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City of Bradenton seeks to buy Tropicana land for $5.25M


The city of Bradenton is buying 32-plus acres from Tropicana off 9th Street East and US 301.
The city of Bradenton is buying 32-plus acres from Tropicana off 9th Street East and US 301.
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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The Bradenton City Council is scheduled to vote this week on whether to acquire property from Tropicana in the city for $5.25 million so it can relocate its public works facilities there.

The deal involves 32.39 acres near the intersection of U.S. 301 and Ninth Street East by the railroad tracks. Officials say it will be used for Public Works and Utilities enterprise facilities. Currently these facilities are located off 13th Avenue West, and the plan is for them to be relocated, according to minutes from a Nov. 28, 2023, council meeting.

Staff working on the relocation wanted to ensure the new facilities would be on at least 10 acres centrally located and zoned properly for the use. After city personnel researching locations met with Tropicana, they announced there was an opportunity to purchase the 32-acre site.

Tropicana — with a history in Bradenton that dates back 77 years — had used the land for trailer-loading, but due to changes in its business processes, the company deemed it surplus, City Administrator Rob Perry told the council during a Nov. 28 briefing. Since that meeting, when the council authorized the city to put together a purchase agreement, Bradenton has been in negotiations with Tropicana.

Italian immigrant Anthony Rossi founded Tropicana in Bradenton in 1947. From 1988 to 2021 it was a unit of PepsiCo. The beverage giant sold a majority portion of the juice maker in 2021 to PAI Partners in a $3.3 billion deal. The Bradenton plant, through 2019, covered 285 acres, with 69 acres under roof, according to a Business Observer story. It was processing 4 billion oranges a year.

The $5.25 million purchase price, meanwhile, is in line with other appraisals in the area, according to city officials. Money for the purchase will come from the general fund ($1.05 million), sanitation fund ($1.05 million) and water/sewer fund ($3.15 million).

City administrators and the city attorney are recommending approval of the purchase, based on documents filed in advance of the May 22 council meeting.

The Bradenton City Council will meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, at City Hall Council Chambers, 101 Old Main St.

According to the purchase agreement, the seller must return the agreement to the buyer by May 29.

 

author

Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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