FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2014
DEP MAKES PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL OF $40 MILLION IN LAND SALES TO BENEFIT CONSERVATION
~Department remains committed to buying conservation lands in Fla.~
TALLAHASSEE- The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands is making great strides in turning a profit to benefit conservation efforts across the state. The division is in the process of selling many state-owned surplus non-conservation lands to increase the budget for future purchases of valuable conservation lands. Some of the recent and upcoming bids include five former prisons, with required minimum bids on those totaling more than $17 million. The move supports the vision of the 2014-2015 legislature, which gave DEP the authority to sell $40 million worth of non-conservation land. At this point, the division is on target to meet that goal.
“It is a priority of the department to acquire and manage lands needed for conservation and public purpose and to dispose of surplus, state-owned lands which are no longer needed,” said Division of State Lands Director Kelley Boree. “We continue working hard to ensure Floridians and visitors are provided both the greatest conservation and recreation lands.”
The department currently has 15 surplus non-conservation properties in various stages of the disposition process with an estimated value of about $44 million. In fact, in the past two weeks alone, bid openings have been held for four parcels of land in Hendry, Nassau, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. That includes more than 210 acres in Palm Beach that is the former site of the Glades Correctional Institute that is part of a $1.2 million deal.
Four additional bid openings are being held in the next 30 days for land in Hillsborough, Broward, DeSoto and Indian River Counties, which will yield at least an additional $15.5 million, if the minimum bid is met. The division also has contracts for three sales in the closing process in Highlands, Hillsborough and Palm Beach Counties for a total of more than $16 million.
Of the remaining four potential sales, two of the buyers are local governments in Miami-Dade and Volusia Counties. The other two parcels are in Duval and Leon Counties and will be offered out for bid.
All parcels currently in the process are expected to close prior to or during fiscal year 2014/2015, pending successful bids, Board of Trustees approval and successful closings. All of the sales will count toward the $40 million goal.