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LEESBURG, FL-Such a deal. That’s what has city commissioners concerned in this Lake County city of 16,000 residents 45 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

Commissioners are postponing a vote on the transaction until they gather additional information on the land’s value and the terms of the proposed acquisition.

The deal centers around a $1.6 million purchase by a so-far unidentified corporate buyer for 200 acres of city-owned land that would be used to develop a 1.2 million-sf warehouse/distribution center at an estimated construction cost of $60 million.

The buyer is believed to be Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Neither the city nor Wal-Mart will confirm or deny the speculation.

The center would be the second largest facility of its kind in Central Florida, next to the 1.5 million sf, 10-year-old distribution site used by Kmart in neighboring Ocala, FL.

The purchase price of the Leesburg land equates to $8,000 per acre or about 18 cents per sf. Although the dirt is in the middle of the city’s 826-acre water treatment facility site and sprayfield, away from dense residential areas, the city now wonders if it would be able to replace the 200 acres anywhere else at the same $8,000 per-acre price.

Also concerning the city is the buyer’s demand that the buyer, and not the city retain the title insurance company that would oversee the land transaction. If a transaction glitch was discovered later, the city argues it would be on shaky legal ground to challenge the matter.

The buyer is also demanding a four-month option plus two additional four-month extensions on the land deal. That means the buyer would have a one-year due diligence period barring the city from making a deal with another buyer.

The planned warehouse/distribution center would create 1,200 jobs at the project’ site and another 1,200 jobs at business servicing the center, according to the city’s economic development department.

The buyer could also be eligible for a total $6.4 million economic incentive package.

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