The $1.75 billion purchase by the state of Florida of 187,000 acres in the Everglades belonging to U.S. Sugar has been renegotiated and substantially bettered. The state will no longer take title to the company’s high-tech mill, its citrus processing plant, or its rail lines. The number of acres has also been decreased by 6,000 to 181,000. Net savings? A whopping $400+ million.
On June 24, the state of Florida announced its plan to purchase an enormous tract around Lake Okeechobee in a landmark transaction that was reported here. The subsequent economic upheaval led to a substantial overhaul of the deal, one that saw the total number of acres decline by roughly 3 percent while 25 percent was pared off the total purchase price, lowering it to $1.34 billion.
“The financial and real estate world has changed since the transaction was announced on June 24,” leading to the change in terms, U.S. Sugar said in a statement that was reported by the Associated Press.
Supporters of Everglades restoration hailed the new deal, which Gov. Charlie Crist is scheduled to announce later this morning at the Miami home of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a renowned Florida environmentalist and the author of The Everglades: River of Grass.