Commercial projects seen aiding Homestead recovery path
series of commercial real estate developments are catalysts to get
South Dade back on its feet eight years after Hurricane Andrew ransacked
the area, developers, financiers and real estate professionals say.
think we're in the mode where you're going to see accelerated growth,"
says Dick Bauer, outgoing president of the Vision Council, South Dade's
economic development arm"
all the developments going on," he said, "I'm very bullish
on commercial and residential expansion in the region down here."
Bauer said projects such as a Wal-Mart opening last November
and a Home Depot that broke ground a month ago are stimulants
for activity and labor, producing at least 840 jobs.
theme park, to be open May 2001 on 210 acres in Florida City, he said,
will also bring about 620 jobs. It would become a second major leg
of tourist activity, complementing the Miami Homestead Motorsports
Complex a third considering Biscayne and Everglades national
parks said Mr. Bauer, who becomes vice president and regional
development officer for TIB Bank of the Keys on Aug. 1.
are beginning to experience a boom," says Alicia Schreiber, assistant
city manager for Homestead. "We are focusing on building and
preserving our culture as we do it, not just building for the sake
Schreiber said developments are a mix between cultural and technological
ventures. On the cultural side, a slew of businesses, including hotels,
movie theaters, restaurants and shops, will revitalize downtown Homestead.
Hall, at US 1 and Campbell Drive, will be redeveloped and relocated,
are also being made to restore the Seminole Theatre in the historic
district, she said, and the city has raised half of $3.2 million needed
to revitalize the art deco theater.
Schreiber said cultural projects complement the new arts undertaking
on Krome Avenue a 3-acre campus to include an arts center,
church and motel. That project was spearheaded by attorney I. Stanley
Levine, who helped revitalize Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
Ms. Schreiber says, will also profit from a technological base with
an incubator funded by a $1 million National Aeronautics & Space Administration
Ridge and Perrine have yet to ride "the South Dade wave of prosperity,"
said Carla Bernabei Talarico, executive director of the Perrine-Cutler
seem to be picking up, except for the US 1 corridor," she said.
"One of the problems we have in the area is a significant amount
of vacant properties."
Talarico said basics such as water and sewer need to be put in place
to spur commercial growth on US 1 from Southwest 164th Street south
to 184th Street. "We are currently working with Miami-Dade County
to plan for an infrastructure increase in the area."
Talarico said some properties have been sold in an industrial park
off Marlin Road that have long been empty. She said the park will
accommodate a new warehousing project with bays from 1,000 to 3,000
square feet for small businesses.
Lett, president & CEO of TIB Bank in the Keys, says the South Dade
economy has been stagnant for four or five years and has not rebounded
noticeably since Hurricane Andrew.
Lett said the area is coming out of its slumber with current projects
and is starting to pick up momentum.
in the area, in terms of land and the labor force, are attractive
to commercial industries on the verge of doing something significant
in the area," he said. "Things in our favor include the
commute from Miami toward the south, which goes against the traffic
flow, and the new Keysgate residential community."
Lett said TIB is making significant investments in the area to contribute
to growth and TIB executives are excited about the entry of the New
York-based Rockefeller Group as a leasing agent for the Homestead
Park of Commerce.
is a matter of time and educating market brokers, promoters say, before
the 270-acre industrial park begins to fill. The village, situated
in a foreign trade zone, can still support 2.7 million square feet
of build-out, sources say, and will target light manufacturing.
Bauer says the federal government's decision on the future of Homestead
Air Force Base expected this year remains a key to what happens next.
The base could become a hub for space launch operations.
decree," he said, "could stimulate relatively near-term,
substantial activity in the South Dade commercial market."