Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sheffield Group Fails to Meet Another Deadline, Forcing Commissioners to Change Deadline Again

Last month, I detailed how a group of developers led by Gary Sheffield failed to meet a deadline - for the second time - to secure $23 million for a new baseball complex in Pasco Co.  Only upon coming up with the cash, will the group get an $11 million payout from county bed taxes to complete the project.

Sheffield and his partner, James Talton, tried to convince commissioners that $3 million in cash and eligibility for another $20 million in EB-5 financing would suffice.  Of course, being eligible for a loan and actually securing one is a much, much, much different ballgame.

Realizing this, commissioners were unimpressed...but apparently not enough to kill the plan, according to a story today from the Tampa Tribune.  In fact, they granted a third extension:
On Tuesday, they set a drop-dead date of Dec. 5 to guarantee at least $3 million for the design and permitting of the park. They'll decide on Jan. 13 whether to accept the deal or terminate the contract.
This is the last extension because we have commitments we have to make,” Chairman Ted Schrader said. “I think we all agree it's a fantastic location, it's a great project. We just have to make sure we have the right partner.”

Sheffield said he's confident he and Talton will be able to secure the funds by January. “We're close. We're so close it's not even funny,” he said.
I've always said the ambitious 100-acre project near Wiregrass Ranch was overly-ambitious for a private developer, but when a small community has big-league dreams...nothing will stop it from extending deadline after deadline.

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