New post office

An artist’s rendering of the Live Oak Post Office in the old Pic ’N’ Save building.

LIVE OAK — The redevelopment project of the old Pic ’N’ Save into new businesses received an extension on a startup grant from the Live Oak Community Redevelopment Agency.

At the CRA board’s Jan. 28 meeting, the board unanimously approved extending the startup grant deadline for completion to September.

As part of the grant requirements on the project, a tenant at the building at 1415 Ohio Avenue North, must pull permits for business tax receipts as well as city services.

According to CRA Director Gabrielle Redfern, the first known tenant, the United States Postal Service, will not be pulling any of those permits. Redfern said the USPS believes it is sovereign even in a leased space.

However, the relocation of the post office to the building is key for the development of the site, including luring other tenants.

“That relocation will be the catalyst for future tenants,” Redfern said.

The USPS is expected to move the post office in late spring. It is leasing 12,318 square feet of the building, leaving plenty of room for other businesses to operate in the building as well.

Redfern said the owner of the site — Dana Berman with Live Oak Investments — is optimistic that with the extension, there should be no trouble attracting other tenants to fulfill the grant requirements.

Mark Stewart, a city councilor and CRA board member, said he was fine with granting the extension but he, personally, didn’t feel like those permits should hold up the grant either.

“They did what we expected except the permits, they brought in the business,” Stewart said.

CRA hires new attorney

The CRA board also unanimously approved the hiring of a new board attorney, Christine Townsend.

The contract with Townsend calls for a $400 per month retainer for up to three hours of work. Townsend will bill $150 per hour for any additional work beyond that three hour base.

Redfern said the city received one other application for the position, but the South Floridian didn’t have a license to practice law in the state of Florida.

Facade grants approved

The board also unanimously approved two facade grants, one for the construction of a new sign at the Dixie Grill, and the other for parking lot improvements at the office at 118 Parshley Street, which houses Kyle McLeod’s law office as well as the law office for Angela Cancio and A-1 Bail Bonds.

The Dixie Grill project came in under budget and the 75% grant reimbursement was for $10,825.07.

“It sure is pretty,” Redfern said about the completed project.

McLeod’s project cost more than $20,000, Redfern said, leading to a max reimbursement of $12,000.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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