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Fort Walton Beach Legal Blog

When a commercial partnership crumbles

An ideal business partnership brings unique strengths to the table and allows your company to take advantage.

The partnership should enhance and benefit your company. If you’re in a partnership that is beginning to feel like more work than reward, it’s time to re-evaluate. Here’s what to do if you feel your partnership is becoming a liability:

What is a quiet title?

Businesses operating in Florida, especially ones purchasing and selling real estate, need to be aware of what a quiet title is as well as how to obtain one. This is necessary to safeguard their interests and protect their assets.

In a nutshell, a quiet title is a legal tool that allows a single claimant to assert that they own a certain piece of property, quieting all other competing claims for said property. Accordingly, the court will recognize the holder of the quiet title as the sole owner of the property, which holds up even in the event of missing heirs showing up later.

The types of permits a company may need

There are many different types of permits that real estate development and other companies may need. For instance, a Florida construction or contracting firm will likely need a business license to operate within the state. This permit can be obtained either from a city or county government office depending on where the business is headquartered. Furthermore, business owners and their employees themselves may need to be licensed to perform tasks for customers or clients.

In the event that sales tax should be collected on a given project, it will be necessary to obtain and remit the balance owed to the state. However, a company or contractor must first apply for a license and identification number that provides the authority to do so. Companies will need to apply for an employer identification number for federal tax purposes. In some cases, it will be necessary to apply for a similar type of number from the state.

City and business owners disagree over parking availability

Floridians who live in Fort Walton Beach might be aware of the parking problems when people are shopping downtown. Recently, a group of downtown business owners met to discuss the parking problems and the city's denial of lease terms for 30 spaces that were purchased by a developer.

According to news reports, the business owners discussed how the lack of parking is driving their customers elsewhere, and some of the business owners also said that the parking problems are causing them to move to other areas in the city. One of the issues that were discussed was the city's denial of the lease terms for the parking lot that was purchased by the developer. He reportedly asked the city to pay $1,650 in monthly rent to continue leasing the lot.

Road construction on South Walton street

Construction in the Fort Walton Beach vicinity of Florida is continuing as a South Walton road is changing to a one-way street with the addition of more parking spaces. Hotz Avenue, a road in Grayton Beach, will undergo 75 days of construction that began on December 17, 2018. The project will not only change the direction of traffic, but it will also add water purification systems and additional drainage, remove asphalt and repave the street's surface. There are several reasons why Walton County is pursuing the road renovation. Traffic is growing in the area, especially during high season, and stormwater issues have recurred nearby.

The water purification aspect of the project is also meant to help improve the quality of water in Western Lake. A spokesperson for the county said that while the lake's water quality was acceptable, it could be enhanced with additional treatment options. The lake's water levels often change depending on the climate of the coast, and water runoffs are common. The spokesperson also noted that improving stormwater drainage would provide environmental benefits.

U-Haul plans to move in on Kmart location

Another major commercial real estate transaction is underway in the Fort Walton Beach area, after U-Haul announced plans to buy the Cinco Bayou Kmart property in the area. The storage, rental and trucking company will include the store in 13 properties that it plans to buy from Sears Holding Co., the owner of Kmart stores nationwide. Sears is liquidating the stores after filing for bankruptcy in November 2018. U-Haul said that it plans to modify the building into a self-storage and moving facility.

The space, located on Irwin Avenue in Cinco Bayou, will offer similar options to other U-Haul commercial properties. These include indoor climate-controlled self-storage, retail moving supply sales and rentals of U-Haul's famous tucks and trailers. The location will also be home to a U-Box storage warehouse, U-Box portable containers, a propane center and a Re-Use Center for recycling furniture, used goods and moving supplies. The corporation will find out by the end of the year if its purchase proposal will be approved.

Companies plan to build senior living facility

The Fort Walton Beach area of Florida continues to see substantial construction activity as two more developers in the state have announced new plans to build a senior living facility in the region. The St. Joe Co. issued a press release together with the Watercrest Senior Living Group, saying that they plan to open a complex with 107 units near U.S. Highway 98 on St. Joe Island. When completed, the complex will have 75 assisted living units and 32 memory care units. St. Joe will retain majority ownership in the development while Watercrest will be responsible for managing operations.

The project is expected to begin construction in 2019 with building and design completed and ready to accept residents by the end of 2020. A Watercrest executive described the proposed project as a luxury community that would offer world-class healthcare and services.

New building looks to help develop Florida firefighters

The South Walton Fire District is getting a new training facility that will be located behind the current fire station. The main purposes of the new building are to store equipment used by the fleet and to train firefighters. According to a support representative from the fire department, each room in the structure will feature a different setting. This will allow trainees to get experience in a diverse array of conditions.

It will also be possible to filter smoke into the room as well as create other obstacles that firefighters could encounter while handling a real blaze. It is likely that members of the squad will be training on a daily basis in the facility. Currently, the nearest training facility is at Gulf Coast State College and Northwest Florida State College. As it is 30 miles away, emergency personnel are limited in their training time according to a member of the department.

Managing cash flow as a contractor

Contractors in Florida may find that they have problems managing cash flow as the construction sector has recently seen significant growth. Typically, a subcontractor will bill the general contractor once a month. Once the general contractor receives bills from the subcontractors, a single invoice is sent to the owner of the property. From there, it could take up to 60 days for the owner to make a payment.

This lack of timely payment may result in squabbling between the different parties involved with a project. Cash flow issues can be especially prevalent in situations when companies take on additional projects since they usually must fund operations on their own up front. Contractors generally have to finance operations because of the way the construction industry changed during the financial crisis. Prior to that time, contractors would generally get money to pay for materials before the job started.

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