WMFR extends negotiations to sell administration building

West Manatee Fire Rescue commissioners will be ensconced in their district administration building for at least a few more months.

WMFR has a contract to sell its administrative building, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, to Oasis Middle School for $1,675,000, but the process for Oasis to attain a special-use permit from Manatee County puts the closing date out of reach.

The protracted process includes:

A county hearing on allowing Oasis to develop a charter school once it purchases the property will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the WMFR administration building.

A final decision is expected from a special magistrate at a hearing Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the county building, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

The due diligence period for Oasis is set to expire Dec. 4, after which it has 30 days to close the deal.

Oasis attorney Paul Blucher contacted WMFR Chief Tom Sousa to request an extension, since learning delays will prevent open the school for the 2019 spring semester.

The attorney also asked for contingencies allowing Oasis to withdraw the purchase without loss if the county denies the special-use permit.

At the district fire commission meeting Nov. 13, Sousa recommended commissioners extend the closing deadline to June 1, 2019, but raise the security deposit from $30,000 to $100,000 — giving Oasis 30 days to pay the deposit or the contract would be dissolved.

Sousa said the offer was presented to Oasis, but he had not received a response.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the extension, but amended it to state it would be the final extension. In July, the commission voted to extend the financing deadline for Oasis.

Commission Chair Larry Jennis said the increased deposit would demonstrate commitment and, put the blame on the county permitting process.

The latest extension puts Oasis on course to open the school in August 2019.

Commissioners have not decided where WMFR’s next administrative office will be located, but will consider renting, purchasing or constructing a suitable facility.