VentureCrossings, located in Bay County and owned by The St. Joe Company, is the first industrial site to complete Gulf Power's Florida First Sites program in Northwest Florida.
Fourteen sites were initially submitted from public and private landowners in 2013 as part of Gulf Power's program aimed at helping communities prepare locations to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. Of those 14 sites, nine are still working toward their certification and most of them are expected to be certified by the end of February.
"This is the first program of this type in the state of Florida and it has been extremely successful so far," said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. "Northwest Florida has quickly gone from having zero certified sites to having potentially 10 project-ready sites. Having these sites complete McCallum Sweeney Consulting's rigorous due diligence process gives our region a vital competitive edge when working to attract new businesses to the area and encouraging local businesses to grow."
VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre is adjacent to the
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City. The site has
proper zoning, service to utilities and met numerous other qualifications that
make it ready for development. St. Joe, Gulf Power and local, regional and
state economic development agencies will now work to market the site to
prospective companies to bring new jobs to Northwest Florida.
"VentureCrossings is a keystone project for The St. Joe Company in our community's vision to create growth and opportunity in the region," says Jorge Gonzalez, Senior Vice President of Development for The St. Joe Company. "Attaining the certification is a critical milestone to attract technology, industry and commercial jobs to the area."
Gulf Power hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally
recognized site consultant firm, to offer an objective third-party analysis of
the submitted sites. The consulting firm evaluates the properties, identifies
improvements that must be made and then certifies the sites once they have met
all the program requirements.
Landowners had one year to complete the identified
improvements - everything from obtaining permits, improving topography and
producing engineering reports to making sure adequate utilities are available
to the site. Gulf Power is paying half the consultant charges for publicly
owned sites with private landowners paying the full amount.
"Bay County continues to make progress in the effort to create jobs and improving our quality of life," said State Rep. Jay Trumbull. "The VentureCrossings location next to our world-class airport will showcase the assets we have to offer and build on our successes. I look forward to supporting public policy that reinforces our strong private sector."
Bay County's Board of County Commissioners have also supported the program and were pleased with the announcement of the first site being certified.
"We're excited about this certification because we're finally putting words into action - we're doing more than just talking about getting ready for industrial development, and I think anything we can do to get a leg up on our competition throughout the Southeast, all the better for us," Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell said. "The fact that Bay County was number one in this process says there's a lot of good things going on for us and bodes well for our county and the partners we've been working with, the St. Joe Company and Gulf Power. This is a great thing for our community."
The remaining sites working toward certification include one each in Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties and three in Jackson.
For detailed information on this property, please visit the Bay EDA's Sites and Buildings Database. For more information on all of the sites, please visit FloridaFirstSites.com.