Coral Gables firm set to buy vacant labs, offices from Port St. Lucie for $14.5M

The price would fall far short of payng off a $64M loan that financed construction of the 107,000-square-foot building

The former home of the defunct Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida
The former home of the defunct Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida

A Coral Gables-based firm moved a step closer to purchasing a vacant laboratory and office building from the city of Port St. Lucie for $14.5 million, or $135 per square foot.

The city’s mayor dislikes the deal, but he was the sole dissenter when the city council voted 4-1 to approve the sale to Coral Gables-based  RER Ventures, a distressed real estate investment firm.

The city council’s vote triggered a 90-day due diligence period, after which the deal could close within 30 days.

An independent appraisal valued the 107,000-square-foot building at $14.5 million, the price RER Ventures offered to pay.

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Port St. Lucie would lose $49.5 million on the sale because the city guaranteed a $64 million loan to finance construction of the 107,000-square-foot building, which has nine laboratories.

The city seized the property last year after its previous occupant, the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI), shut down in 2015 after about two years in business.

Port St. Lucie has been repaying the $64 million loan since VGTI closed.

Mayor Greg Oravec objected to the $14.5 million appraised value of the former VGTI building because, with creditworthy tenants, the property would be worth more. []  Mike Seemuth


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