Further reducing the scope of a land-purchase agreement originally proposed by Gov. Charlie Crist (I), the South Florida Water Management District agreed on Aug. 12 to purchase approximately 26,800 acres in the Everglades from the U.S. Sugar Corp. for $197 million.
The district will acquire the land in the Everglades Agricultural Area and C-139 basin for water-quality and environmental restoration projects. The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) plans to close on the property in Hendry and Palm Beach counties in October. The deal includes options for up to 10 years to purchase 153,000 more acres from U.S. Sugar at a price of $7,400 per acre. After that exclusive option period, the district will hold a two-year, non-exclusive, right-of-first-refusal, fair-market-value option on 46,800 specifically identified acres as well as a subsequent seven-year, non-exclusive, right-of-first- refusal, fair-market-value option on the balance of the acreage.