Since Hurricane Ivan impacted downtown Pensacola in 2004, the historically majority African-American “Tan Yard” community has experienced a lot of redevelopment attention leading to a tremendous amount of public and private investment. On Thursday, November 20th, Quint Studer Properties offered $5.2 million cash for the former site of the downtown wastewater treatment facility located in the “Tan Yard” neighborhood. The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) board of directors on that same day voted unanimously to approve, in concept, the offer.
The vote passed without question from the board. In an interview with the Pensacola Voice Studer stated, “I think one of the major components in our offer was that we were offering cash. There was not an issue or a concern about financing or any other concern as might happen with other entities looking at the property. There were no contingencies with the offer.” The ECUA Executive Director, Steve Sorrell, commented that Studer’s cash offer is a win-win situation for him and the utility authority. He stated further that, “Studer can now develop 19 acres in close proximity to his corporate offices at Maritime Park and we (the ECUA) can reduce some of our corporate debt and we can address other expansion needs of the authority”.
Andrew Rothstedder, the Vice President of the Studer Development Group stated that, “Everything that Quint and Richey Studer do in the city falls under a grand vision statement of improving the quality of life for everyone in Pensacola”. He, also, commented about the property acquisition complimenting the close proximity to the home of Studer’s minor league baseball team, the Blue Wahoos, and the new four-story Studer Group office building named Maritime Place where 200 office workers are now employed.
Studer in an interview with the Pensacola Voice said, “For the immediate short term, we will have ball fields for soccer, lacrosse, and other outdoor sports to allow for the immediate utilization of the property.” However he added that eventually, “We want to make it a healthy village based on residential, educational and medical availabilities.” He says he plans to develop the property in phases. Nevertheless, Studer wants to move expeditiously by using the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ grounds crew to get the proposed athletic fields, and a possible children’s water park on the property. He feels the property has been unused for too long and wants to get people and activity on it as quickly as possible.