Florida's Urban Advantages - Worth a Second Look
Unique opportunities and incentives await growing companies in Florida's urban areas.
Today, on what looked like a pretty miserable piece of property, a Brownfield designation has become the catalyst for construction of a 75,000-square-foot, multi-level building that will serve as corporate headquarters for Taylor, Bean & Whitaker and bring some 200 new, higher-than-average-wage jobs to the region. The opening of the facility in November 2007 will breathe new life into a formerly contaminated, deteriorating site and, with improved road access, sidewalks and lighting, transform an entire neighborhood.
“It really has been a great project,” says Farkas. “The advantages to coming in on a designated Brownfield site are great for companies that want to reduce some up-front costs.” Plus, he adds, the whole community benefits “by building up areas that really have very little potential otherwise.”Brownfields Around the State:
Sites in North Miami Beach, Orlando and Gainesville are success stories.
- The Biscayne Commons project in North Miami Beach, where the city was determined to revitalize property that had been a landfill. Through aggressive public and private partnerships and effective engineering and cleanup, a site that was once an eyesore now hosts an $18-million upscale retail center.
- City View in Orlando’s Parramore area, on the site of a former gas station. A Brownfield designation opened the door for cleanup, and this attractive, multi-use development combining residential, retail and office space has helped turn a once-declining neighborhood into a progressive community.
- A new storm water management facility in Gainesville built on land formerly occupied by a manufactured gas plant. A Brownfield designation allowed the city to apply for state and federal funding to remediate the property. Now, in partnership with public and private agencies, the site is being transformed into a natural recreational area with walking/jogging trails; a historic depot on the property will be renovated for community activities.
According to Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private partnership for economic development, Brownfields in Florida are some of the easiest such properties in the nation to remediate because the severity of environmental degradation/contamination here is much lower than in many other U.S. states. Businesses that elect to clean up and redevelop existing Brownfield sites are provided with generous financial incentives, regulatory benefits, technical assistance and liability protection. A few of the advantages include:
- $2,500 Job Bonus Refund for each new job created by an eligible business
- Highly attractive business locations with existing infrastructure
- Voluntary cleanup tax credits
- Cleanup liability protection
- Low-interest loans for assessment and cleanup
- Increased State Loan Guarantee which can improve lending opportunities
- Expedited permitting
And since many Brownfield properties are located within Urban Enterprise Zones, additional financial incentives may be available.