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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Broward County has bought nearly 18.6 acres in the approximately 2,000-acre Port Everglades for $10.7 million, or just over $576,819 an acre. This is the largest land sale at the deepwater harbor complex and main seaport here since 1997.

The county represented itself in the negotiations. Christopher Metzger and Rick Etner, senior brokers in the local office of Cushman & Wakefield, represented the seller, Houston-based Dynegy Midstream Services.

Metzger says the parcel had favorable zoning, but had not yet been platted under a state regulation that requires authorized infrastructure elements to be in place prior to construction and calls for impact fees if they are not. “We had some potential willing bidders nationally and locally, but others didn’t want to face the unknown,” which is the amount of the impact fees the county might assess.

The site is next to a security wall built around the port, he tells GlobeSt.com, and a county report depicts it as vital to security because it can provide protection between Federal Highway and the port’s petroleum tank farm. Approximately $45 million has already been spent on security upgrades at the port since Sept. 11.

Metzger says the county’s main interest was in the land’s value as a security buffer. However, the report also projects that Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, which is adjacent to the port, would run out of adequate parking space within five years and that the port will need additional parking within three years as cruise lines replace older vessels with bigger ships. It advises construction of a 5,000-space garage.

“It was clear that Broward County was the best buyer for the site from both a port security standpoint and use for port and airport related activities,” Metzger says. The county’s understanding of the value and proper use, he says, “led to an expeditious closing.”

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