams.”

According to the city’s staff report, the purchase price was negotiated up to $6.1 million, $1.7 million in excess of the amount paid by the city in August.

“As Mr. McCarthy mentioned in his letter, this building is a one-of-a-kind asset, a well-appointed turnkey call center,” said Daniel Holbrook, assistant city manager-community development.  “As much as we need to accommodate the necessary growth of our utility and public works departments, we also need to consider the job opportunities and other benefits selling the building to EMD Holdings would bring us.”

Holbrook also said that purchasing and utilizing a building that had been vacant for 18 months to accommodate growing city departments was the best decision when there seemed to be no private buyer in sight.  “However, we now have an opportunity for everyone to win,” he said.   “We can build or acquire new space for our utility and public works departments, a building ready for turnkey use as a call center will go back on the tax rolls, and a local employer will add a significant number of new jobs.”

City staff plans to work toward developing the best possible solution for the growth of its utility and public works departments, necessary due to ongoing residential and commercial growth within the city.

“Both the utility and the public works departments are the largest in the Treasure Coast region and have either been recognized for outstanding plant operations and maintenance and/or received nationally recognized accreditation,” said City Manager Jeff Bremer.  “As we said in August, however, it is still necessary for these departments to add standard workshops, equipment labs and other facilities in order to continue to provide excellent levels of service to the city’s residents and businesses.”

The City Council is supportive of the sale, the City will conduct a first reading of the ordinance necessary to effect the sale at its November 9 meeting.  If the ordinance is passed after its second reading on November 23, EMD Holdings, LLC will pay a $50,000 deposit within three days; $8,000 of this deposit will be non-refundable.  Closing would be on or before February 10, 2016.

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