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Why is a $6 million building in St. Lucie County sitting empty?

Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 09:38:59-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla.-- A brand new $6 million building, designed to make it easier for St. Lucie County residents to get a driver's license, or pay their taxes, is still closed to the public months after it was supposed to open.

St. Lucie County Tax Collector Chris Craft says plans to build the new facility in Tradition started six years ago. His goal is to bring services as close as possible to residents, especially now in the fast growing areas of western Port St. Lucie.

“We’re the welcoming committee. Anyone from out of state moving here has to change their driver's license, their registration,” said Craft.

The Tradition office would be the third in the county and save people about a 30-minute drive. Right now, the other two offices are in Fort Pierce, and on Walton Road in Port St. Lucie.

But even after getting their certificate of occupancy in December, the Tradition office still isn’t open. Craft says it’s due to telecommunication issues.

Tuesday, an AT&T van was seen parked outside the building on Village Parkway, and work was being done inside.

An AT&T spokeswoman wrote: “We have completed the installation of our services as part of this project. To be fully operational, it is our understanding that this customer requires additional work that we are not directly involved in.”

Craft says there are five other contractors set up through the state that need to finish their work.

“To make our direct connect to the state system so we can actually get those pictures on your driver's license that we take,” said Craft.

Craft says they are now hoping to open by the end of March.

The Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles made the following comment:

The department has been working with the St. Lucie County Tax Collector and the MyFlorida Network team and is committed to prioritizing this project. This is a collaborative process and the department will continue to work with our partners to create a secure connection so this office can open to the public as quickly as possible.