After a months-long battle, Bang Energy, an energy-drink company based in Weston, has outbid retail giant Amazon for a piece of land in Broward County.
During a December 1 meeting of the Broward County Commission, commissioners agreed to lease the county-owned property to Bang. The parcel, which occupies more than 60 acres, is located west of Pembroke Pines at 19801 Sheridan St., across from the Chapel Trail Nature Preserve.
Bang wants to build a manufacturing plant at the location, where it has scooped up neighboring properties this year. But the company has hit several roadblocks along the way.
When Bang presented its bid for the land at a county commission meeting on October 21, a representative said the company's median employee salary was $62,400 — a figure that's just a bit higher than the median household income for a family in Broward County ($57,278). Vice Mayor Steve Geller, who has since been elected county mayor, asked to see documentation.
That led to some backpedaling from Bang: On November 11, a representative emailed the county to report that a mistake had been made in the payroll software and that the correct median salary for Bang Energy employees is actually $45,760.
And when Broward's Office of the County Auditor reviewed Bang's salary data, it found that the median salary for the 707 Bang employees in Florida is slightly lower, at $42,500.
Despite the discrepancies, at $42.5K Bang still outpaces Amazon's median employee salary for Amazon's proposed distribution and logistics site ($31,200), which led commissioners to reaffirm their preference for Bang Energy on December 1. Going into the meeting, Commissioner Barbara Sharief put forth a motion to rescind the bid from Bang, but she pulled the motion when it became clear her fellow commissioners wanted to move forward.
Although Bang prevailed, the company may have trouble accessing water and sewer services at the site. That's because neighboring cities are responsible for water and sewer hookups, not the county.
In the mid-2000s, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was planning to build an immigrant detention center in the area, Pembroke Pines refused to supply city services. In 2012, after years in legal limbo, ICE abandoned its plans for the property.
In an email included in the county commission's agenda packet, Craven Thompson, an engineering firm working with Bang Energy, said the cities of Sunrise and Pembroke Pines are both capable of supplying water services to the location, and that Pembroke Pines had already expressed interest in doing so.
Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles F. Dodge didn't respond to an email from New Times seeking to confirm whether the city will provide services to Bang.
Bang isn't allowed to move onto the property just yet because the deal with the county isn't complete. Although Bang was the top bidder for the location, the county still has to negotiate the deal, and the county administrator must review the agreement because it could be a lease for decades.
"There are a number of challenges and it was obvious…there's a big concern about water. I think there's also a big concern about reviewing the financials," Commissioner Tim Ryan said at last week's meeting. "A go-slow approach is best in the county's interest."
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