City Manager Floats Economic Development Concept at Palm Coast City Council Workshop

Retention of Sea Ray Boats and a 21 acre business/industrial park to attract new businesses are the motives behind Jim Landon’s plan.

Palm Coast, Florida – January 13, 2009 – At today’s city council workshop, Palm Coast city manager, Jim Landon presented a concept aimed toward retention of Sea Ray Boats, one of Flagler County’s primary employers, and toward the development of a 21 acre business/industrial park located across Roberts Road from the Sea Ray plant. This was the first public airing of the idea and much work remains, but council members were generally receptive to the plan.


A few years ago, when the real estate market was hot, developers worked toward getting approval for marina, residential and commercial projects which would border the existing Sea Ray boat manufacturing facility on Roberts Road. Sea Ray worried that residential development of adjacent properties would bring about an inevitable challenge from future residents offended by emissions from the plant.
A complex agreement was worked out between Sea Ray, two of the developers, Flagler County, and the State of Florida. The agreement provided for developers to pay Sea Ray $3million ($1.5 million each) toward upgrades to the plant’s emission controls and to extend Roberts Road beyond the plant entrance to Colbert Lane.


The Roberts Road extension is nearly completed. One developer has paid Sea Ray their share. The other developer, LandMar, has paid $300K. The remaining $1.2 million payment to Sea Ray is contingent upon the sale of lots on the LandMar-owned property. The property is already approved for residential development but LandMar does not plan to move forward until the market improves. Thus Sea Ray is not likely to receive the remaining $1.2 million for quite some time, if ever.
The agreement was struck during good times. Today’s housing market and overall financial environment are more challenging. Flagler County’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the state. Sea Ray recently announced the closing of four of their boat manufacturing facilities and faces an uncertain market for its products. The number of workers employed by Sea Ray locally has dropped.
Local government has three related goals, all deemed of critical importance:
  • Retention of existing jobs
  • Growth of new jobs
  • Economic development aimed at growing the industrial and commercial property tax base to providing relief to residential tax payers.

Landon’s plan

Under Landon’s proposed plan, the city would advance $1.2 million to Sea Ray to allow them to move forward on capital improvements. The city would also purchase about 21 acres from LandMar at a price estimated to be $4 million or less. The price would then be discounted by a $1.25 million offset (discount). All affected properties, valued at approximately $7 million, would be annexed into the City of Palm Coast. The estimated $4 million cost to the city would come out of the reserve fund which is currently holding between $10 million and $11 million.
The benefits to the city if the plan were to be adopted are:
  • An added incentive (but no guarantee) for Sea Ray to keep the existing production facility open
  • The city would gain a 21-22 acre commercial/industrial park to support future industrial development efforts.
  • The city tax base would be expanded
This initial presentation aimed to gauge how receptive council members would be to the idea. Recognizing the critical need for both job retention and economic development, the council generally concurred with the concept. But much work remains before a final plan is submitted. Existing agreements have to be reconciled with the new plans. A lawsuit was recently filed by another developer over Sea Ray emissions. The developer owns the adjacent former Lehigh cement plant site which is already approved for a mixed-use marina, residential, commercial project.
3 replies
  1. George Meegan
    George Meegan says:

    Rabit out of hat?

    Where is Landon coming up with all this money to spend? The project is a private sector venture, leave it that way. If they don’t think it’s a go then we certainly would be wrong to spend one more nickel. This isn’t Texas where Landon came from it’s Palm Coast. The big "D" here is not Dallas it’s "D" as in don’t do it with our money. He’s acting like a probe on NCIS, and you know what Gibbs would do to the backside of his head.

  2. Jack Lillywhite
    Jack Lillywhite says:

    Day Late, Dollar Short

    Talk about timing! Palm Coast is about 15 years behind schedule. They should have been taking these kind of economic diversity efforts long ago. Under today’s conditions this is thinking "inside the box" that every struggling local tax base is doing at the same time. Palm Coast/Flagler County need to find the strong discriminators that separate them from everyone else and then begin to focus in on those businesses that reflect back those needs.

  3. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    More Acreage for Industrial Parks

    Does anyone know the full Build Out of the Pine Lakes Industrial/Research Parks’ 40 acres?
    FTC Decision and Order:
    It is further ordered
    (2) an office and research park area located upon respondents’ land at Palm Coast, to consist of at least 40 acres, which shall include appropriate roads, water lines, sewers and landscaping suitable for possible future construction of office buildings or research facilities;
    Consequently, does this mean P.C. will now have the original 40 Acres plus an additional 21-22 acres?
    Also, we always thought that the former full amount of land of the Lehigh Cement Plant was donated to us by ITT for a Park, wasn’t it?
    We dont’ know how many acres are in the Palm Coast Insdustrial Park, does anyone know?
    It will be nice to have more space:
    We continue now at a relaxing pace through the middle of a boomtown. One sure sign of a solid future is the arrival of new businesses today. And signs of these progressive times are everywhere. WalMart, KentuckyFried Chicken and Lil’ Champ stores, all coming soon, Shell Food Mart and Sun Medical Services, a new Shopping center, west of I-95, now under construction; new companies at three industrial parks. With all this activity comes jobs, a more diverse and balanced economy, more services close to home, a strong foundation for future growth, and perhaps nicest of all…the advantaes of a boomtown minus the headaches. Namely, long lines of traffic, huge trucks on neighborhood streets; split-session schools. You wont find these in Palm Coast. As the community grows, gaining momentum with each passing year, the wisdom and foresight of long-range planning become apparent. Local residents and business leaders are committed to wise growth management and high community standards. The furture hold promise instead of problems. Not every boomtown can say that. New Industry:
    Di-Bar Electronic Products, Inc. manufacture of cellular phones,
    Climatrol, INc. Manufacture /installation of pool/patio enclosures
    Lightning Performance Products, Inc.-design/manufacture of calculator components
    CEAG Electric Corp-manufacture of power supply equipment.
    New Stores and Restaurants, Palm Harbor Shopping Center:
    China Palace Restaurant, Nora’s Vanity, Discount Liquor Emporium, Slic Chic Senior, Flagler Office Supply, Aimee’s Hallmark, Ferrara’s P[izza parlor, Ceramic Tile and Imports, Elsewhere:
    Wendy’s, Wal-Mart (1988, with shopping center, Kentucky Fried Chicken ( summer, 1987), Sun Bank, Flagler Automotive Repair Center, Shell Food Mart, Lil’ Champ stores ( spring 1987), St. Joe Plaza, Opening summer, 1987, Phase 1 tenants include:
    Palm Coast Construction Pools and Spas, Palm Coast Lumber and Supply, Benus Interiors, GJ’s Auto Parts, Inc., NAPA, Josephs’ Italian Cuisine, Seafood Emporium, Corky’s Bath, Housewares and Gifts, Seaside Designs, Bikes and Trikes.
    *The Palm Coaster, Spring 1987, p. 10-11.
    We hope you enjoyed the little History we shared above; we hope everyone is having a nice start of 2009.
    George Edward Chuddy

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