Price of huge Florida land deal jumps

June 26, 2008 at 1:54 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 26 (UPI) -- The price of a huge Florida land deal announced Wednesday jumped by roughly $500 million in 24 hours, state officials said.

The South Florida Water Management District said the total costs of buying 187,000 acres of south Florida land from U.S. Sugar Corp. was $2.2 billion, rather than the previously announced $1.75 billion, the Palm Beach Post reported Thursday.

Officials said the price would be partly offset by $500 million U.S. Sugar would pay to lease the lands for six years as they phase out their farming in the area.

The Post also said small towns around Lake Okeechobee could be devastated by the loss of one of the area's largest industries.

The deal would also subtract millions from various taxes. Palm Beach County stands to lose $5 million a year from their tax base, the Post reported.

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