The sale of a city-owned parcel in downtown Pensacola to an area tech firm could be moving forward, with city council members set to consider the issue at their meeting Thursday night.
Pensacola-based Hixardt Technologies has offered to purchase the 0.65-acre parcel at 120 West Government Street — which currently serves as a parking lot — for $740,000. Hixardt plans to use the land, which is adjacent to its current offices, to construct a new $8.8 million, 40,000 square foot headquarters building. In addition to housing Hixardt’s operations and data center, the five-story building would also feature a government contract incubator with an emphasis on minority-owned businesses, operated in partnership with the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.
Discussions between Hixardt and the city concerning the West Government Street parcel have been going on for more than six years. City council members — acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, which technically owns the parcel — first voted to move forward with Hixardt’s proposed development, then called “Project Press,” back in October 2009. In 2011, the CRA approved an incentive agreement which included the transfer of the 0.66-acre parcel to Hixardt based on the project’s investment and creation of an estimated 100 jobs. However, the project stalled, and after the CRA extended deadlines three times in 2012 and 2013, many considered the project dead.
However, Hixardt CEO Mike Hicks says the financing and state incentives necessary to move forward with the project are in place, and he’s now proposing a direct purchase of the land instead of the previous concept. Hixardt says the expansion plans still call for the creation of 100 new jobs over five years. Construction on the building is set to start within six months, and should be completed within two years.
Hicks, a retired U.S. Navy aviator, established Hixardt in 2001. The company focuses on information technology and telecommunications consulting and over the past 15 years has won a number of contracts with federal agencies, including the General Services Administration, the U.S. Navy, and Air Force.