With Escambia County now in official possession of Outlying Field 8 (OLF-8), the Escambia County Commission must now decide what is to be done with the 630 acres of land surrounding Navy Federal Credit Union. At the January Committee of the Whole meeting, the commission considered two offers that, combined, would put all of the property in private hands and net the county about $5 million in profit.
Navy Federal submitted an offer to the county last year to purchase 100 acres immediately surrounding their campus for $4.2 million. As a part of that offer, Navy Federal pledged that an additional 300 jobs would be created. While the county commission has not made a formal response to the offer, comments from the commissioners have been favorable. Bill Pearson with Navy Federal was present at the Committee of the Whole meeting to answer any lingering questions. The Navy Federal offer to the county can be found here.
An additional offer for the remainder of the OLF-8 property submitted to the county was also discussed at the meeting. Hemmer Consulting is the lead group in a partnership that made the offer to purchase the remaining 530 acres for $18 million in cash. Hemmer and his attorney attended the Committee of the Whole and provided an overview of their offer. Commissioners were intrigued by the offer and the potential to make a profit off the sale, but there were concerns that they proposal did not provide specifics about what was going to be built on the 530 acres.
Commissioner Jeff Bergosh was most vocal about needing more details about the group's plans for the property before he could vote for a sale. Bergosh has been adament throughout this process that the property be developed to create jobs and not to provide additional housing. Bergosh also shared his concern that selling the property would eliminate the county's Triumph Gulf Coast project request from consideration. Hemmer stated that they wanted to work with the county and the surrounding community to come with a plan for the property. You can find the Hemmer offer here.
The general consensus following the discussion among the commissioners was that the county needed more time and to stay on course with developing a Master Plan that will identify the best use for the property before pursuing a sale of all 630 acres.