City negotiates long-term lease for circus property
City of Venice staff has successfully negotiated a long-term, non-aeronautical lease for the 12.36-acre parcel of Venice Municipal Airport property located at 1401 Ringling Drive, commonly referred to as the “circus property.” The proposed lessee of the property is a group led by Michigan developer Kent Jacoby. Mr. Jacoby has ties to the Venice area and has expressed a serious interest in the property, the former Venice Circus Arena site, for a number of years. The City received written notification of Federal Aviation Administration approval of the lease on Friday, Aug. 2.
The basic terms of the lease give control of the property to the Jacoby group for 75 years in return for a rental rate of 8% of the fair market value of the land as determined by an appraisal. An appraisal of the parcel was prepared by Bass & Associates in July, placing the value of the property at $3,900,000 and making the ultimate annual rent to be paid to the airport $312,000. According to the terms of the lease, following the development of construction plans and acquisition of permits, lease payments will initiate to the City and graduate in increments at 2, 3 and 5 years, with full payment at the 5-year mark. The rent will be adjusted every five years commensurate with the prevailing Consumer Price Index and be adjusted based on a reappraisal of the land at years 30 and 60. For approximately 20 years, the 12 acres has been largely unproductive for the Airport.
The developer’s conceptual site plan includes three principal uses to enhance the southern gateway to the City. They propose to construct a +/-130-room hotel, offices catering to medical specialists and possibly a 24-hour urgent care facility as well as a restaurant on the property. The restaurant will have outdoor seating and be bike-friendly for those traveling along the adjacent Venetian Waterway Trail. The proposed investment in the property will be for more than $27,000,000 and will be referred to as Ringling Brothers Memorial Park in recognition of the property’s history.
Pending City Council approval on the lease, staff is looking forward to working with the developer on this exciting project and creating a predictable long-term revenue stream for the Airport fund. The City gratefully acknowledges the support of Bart Vernace and his staff at the FAA for their consideration and approval of the terms of this lease. Approval of the 75-year lease term is indicative of the FAA’s confidence in the management and operation of the Venice Municipal Airport.