Century Accepting Lease Proposals On Large Industrial Building Until Thursday

August 3, 2020

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

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.


13 Responses to “Century Accepting Lease Proposals On Large Industrial Building Until Thursday”

  1. DK on August 4th, 2020 2:52 am

    Common sense ain’t so common!

  2. Bob on August 3rd, 2020 10:53 pm

    Don’t do it!!!

  3. SH on August 3rd, 2020 10:18 pm

    Wonder how much the town of Century has paid for utilities, insurance and maintenance during the past 12 years for a vacant building. After 12 years, you gotta question the $550,000 appraised value.

  4. Jason on August 3rd, 2020 9:28 pm

    Its laughable that anyone could think the last offer from West Florida Gin was a decent offer. Maybe for those buying, but not those selling.

    Basically, the company offered to buy the property for half of the appraised price — provided the Town of Century agreed to be the Banker and carry the note AND be responsible for repairs and maintenance during the term of the lease until the company finally was able to buy it and the end of the lease for $100…. What a horrible deal for Century.

  5. Oversight on August 3rd, 2020 7:19 pm

    Eye roll. Century, a town where the government is so incompetent it hired a town manager but still pays a mayor. LOL!

  6. retired on August 3rd, 2020 3:50 pm

    NEW HVAC 12 years old

  7. M in Bratt on August 3rd, 2020 3:43 pm

    You would think that sometime during the last 12 years they would have listed this property with some reputable commercial/industrial real estate firm. Even dumb and dumber would have done that. But maybe they are afraid that if they do that, they couldn’t get their fingers in the deal if it ever came by.

  8. Citizen on August 3rd, 2020 3:36 pm

    I wish they had taken the first offer.
    It highlights some of the difference I’ve noted in ways of thinking.
    A government should be run like a business and the people are responsible for themselves.
    You will note some democrats think the government is supposed to take care of them and the commune.
    FL West had Century pay for an appraisal, which Century already had one– then nothing happened with that. except the appraiser made $.

    Maybe the first people Baxley and Godwin are still able to make an offer and the council will realize, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  9. chris on August 3rd, 2020 2:39 pm

    Yes I remember the story from a month back. I should temper myself until i see the proposals.

  10. William Reynolds on August 3rd, 2020 11:09 am

    “Only until Thursday!! Then they will sift through the numerous offers and choose a prospective tenant. What a laughingstock..”

    (They’ve been taking proposals for nearly a month. We ran a story back then, and decided to run this one today as a reminder to help them out.)

  11. mat on August 3rd, 2020 10:19 am

    The building is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
    It has been vacant for 12 years. Does that tell you anything.

  12. chris on August 3rd, 2020 8:38 am

    Only until Thursday!! Then they will sift through the numerous offers and choose a prospective tenant. What a laughingstock..

  13. If then on August 3rd, 2020 5:38 am

    If the building has been empty since 2008, then it’s not worth $550,000. This is 2020. It’s been empty for 12 years, and the company that was based there is now defunct. That all adds up to the simple fact that it’s not worth $550,000. Truth hurts.

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