Century Looking To Lease Large Industrial Building

July 9, 2020

The Town of Century is seeking lease proposals for a 40,390 square foot building in the town’s industrial park.

Known as the Helicopter Technology Building — named for the defunct company that was based there — it has been empty since 2008.

The town is still footing the bill for utilities, insurance, maintenance and other costs for the vacant property, and they are looking to turn it into a positive cash flow and create jobs along the way.

Lease proposals will be accepted until 1 p.m. on Thursday, August 6. Proposal requirements include the proposed monthly lease fee, desired start day, and number of employees associated with the proposed lease. The town council will review the proposals and reserves the right to reject any or all of them. Click or tap here for the complete requirements and procedure (pdf).

In 2017, the building was appraised for $550,000 with a fair market rent of $80,000 per year ($6,667 per month). The office and warehouse space has full climate control, sprinkler system, new HVAC and energy efficient lighting.

Last Potential Lessor Was Rejected

The most recent company seeking to lease the building was rejected by the town council.

In May 2019, West Florida Gin Manager Robert Earl Godwin and businessman Larry Baxley, who were in the process of setting up North Escambia Warehouse and Storage, LLC, made a preliminary lease-to-own offer on the town-owned building  at $4,000 per month for five years, for a total of $240,000. The company offered an $8,000 deposit, pay the first month’s rent in advance, and pay for any upgrades to the building. At the end of the lease term, they would have had the opportunity to buy the building for $100. The building would have been used primarily for cotton storage.

A motion by then council member Ben Boutwell to proceed with negotiations and work on an agreement failed on a 3-2 vote with council members James Smith, Sandra McMurray-Jackson and Luis Gomez voting against. The dissenters expressed objections against the business because it would likely not create any jobs.

“I don’t see the benefit for us,” Smith said at the time. “Where’s the employment?”

Smith and Gomez expressed concerns at the May 2019 meeting that if the council were to lease the building below market value, the town would not have any available industrial space if another company wanted to located in Century with new jobs.

“Someday it could produce jobs, even it’s 10-15 jobs for Century,” Gomez said.

“Let’s talk about y’all’s track record and my track record,” Baxley said after pointing out that no company had seriously considered the building in the past decade but he had developed several similar properties.  “For 46 years now, I’ve been making payroll.”

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


12 Responses to “Century Looking To Lease Large Industrial Building”

  1. DK on July 14th, 2020 10:12 pm

    LB common sense ain’t so common.Just saying must have struck a nerve Just Saying?

  2. Niknak50 on July 11th, 2020 10:34 pm

    Any business thinking about locating in Century would do well to remember the shaft job Century gave the apartment builders over the hookup fees.

  3. IMHO on July 9th, 2020 11:46 pm

    Does the Town Council honestly think a reputable business would locate to a town with a failing sewer plant, a failing water system, a lack of fire protection and an inept Council?? Must be the heat

  4. Rafael Lopez on July 9th, 2020 9:53 pm

    Thank goodness they didn’t accept that crazy lease that would have given the guy the building at half price after 5 years. Heck of an investment opportunity if he would have gotten away with it….. smart move century not accepting that… curious as to what would quint studer do??? Has anyone asked him?

  5. L. B. on July 9th, 2020 8:58 pm

    DK, it seems like you can run for Mayor, and be the Ring Master. “Just saying”.

  6. Bob on July 9th, 2020 5:30 pm

    I know how you can get someone to move into the Helicopter Technology Building. Create a 300 year lease and let the person pay $50 a month with an option to buy.


    Maybe the town of Century could sell the current city hall building, make renovations to the Helicopter Technology Building then move into it. The process of renovating the Helicopter Technology Building and then moving into it could create a lot of corruption and kickbacks.

  7. DK on July 9th, 2020 3:36 pm

    Good luck nobody wants to run a business out of Century because of the leadership or lack there of.Keep on dreaming my pops told me if your gonna dream dream big.Town has gone down the drain with the clowns trying to run it.

  8. M in Bratt on July 9th, 2020 12:54 pm

    You would think that by now they would have listed this building with a national commercial/industrial real estate broker.At the same time they could possibly sell some of the other vacant land in the industrial park. But we can’t do that because it could preclude the opportunity to cut themselves in for a piece of the pie when it sells.

  9. chris on July 9th, 2020 8:50 am

    Century better set up rope barriers for all the people lining up to submit lease proposals. Just saying.

  10. Jerry on July 9th, 2020 7:35 am

    Maybe they should spend a little money divide the building into parts and then rent them as separate units in the same building for cheaper. Some income coming in from it is better than nothing

  11. Dave on July 9th, 2020 6:40 am

    Honestly can anyone find one good reason a company would want to start up a business or move to Century for any reason? The incompetence and corruption of this little town would prevent most companies from taking the location if it were free. It will take new town management and a decade or more or positive changes to prove to anyone Century is worthy of investing in.

  12. Oversight on July 9th, 2020 5:07 am

    Could have leased the building years ago… But the town council continually gets in the way of itself.

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