Carrabelle grills GUSC on Hexaport plan

Hexaport Photo available for purchase


Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM.

Plans to lease Carrabelle’s Hexaport building are on hold until a special city commission meeting this Tuesday.

At Carrabelle’s regular city meeting Feb. 6, several commissioners asked questions about the business practices of the Gulf Unmanned Systems Center (GUSC), which wants to lease the Hexaport building off Airport Road. The 65,000 square foot structure has remained empty since modular home manufacturer Greensteel declared bankruptcy in 2009. Carrabelle secured grants to finance the construction of the factory building in hopes of securing jobs.

At last week’s meeting, GUSC President Bruce McCormack requested city endorsement of an addendum modifying the existing lease on the building. Centennial Bank took possession of the lease during bankruptcy proceedings against the former tenant.

According to City Attorney Dan Hartman, McCormack is attempting to buy the lease but cannot do so until the addendum is approved. Once the plant is secured, according to their business plan, GUSC will spend almost $900,000 on upgrades and improvements over the first year as it prepares its drone-testing center

McCormack told commissioners Centennial has accepted his terms and wants to move forward with the transaction.

Commissioner Olivia Massey was the first to question McCormack. She asked if he planned to hire 10 employees immediately after the lease was signed. McCormack said he did and Massey said she was disappointed in the employees who have so far been hired.

“We have a different definition of local people,” she said.

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