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Front Page » Top Stories » Homestead Close To Selling Balance Of Commerce Park Land

Homestead Close To Selling Balance Of Commerce Park Land

www.miamitodaynews.com
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Written by on May 17, 2007

By Eric Kalis
A deal appears imminent for the City of Homestead to sell its remaining acreage in the Homestead Park of Commerce to a Coral Gables consortium as attorneys iron out contract terms, city officials say.

City attorneys are negotiating the finer points of an agreement with A&H Commerce Park, a consortium headquartered in Coral Gables, to sell the city’s 100 acres in the 270-acre park, City Manager Curt Ivy said Monday. The City Council voted last month to award the acreage to the group after a public bidding process. A&H Commerce Park beat two consortiums — Alliance Homestead of Coconut Grove and Homestead Park of Commerce of Miami — with a bid of $175,000 per acre.

The city will have 90 days to close the deal once A&H Commerce Park principals sign a contract, which is being drafted, Mr. Ivy said.

"We are in the process of putting a contract together," Mr. Ivy said. "The attorneys are going back and forth doing their due diligence. They are still working on some clarifications."

If an agreement is reached, A&H probably will configure the land for light-industrial, warehouse and office uses, Mr. Ivy said. A&H attorney William H. Albornoz could not be reached.

Filings with the Florida Secretary of State’s Office for the limited partnership list Luis F. Merro as managing member. Like Mr. Albornoz, he lists 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 603, as a business address.

After several failed attempts to reach agreement for the park space, selling the remaining land would be an important milestone for a city that struggled to recover from Hurricane Andrew 15 years ago, city officials say.

The city’s commercial and industrial markets are beginning to reemerge after a residential building boom during the past three years, Vice Mayor Steven Losner said earlier this year. "It has taken 15 years to get people to feel that the park is viable, mostly because of fallout from Andrew," he said. "We were not on the map in a positive light."

City officials bought 118 acres in the park in 1993 to attract companies with international trade aspirations, but only Contender Boats and Silver Eagle Distributors have established operations there. The park sits in a 1,000-acre federal foreign-trade zone on the east side of the city and has broadband capabilities.

City officials in late December sold 18 acres of park space in two separate deals after an agreement to sell the balance of the park to developer M&H Homestead. The city sold 14 acres to local consortium Homestead Commerce Group for $1.8 million and four acres to Dutch optic-solutions company Lapis Lazuli for $540,000.

M&H Homestead is trying to develop 75 acres the company acquired in a pair of 2003 purchases, Mr. Ivy said. The company plans to build a mixed-use town center with restaurants, retail outlets and residential units — which requires a state-approved land-use change from industrial to residential mixed-use because the park lies in a development of regional impact zone.

Company principal Michael Latterner recently sent a notice of the proposed change to Tallahassee, Mr. Ivy said.