Port Orange Considers Future of Old Police Station
In an economy where beachfront condos can’t sell, a vacated old police station — a bomb shelter-like building — doesn’t stand much of a chance.
But a commercial real estate company recently inquired with city officials about the availability of the station on Dunlawton Boulevard, which closed in early 2010 when a new multi-million dollar facility opened on Clyde Morris Boulevard.
That interest to buy the place led to a discussion recently by the City Council regarding the future of the building, given neighboring Palmer College of Chiropractic currently isn’t interested.
“They didn’t think it fit their business model at this point,” City Manager Ken Parker said of the school. “That doesn’t mean that down the road it wouldn’t. But right now it doesn’t.”
So, to sell or lease? That is the question.
Councilman Don Burnette summed up the overall sentiment of leaning toward keeping the building, “the footprint entrance of City Center Circle.”
“However, I think we also have to be practical. If somebody comes along with the right offer, I would be more than willing to listen to it, because of the type of building it is,” he said. “It would take major modifications for most uses. And uses of things like storage, I can’t see us being able to do anything from a high-revenue standpoint.”
The old station was built in 1985. Over the years, the building had been restructured, but space remained tight.
Whether leased or sold, councilmen said they preferred a high-visibility business moving in, possibly a bank, given the prime location was a “focal point” for City Center.
Burnette said either way, an effort should begin to get the building occupied.
“If we don’t have direction, a vision for that property, and it’s just going to sit there until we decide what that is, we’re going to have to maintain that building. This could take years,” he said. “And I just think that’s a bad allocation of resources.”
Councilman Bob Pohlmann said he preferred leasing the building for now, concerned that a good sale price would be difficult to land in these bad economic times.
“I think leasing it is an option, a moneymaker for the city. And we retain the property,” he said. “I think that’s the way to go.”
Vice Mayor Dennis Kennedy agreed.
“It’s just too valuable a piece of property,” he said. “It’s one of those things that if we let it go, at some point some council is going to be sitting here and saying, ‘Why did we do it?’ “