Dade City hopes brownfield designation leads to 'game changer' development

DADE CITY — The city has officially deemed a piece of prime but environmentally contaminated property near downtown a brownfield.6 Months Ago5 Months Ago7 Months AgoThe designation for the property was necessary so the city can seek state economic incentives...

Dade City hopes brownfield designation leads to 'game changer' development

DADE CITY — The city has officially deemed a piece of prime but environmentally contaminated property near downtown a brownfield.

6 Months Ago

5 Months Ago

7 Months Ago

The designation for the property was necessary so the city can seek state economic incentives for a developer or property owner to clean up the site and build there.

During a meeting Tuesday night, the Dade City Commission voted unanimously to designate 3.4 acres at Seventh Street and Robinson Avenue as a brownfield, with the hope that after petroleum contamination is cleaned up, a high-end, mixed-use development will be built on the former Pasco Motors property.

The designation is part of a program administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that seeks to provide economic incentives to potential developers and investors to clean up sites that are, or may be, environmentally contaminated. Such properties include former gas stations, dry cleaners, schools or businesses that used lead, gasoline or chemicals.

Once a government entity passes a resolution for a brownfield designation and it is approved by the state, property owners who agree to voluntarily participate can receive numerous incentives, including job-creation tax refunds, funding for cleanup and state loan guarantees to clean up properties.

One of the criteria required for a brownfield resolution is interest from investors in a particular property, which the Pasco Motors site meets, community development director Mike Sherman told commissioners.

"There is a great deal of interest in this site," Sherman said.

Specifically, commissioners have heard from United American Realty Corp., a development company interested in building a project on the property dubbed EQ-NX (pronounced E-qui-nox), consisting of 60 residential apartments, 65 boutique hotel rooms, and retail and office space.

Mayor Camille Hernandez has called the plan a "game changer," which she reiterated in voting for the brownfield resolution, saying it is an "opportune" time as the city plans for redevelopment of its downtown core.

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