Downtown tech park, not longer tech

Mayor Ashton Hayward is asking the Pensacola City Council to amended the PEDC Interlocal agreement that will allow the PEDC to market the property between Aragon and the Pensacola Bay Center to any business, not just technology companies.

Originally the site was to be the home of Appriver and Avalex. The marketing plan was for those two tech companies to be the draw for others to come to downtown Pensacola and build at the park.

Unfortunately, then Community Development Director Thaddeus Cohen turned down Avalex’s plans for its new offices. Avalex instead bought the closed World Ford dealership in south Santa Rosa County and relocated there. Appriver decided to stay in Gulf Breeze. No one else has bought a lot.

And the property remains vacant and Escambia County is out $2 million. The city and county will not receive any proceeds from the sale or any ad valorem taxes on the lots until the county line of credit is repaid.

The amendment will go before the city council on Monday, Aug. 20 at its agenda review session.