There’s a Bridge for Sale in Tallahassee
I’ve got a brilliant idea to make some money. There’s this Jewish neighborhood down the street from me, and I think it’s the perfect place to put a pork BBQ joint. Or better yet, I’m thinking of opening up a University of Florida paraphernalia shop on Stadium Drive. I’m gonna’ be rich. Any takers?
Last Sunday, members of the Tallahassee community met at the corner of Crump and Miccosukee Roads to discuss their collective outrage over a proposed gas station located just across the street from the Crump trailhead parking lot of the Miccosukee Greenway. Residents in attendance expressed concern about changes the gas station could make to the area. They worried over the possibility of increased traffic, groundwater contamination, light pollution, etc.
Several of the more heavily engaged citizens sat as a panel and facilitated the bulk of this discussion by taking questions from the audience and by offering their own opinions on the situation. These “community organizers” – if you’ll forgive my tongue in cheek, dry sense of humor – focused on one point, perhaps more than others. The lack of economic sustainability.
A large 20-pump gas station, equipped with a car wash, doesn’t seem like an economically viable business venture on the rural corner of Crump and Miccosukee, they argued. What happens to the site if this thing goes belly up? The panel asserted that the amount of vehicular traffic passing the location amounts to approximately 15% of what the Florida Department of Transportation standards suggest as necessary to support this business.
Which brings me back to my original question… Any venture capitalists out there want to fund my University of Florida sweatshirt and bumper sticker store?
More often than not, things are what they appear to be. Mr. William G. Brown, the gentleman who purchased the site of the proposed gas station, is most likely a very savvy businessman. A savvy businessman who would not spend the $70,000 he spent purchasing the property – and however much it would cost to construct a gas station – without believing that he would get a good return on his investment.
In the case of the proposed gas station, this means that Mr. Brown needs additional passersby from somewhere, in order to keep the business afloat. If the community organizers are correct in their assertions, those numbers aren’t there today.
However, a quick look at the Leon County Property Appraiser website shows that there are thousands of nearby, undeveloped acres owned by entities with vague and nondescript names such as Powerhouse, Inc., CNL Tallahassee, and TOE2, Inc. Mr. Brown himself owns about a hundred acres just south of the proposed site.*
Maybe this was just a bad business decision. But if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.
*(Note: property records reflect a Mr. Brown and a Mr. Brown, Sr., but both are listed as having the same address.)
Follow me on Twitter at Patience Burke@TameTheGorilla.