County To Buy Airconditioning Plant For 9 Million
By Charlotte Libov
Saying it will save money and is better than renovating a county plant, Miami-Dade commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $9 million to buy a downtown plant used to air-condition major government buildings.
The county also will spend $9.2 million to expand the 1110 NE First Ave. plant and $1.5 million to connect the chilled water loops with loops of the county’s plant.
County Manager George M. Burgess said the purchase will save money. "We need chilled water for our buildings," he told commissioners. "I went through the analysis of this plan versus keeping our own plant, and the analysis showed that this is the better plan."
The purchase would save $7.2 million over 15 years, according to staff reports, because without it, the county would have to build a plant to serve three buildings it plans to construct.
The county is buying the plant from TECO Thermal Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Tampa Electric Co., which bought it almost four years ago from FPL.
The plant is to be expanded and connected to the county’s downtown chilled-water distribution loop to provide air-conditioning to TECO’s current clients, existing county facilities and buildings under development: two large office towers at the Overtown Transit Station and the future Children’s Courthouse.
Commissioner Audrey Edmonson said the purchase is good for Overtown.
"The chiller plant has the potential to become an economic engine for the neighborhood," she said. "The need for this area is pervasive, and this chiller plant may be the venture that may do just that. It can bring much-needed changes to the area."
She asked Mr. Burgess to meet with Overtown citizens to discuss opportunities the purchase may bring and said the county negotiated in good faith "to develop a public-private partnership" with TECO. Advertisement