Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and City Council President Andy Terhaar today announced that attorneys for the City of Pensacola and Quint and Rishy Studer met yesterday to discuss the Studers’ proposed leases for three parcels at the Community Maritime Park.
The Studers have proposed leasing parcels 3, 6, and 9 at the Maritime Park in order to develop the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship along with other projects. The City received the proposed leases in late June. Both the Mayor and City Council have expressed their public support for the proposal, with the City Council voting last week to allow 60 days for due diligence. “Taking thirty to sixty days to complete the due diligence on a real estate transaction of this size is not unreasonable,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward.
Hayward and Terhaar outlined several issues which have yet to be resolved:
• Lease term — The parties need to agree on the length of the leases.
• Approval of uses — The uses proposed by the Studers are not detailed in the current leases. Any changes to property uses should be approved by the City rather than the CMPA.
• Timeline — The proposed leases give the Studers up to five years to begin construction.
• Parking — Mr. Studer previously indicated that he would seek “non-exclusive” parking spaces. However, the leases refer to these spaces as “reserved.” That language needs to be clear.
• Rent adjustments — The parties need to agree on a structure for periodic rent increases over the term of the lease.
“I think that both our attorneys and the attorneys for the Studers agree there are some issues that we need to work through,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward. “I think the meeting yesterday was positive and I’m looking forward to getting this deal done as quickly as possible.”
Hayward and Terhaar shared their excitement about the Studers’ continued investment in Pensacola and praised what they called a “proven track record.”
“We will not accept the leases that the CMPA recommended, as they do not contain all of the terms necessary to protect the long-term interests of the City,” said Mayor Hayward. “This is the people’s park. The City Council and I have a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens and taxpayers, and we are not going move ahead without doing our due diligence. I’m sure Mr. Studer would agree that if we can move forward in a cooperative spirit, this will be a win-win.”
“I’m looking forward to hearing the Studers’ response after yesterday's meeting,” said Council President Terhaar. “We are ready to get this done.”