Monday, May 11, 2015

7-ELEVEN VICTORY: Lawsuit dropped, City buys May & San Marco property -- "Oh, thank heaven" for no 7-Eleven!

Another day, another victory. "I have a beautiful feeling! Everything's going our way." No 7-Eleven will be built in our historic area. Settlement agreed to by the City and the largest retail corporation in the world. Thanks to Mayor Nancy Shaver, attorney Jane West (who also saved the town of Briny Breezes), Skip Hutton, Melinda Rakoncay, Matthew Shaffer and other neighborhood and city leaders. Read here

Commission votes to settle with 7-Eleven
Posted: May 11, 2015 - 4:02pm
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PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM The northeast corner of May Street and San Marco Ave. in St. Augustine is the proposed location of a new 7-Eleven convenience store.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM The northeast corner of May Street and San Marco Ave. in St. Augustine is the proposed location of a new 7-Eleven convenience store.

Final settlement

St. Augustine City Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to spend more than $1.4 million to settle with 7-Eleven.

The city plans to buy the property at May Street and San Marco Avenue from 7-Eleven for $1,458,000, which will end a battle with the developer that has spawned two circuit court cases. Closing costs for the city can be up to an additional $30,000.

The settlement, which is also with previous property owner First City Development, needs to be signed by City Manager John Regan. The details of where the money will come from will be worked out by city management.

Regan said the deal should be closed within 15 days.

“Oh, thank heaven there’ll be no 7-Eleven,” Regan said.

7-Eleven appealed two separate decisions by the City Commission to deny issuance of a building permit, through a tie vote, and revoke a permit that had already been issued. In the latter case, residents and local neighborhood associations appealed the city’s decision to issue a building permit and won at a City Commission meeting.

Both cases went to circuit court but will be dropped as part of the settlement, which City Attorney Isabelle Lopez said includes the release of all current and potential litigation. 7-Eleven was seeking to build a 12-pump gas station at the intersection.

Commissioners made the decision after returning from a private meeting to discuss litigation strategy.

Regan said the deal accomplishes several goals including:

■ Keeping the city from a protracted, multi-year lawsuit.

■ Protecting the city from lawsuits related to land-taking.

■ Giving the city control and certainty regarding the property and its future.

The deal also allows the city to control the future of the May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection, which is key to the future of the San Marco Avenue corridor, Regan said.

7-Eleven Attorney James Whitehouse said the developer has consistently worked with the city to meet city standards, but the developer decided to sit down and work out a deal with the city. He said 7-Eleven wants to be a good corporate citizen.

Whitehouse said the deal essentially pays back what has been put in to the proposed development. He noted the case is still pending until closing.

St. Augustine resident Pat Reilly commented on the decision.

“I think it’s an expensive win for the city, and an expensive win for the residents,” she said.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline expects residents to have a lot of questions. Sikes-Kline said questions should be directed to Regan or Lopez.

“We really want to control the corner there,” Sikes-Kline said. “It makes sense to purchase the property.”

She said future use of the property under the city’s control is undetermined.

The deal made local residents happy.

“On behalf of the residents of Nelmar Terrace and all of those who were going to be negatively impacted by the development of a 12-pump 7-Eleven gas station on our entry corridor on San Marco, I am very pleased with the settlement that the City reached today,” Jane West wrote in an email to The Record. “With this settlement, we can all move forward and begin discussing in earnest a traffic flow pattern that makes sense for the intersection of San Marco and May Street, one that is sensitive to the nearby students at the FSDB, as well as residents of Vilano, St. Augustine, and our visitors. In short, this was a ‘win-win-win’ — I’m thrilled.”

Tim Burchfield, assistant city manager, said there are a few city funds that could help finance the deal: The utility, solid waste and stormwater funds. Those could be used to loan the amount to the city’s general fund to be paid back with interest, he said.

Regan said the 7-Eleven case has been litigated in-house, and he did not have a number of how many hours has been spent on the case.

A real estate appraiser with Lampe, Roy & Associates, an appraisal and consulting firm in Jacksonville, wrote to Lopez about the purchase price of $1,458,000.

“Based upon our research, this figure appears to be reflective of the market for this site,” according to a letter.

7-Eleven bought the property for $850,000, about $17 per square foot, and spent more money on architectural studies, an environmental study and engineering, according to the letter.

A look at commercial site sales in the city between a three-year period showed that a price of $25 to $35 for the property would be OK, according to the letter. That would equate to about $1.2 million to $1,435,000 for the 7-Eleven property, but some could pay more in high-demand areas, according to the letter.

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captdave 05/12/15 - 08:30 am 10Let's not forget that this
Let's not forget that this whole fiasco would not have happened had the city not issued the first permit. I hope they have learned this expensive lesson.


Warren Celli said...

Article not available from free market busting coercive source linked. Please provide another. Thank You.

Warren Celli said...

Thanks Ed!