TAMPA, FLA. — Ardent Mills, L.L.C. announced on Oct. 26 that it will sell its flour mill in downtown Tampa and build a new mill at a yet-to-be-determined location in the area.
The United States' largest flour miller said the transaction enables Ardent Mills to continue serving its customers in the Tampa region from its current location, while building a new mill to serve its customers' current needs and their future growth. Ardent Mills expects the new mill to be operational by 2021.
“We are committed to our expert Tampa team, the opportunity to continue to delight our customers and serve our great neighbors in Tampa and Central Florida,” Dan Dye, chief executive officer of Ardent Mills, said. “We have enjoyed this privilege for more than three decades and look forward to supporting the Tampa community, Central Florida and customers across the state for many decades to come with a new state-of-the-art mill capable of growing with our customers.”
Ardent Mills’ Tampa plant is the largest mill in Florida with daily flour production capacity of 14,500 cwts, according to Sosland Publishing’s 2019 Grain and Milling Annual. Ardent Mills’ overall daily capacity is nearly 500,000 cwts, the largest in the United States.
Strategic Property Partners (S.P.P.), which is controlled by Jeff Vinik, who owns the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and Cascade Investment L.L.C., paid more than $13 million for the property, adding it to the more than 50 acres it already controls between downtown Tampa and the Channel district.
As of Nov. 1, 2020, Ardent Mills will terminate leasing rights to the rail spur south of Cumberland Avenue, allowing for construction to begin on the street connection at Cumberland Avenue through Meridian Avenue. The City of Tampa will contribute $2.25 million towards securing the crossing rights.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We have worked tirelessly to transform downtown Tampa into a thriving neighborhood where people can live, work and visit daily, and the City of Tampa appreciates S.P.P., Ardent Mills, THEA (Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority), and all of the other parties that were involved for their roles in reaching a consensus to ensure this needed point of connectivity.”
The crossing, which will be open to the public and is on property owned by T.H.E.A., is part of a larger, three-acre parcel of land that S.P.P. acquired from Ardent Mills to eventually expand Water Street Tampa’s visionary, 50-acre mixed-use master plan.