LARGO – Step by step, Largo moved forward on its mission to build a new mixed-use town hall along West Bay Drive. On December 21, the city passed one of its most important milestones to date.
After little discussion, City Commissioners unanimously approved four resolutions authorizing the borrowing of $ 62,385,000 through the issuance of municipal bonds.
According to CFO Kim Adams, the majority of the loan – $ 58 million – will go to the new five-story municipal complex that will be built on the north side of West Bay Drive between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Another $ 4 million will be spent on the reconstruction of the administrative facility of the Parks Division, and the rest will be the cost of issuing bonds.
City leaders hope the new city hall will be a catalyst for a downtown that’s struggling to attract and retain business.
As a result, the facility will have 18,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and a separate parking garage with over 300 parking spaces. It will also include a public plaza, outdoor dining opportunities, and flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces.
The company is the costliest in the city’s history, which is why it will be issuing bonds.
“We’ve never issued any bonds in my 34 years with the city,” Adams said.
Due to improvements and increasing material and labor costs, the total estimated cost of the project now stands at $ 58 million, of which approximately $ 3 million is for the purchase of three plots of land. .
Although the city is a rare bond issuer, Adams said lenders trust Largo.
“We received an AA bond rating from Standard & Poors, which is a very good bond rating,” he said. “It’s considered a medium-high grade. “
Few cities receive an AAA rating, he added, and the AA is only two degrees lower than the AAA at the top.
“The S&P Problems I think it’s 18 different ratings, so we’re definitely near the top of the rating scale, which means S&P believes we’re financially sound and will be able to pay off the debt, ”he said.
The interest rate on the 30-year bond issue will not be known until January 6, when the underwriters purchase the bonds.
But he predicts it will be a low rate of around 2.5 percent.
There was no discussion among the Commissioners about the obligations themselves, but Commissioner Jamie Robinson assured those listening that it had been a long process with a lot of thought.
“It’s not just something that happened yesterday,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone feels comfortable that we’re not here just to approve things.”
If all goes according to plan, the city plans to launch the project in mid-2022.