NORTH PORT – The City of North Port’s negotiation team has recommended the City cease the negotiations for a potential public-private partnership with WMS Development Group LLC for the future of Warm Mineral Springs Park.
As the team conducted extensive due diligence, the developers revised their proposal to no longer take on the operation of the springs, citing rising costs for insurance and staffing expenses. Both parties came to the mutual decision that operations of the park should remain with the Parks & Recreation Department.
As a result, staff will be proposing a Phase I revitalization of the 20 acres around the springs performed by the City that would include a suitable admission building and permanent restrooms. In anticipation of this possible outcome, staff had the foresight to add staffing in the current fiscal year’s budget for the operations of the park.
While negotiations did not result in a successful public-private partnership, the City is in a better position to assess and evaluate future plans for the adjoining 60 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the park. Valuable knowledge was gained thanks to the due diligence of staff and contracted subject matter experts:
A threatened and endangered species survey by Pritchett Steinbeck Group, Inc., provided guidance on potential habitat restoration. The City’s newly created Natural Resources Division can also assist with environmental planning and protection efforts.
An extensive geotechnical survey by Ardaman and Associates, anticipated to be completed in May, will provide answers to many questions regarding the suitability of development near the springs and will guide future decisions for the parcel.
An evaluation of the real estate and financial analysis of the Warm Mineral Springs Development Group’s proposal conducted by CBRE, Inc., provided insight into market conditions, construction costs and potential economic impact through commercial opportunities and revenue streams. City staff are also evaluating an impact model that may be useful for future economic development considerations.
A comprehensive real estate valuation analysis by Hettema Saba, LLC, found the annual triple net market rent value for the operational portion of the springs is $495,000 and the market value for the undeveloped land is valued at $16.4 million.
“The City remains open to future opportunities that align with our shared vision for the future of this part of our community,” said City Manager Jerome Fletcher. “We are committed to making Warm Mineral Springs Park an asset we can all be proud of. The extensive research and analysis done during negotiations also gives us the confidence to move forward exploring a possible Phase II for the remaining acreage and the potential benefits it could bring to our taxpayers.”
For more information visit NorthPortFL.gov/WMSPMasterPlan.