Miami City Council members, in concert with the Miami Development Authority, set the wheels in motion to expand a local business, create 15 to 20 new jobs and entice new industry to Miami.

On the recommendation of the city's development authority, council members approved the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land and three buildings located on the north side of Newman Road.

The $375,000 purchase will be divided into two equal lots. Five acres and a 34,000 square-foot industrial facility will be sold to Boat Floaters Industries, a Miami-based business that manufactures boat lifts.

The remaining property will become the city's first industrial incubator. The $125,000 real estate investment will provide the city with approximately 15,000 square feet of manufacturing space to nurture new industry.

Boat Floaters Industries, owned by Phil Woodall and Ian McClure, will pay $250,000 for its portion of the property, according to Larry Eller, the city's community development/grant coordinator.

The MDA will assist Woodall and McClure by providing a $200,000 low-interest loan.

Also at the recommendation of the MDA, city officials agreed to proceed with a $99,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant that, if approved, will join the incentive package offered to Boat Floaters Industries. The money will be re-paid over 10 years at an interest rate of 4 percent, according to Eller.

“We are excited about this opportunity to help a local business expand and grow,” Eller said. “Growth in economic development comes first from within. It is important that we nurture that and help existing industry to strengthen and grow.”

There is still, however, a hurdle to jump before the real estate deal is firm, according to city officials.

Eller said the real estate transaction hinges on the completion of a two-phase environmental assessment of the property which formerly housed a trucking company and a rail-car door manufacturer.

Currently, there is a June 30 deadline on the land option, according to Eller. In the meantime, the city will continue with the grant application and seek alternative funding sources in the event that the rural development grant application is not approved.

Miami Economic Development Director Brian Barger said Monday that the effort to build a Miami business is “thrilling” for the city's economic development department because it is “a chance to show that we are not just about commercial and retail. Industry is also an important part of economic development … It is part of the puzzle.”

Barger said he began looking for a facility to accommodate Boat Floaters Industries in May of last year after being contacted by Woodall.

The industry is outgrowing its 12,000 square-foot facility, according to Barger, and is essentially hindered by a building that could not meet its manufacturing needs.

“He was being enticed to leave Miami,” Barger said. “But, he loves his work force and he did not want to lose his crew. He has a dedicated team of employees.”

Boat Floaters Industries currently employs eight, according to Barger, but that number is expected to be increased by as much as 20.

Barger said the move will mean an increase in production based purely on the ability to work more efficiently. Additionally, the owners will now have the space to bring outsourced work back into the fold.

Placing the industry at a site near the existing Tracker Marine boat-building facility is also a strategic move which could be the genesis of a cluster of marine-based business, Barger said.

“It creates synergy and could draw the interest of similar business to Miami,” Barger said.