DeSantis, Cabinet eye emergency ‘hub’

by | Jun 7, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet will consider purchasing a 40-acre warehouse site in Auburndale for $75 million next week, aiming to transform it into a central hub for emergency supply storage and distribution, as approved by the Legislature with a total project budget of $116 million.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet are scheduled next week to consider buying a Central Florida warehouse site that would be turned into a “hub” for storing and moving supplies during emergencies.

The 40-acre site is in Auburndale, along Interstate 4, and would be purchased from CH Realty IX-DAL I Lakeland Auburndale, L.P., according to Cabinet agenda information posted online Thursday. The state would retrofit a facility that has 422,199 square feet of warehouse space and 39,200 square feet of office space, along with areas for 400 trailers and 274 cars. It also would include docks for loading and unloading supplies and living quarters.

“Upon completion of a retrofit of the space, the warehouse will be fully air-conditioned and will include racking, dock equipment, material handling equipment, cold storage, a dedicated area for trailer storage and open floor space,” the agenda information said. “This will allow the location to accommodate DEM’s (the state Division of Emergency Management’s) disaster supplies such as emergency food, water, tarps, generators, PPE (personal protective equipment) and other supplies.”

The Legislature this year approved spending $116 million on the project, with up to $75 million available for purchasing the property and closing costs, according to the state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

“The facility will serve as the hub facility for the storage and movement of emergency supplies in this state during emergency activation and response,” the budget said. The Cabinet information said the purchase remains “subject to appraisal.” DeSantis and the Cabinet will meet Wednesday.


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