The Escambia County Commission again discussed their support for a proposed sports/meeting facility to potentially replace the Pensacola Bay Center. A group led by hotelier Jay Patel has pushed this proposal and submitted it to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors for consideration.
The board previously voted to endorse the project, but unanswered questions about location and financing have left the project in limbo. Board Chairman Jeff Bergosh brought the item forward at the last commission meeting in an attempt to move on from having to discuss the item any further.
Determining a site for the facility has been hindered by changing circumstances. Initially, it was believed that the facility could be located at the current site of the Pensacola Bay Center or the old ECUA property on Main Street and still be eligible for New Market Tax Credits. However, those sites are now not eligible for the tax credits, which either leaves a $20 million deficit in the project budget or means that the complex would have to be built on another site.
At the morning’s agenda review, Jay Patel asked the commission for a few more weeks to work out the details on sites he had identified north of Interstate 10 that would be eligible for the tax credits. The commission allowed Patel the additional time and will address the item again in June.
Without the tax credits and $25 million requested from Triumph Gulf Coast, the project is well short of its projected budget.