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Largo to build $1 million warehouse
Largo commissioners OK staff to design environmental services building
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LARGO – The city of Largo will be hiring a consultant to design a new warehouse for the environmental services department, after determining that an existing building would be too expensive to remodel.

Largo commissioners gave their consent to the move during their meeting Dec. 3. Commissioner Michael Smith did question how staff came up with the tentative price tag of the building: between $1 million and $1.2 million.

“We had some issues with the IT building,” he said. “Out of curiosity, what kind of guarantee are we looking at from this study that this is not going to be like the IT building?”

Cost estimates for the approved but controversial Data Center increased after the commission initially signed off on it. Acting facilities manager Chas Jordan said staff’s current estimate was based on the square footage determined from a spaces-needs analysis completed last year. The city will have a more thorough estimate after the building is actually designed, he added.

The city has $680,000 budgeted for a remodel of an old building it purchased from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority a number of years ago, located near its environmental service complex at 5100 150th Ave. The goal was to create a more centralized warehouse facility for all of environment services, Jordan said.

It was for that reason that the city hired a consultant to determine what the department needed in terms of storage space, what kinds of storage space it would use and needed and where it would be most appropriate to put it, he said. The consultant also reviewed existing storage facilities

“In summation, what they found is this: there is adequate storage space on site, but every place where there is storage available, there is something uniquely difficult about using that space for environmental services’ purposes,” Jordan said.

The consultant determined that the PTSA building might not be the best option. It does not meet current building code requirements and does not have a truck loading dock, which would increase the complexity of unloading supplies and materials when they are delivered. Its deteriorated state, including corroded curtain walls, roof panels and structural members, generally make it only a temporary warehouse solution, one that would have to be replaced in potentially five years, according to staff reports.

None of the storage buildings in the complex, including a warehouse and an outside storage facility, are hurricane-hardened, nor are they elevated out of the flood plain.

Environmental services hopes to build a category 3-rated building, elevated out of the flood plain, providing indoor and outdoor storage, “all in a centralized location where we can easily access the inventory,” Jordan said.

The staff report was not an official item to be voted on, but commissioners gave their consensus to the project. They will review the design of the building once it is completed.

RaceTrac coming to East Bay

Commissioners also approved a change to the future land use designation of an 8.1-acre parcel, where the new owner plans to build a RaceTrac gas station and convenience store.

The property at 1201 E. Bay Drive used to be the Missing Links Driving Range and ice cream shop.

Commissioner Curtis Holmes applauded the “neato project,” explaining that it provided a much-needed gas station to the south side of West Bay Drive. He also questioned what the owners would do with the remaining 5.7 acres not slated for the gas station. The parcel is intersected by Duke Energy easement, which makes part of the property hard to develop, the portion that happens to abut the Largo Central Park Nature Preserve.

“If (the owner) wants to donate that land to the city, I don’t think we’d turn him down,” Holmes hinted.

‘Meet’ the recycling truck

One of Largo’s new recycling trucks will be on display Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Walmart Neighborhood Market, 13817 Walsingham Road in Largo.

The public is invited to meet with staff from the city’s recycling division to learn about Largo’s expanded program. Starting in February of 2014, recycling will be collected in a large wheeled cart instead of a recycling bin to make it easier for families to recycle. The city of Largo also will be adding more materials to its collection, including plastics numbered 1 through 7, paper cartons and colored glass.

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