Navy Federal Closes Land Purchase, 4-H Eyeing North Escambia Property

August 10, 2012

Navy Federal Credit Union closed the $3.6 million purchase of the Langley Bell 4-H Center in Beulah on Thursday, and 4-H’ers are eyeing the acquisition of replacement property in the North Escambia area.

For Navy Federal, the purchase of the 4-H property means the addition of 600 new jobs and an investment of $6.5 million in a campus development strategy adjacent to the existing NFCU property on Nine Mile Road.

For 4-H, it means the 4-H foundation will receive the full $3.6 million. Up to $1.6 million will be available to 4-H for facilities construction, projects or purchases, while $2 million will be placed in an endowment fund with the interest supporting 4-H.

4-H In The Market For New Home

With Navy Federal’s $1.6 million check in hand, Escambia County 4-H leaders are shopping for the perfect piece of property for a new 4-H center. That property, according to George Carpenter, president of the Escambia County 4-H Foundation, would ideally be located in the Molino or Cantonment area — pretty much in the middle of the county’s 4-H club locations.

The “Friends of 4-H”, a group of of 4-H supporters, has called for the purchase of former the former Bayer Crop Science Facility on Crabtree Church Road in Molino. The 250 acres stretches from Crabtree Church Road north to Highway 97 near Molino Park Elementary School.

“We are looking at least a portion of that property, but I don’t think we’d take the whole thing,” Carpenter said Thursday afternoon. “We are still in the process of looking around at other property;  we haven’t settled on anything yet.”

Ideally, Carpenter said, 4-H might find an individual or company willing to donate land to the non-profit group.

The Escambia County Commission has offered another $1.5 million in local option sales tax funds  to construct a new 4-H building with the plans subject to the approval of the Extension Service. The new building would be situated on 23 acres at the Escambia County Extension Service on Stefani Road.

The 4-H Council members, a group of 4-H members ages 8 to 18, will be involved in the final property selection process. It won’t be their first big land deal — the same young 4-H members were required to vote and give final approval to the $3.6 million Langley Bell sale to Navy Federal.

Navy Federal Moves Forward

Navy Federal said Thursday that the success of the expansion plans is due to the company’s commitment to the Pensacola area as well as the partnership between Navy Federal and the Greater Pensacola Chamber, Escambia County, Escambia County 4H, Enterprise Florida and the University of West Florida.

“This project is a tremendous example of how a community and a state, both private and public, can come together to make great things happen,” said Donnie McMahon, chairman of the Greater Pensacola Chamber.

“The Greater Pensacola area continues to impress us with a high caliber workforce that is reflected in our 2,500 team members located in Pensacola,” said Cutler Dawson, President and CEO, of Navy Federal. “We look forward to our continued growth in Florida.”

“The forthcoming jobs and positive economic impact of Navy Federal’s expansion are great news for Florida, as well as Pensacola,” said Gov. Rick Scott. “This announcement is further evidence that Florida’s business climate encourages companies to grow and expand and add jobs in our state.”

“We appreciate the partnership by all involved who helped bring this deal to a close and provide the win-win solution Navy Federal was looking for,” said Debbie Calder, Senior Vice President, Navy Federal Credit Union.

This is the first economic development announcement that includes funding from the Industry Recruitment, Retention & Expansion Fund Grant Program (IRREF), which is administered by the University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement. This program is available to the eight coastal counties of Northwest Florida that were most affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Senator Don Gaetz authored S.B. 2156, of which the Oil Spill Recovery Act was an important component. The Oil Spill Recovery Act allots $10 million per year for each of three years to these eight Northwest Florida counties for the purposes of research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification and job creation.

“This project exactly fits the purpose of the Oil Spill Recovery Act passed by the Florida Legislature,” said Senator Gaetz. “Navy Federal brings new, good, high paying jobs that diversify our economy. And there are protections built in to ensure performance and a solid return on investment.”

“Job creation is extremely important to Northwest Florida, and especially to our students,” said UWF President Dr. Judy Bense. “We are proud to be a resource for recipients of the IRREF Grant Program and we will continue to support our community with economic development efforts through this grant project.”

Pictured top: Navy Federal has completed the $3.6 million purchase of the Langley Bell 4-H Center on Nine Mile Road in Beulah.  Pictured top inset: 4-H County Council President Devon Bell signs off on the property sale after a 4-H County Council vote in April. Pictured bottom inset and below: The Langley Bell 4-H Center was directly adjacent to Navy Federal’s campus. photos, click to enlarge.


7 Responses to “Navy Federal Closes Land Purchase, 4-H Eyeing North Escambia Property”

  1. David Lamb on August 11th, 2012 11:47 am

    As I have said in previous posts about LBC and Bayer. if LBC had to sell , then the Bayer property is the best option. It is almost a turnkey operation and with a little modification to some buildingfs it can have so many options available that were just not there at LBC property. The potential for self supporting initiatives at the Bayer are unlimited, if the Foundation, county commissioners and Extension office will work with “Friends of 4-H and 4-Hers to make it happen.I feel that all the Bayer property should be bought for future expansion and to keep another Navy Federal type acquisition from happening in the future. The farm ground could be cash rented to a local farmer for $100.00 t0 $200.00 an acre or at the going rate for that area. This would be a starting revenue for operating costs.
    Keep up the fight, Jacob Gilmore!

  2. cat on August 11th, 2012 8:44 am

    Forgot to mention, Mr. Carpenter:
    And, some of the Bayer Crop Science land has numerous (nice) buildings already built on it.
    So, hopefully, you would choose your “section” of land wisely and not just get 50 acres of pasture. Yes, it will take more money for up-keep on the buildings, but there was up-keep on the facilities at Langley Bell Center. It’s not about “saving” the 3 + million, and making Extension happy, it’s about doing what is right for the 4-Hers.

  3. cat on August 11th, 2012 8:04 am

    The “Friends of 4-H”, a group of of 4-H supporters, has called for the purchase of former the former Bayer Crop Science Facility on Crabtree Church Road in Molino. The 250 acres stretches from Crabtree Church Road north to Highway 97 near Molino Park Elementary School.
    “We are looking at least a portion of that property, but I don’t think we’d take the whole thing,” Carpenter (president of the Escambia County 4-H Foundation) said Thursday afternoon. “

    Heard the the 4-H Foundation was only looking at “taking” (obtaining) about 50 acres for the kids! That’s not that much more than than the 23 on Stefani. Is this true Mr. Carpenter? You could at least look at “taking” (acquiring) at least 100 to replace the 240. And, are the kids getting a say in how much land or just the Foundation? “Friends of 4-H” your fight is not over!

  4. Ray on August 10th, 2012 9:40 am

    Please don’t let these county commisioners dictate to you about the location this is your money and you should spend it for what YOU won’t not for the good of the county Commission just spend it wisely.

  5. dick on August 10th, 2012 9:36 am

    I’m so glad this next step has been accomplished. Congrats to all involved. To the “:Friends of 4-H” : please don’t settle for the poorly located, too-small Stefani Rd site. It would be a travesty to locate so far south & on a site with no potential for significant agricultural activity.

  6. well on August 10th, 2012 8:15 am

    Kinda like a cloudy day with a rainbow.

  7. 429SCJ on August 10th, 2012 6:31 am

    The end may justify the means, but it was an underhanded deal to accept the good graces of 4H, and then to take all from the children and Bell Legacy.

    Navy Federal wanted the best and they took it, may they find that desiring something may be better than claiming title to it. There were other properties.

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