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Front Page » Top Stories » Developer Sells 14 Acres In Homestead Park Of Commerce

Developer Sells 14 Acres In Homestead Park Of Commerce

www.miamitodaynews.com
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Written by on June 14, 2007

By Eric Kalis
A Miami developer this week is to close the sale of 14 acres in Homestead Park of Commerce to a real estate investor unsure of the best use of the space.

Meanwhile, officials of a Dutch company that bought four acres in the park in December agreed last week to sell the space after deciding to focus on the company’s European expansion.

Steve Smith, chairman and CEO of ComReal Companies, a commercial real estate firm with offices in Miami, said he will meet this week with M&H Homestead Principal Michael Latterner to close on 14 acres in the 270-acre park under the company name CR Partners X LLC. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Plans for the park space fronting Southwest 142nd Avenue may call for a mixed-use industrial complex, but Mr. Smith said he is open-minded about potential uses. The city marketed the park for industrial use for more than a decade with little success.

The park space "is in a great location," Mr. Smith said. "We have to be flexible and see how the [real estate] market will emerge. It is a high-risk point now. We will learn as we go."

Closing the sale marks the culmination of three years of dialogue between Mr. Smith and Mr. Latterner, who is left with about 61 acres of park space from two purchases the company made several years ago. Mr. Latterner has said the company plans to build a mixed-use town center on the remaining land with residential, commercial and retail components.

Because the park lies in a development of regional impact zone, the company must obtain state approval to change the land use from industrial to residential mixed-use. The company plans to formally apply for a zoning change by the end of the year, Mr. Latterner said.

While Mr. Smith is moving into the park, Dutch optic-solutions company Lapis Lazuli hopes to unload the four acres it bought from city officials in December for $540,000. Company manager Sylvan Chevalier said Tuesday that company owners agreed to a contract last week to sell the space to an undisclosed buyer. Mr. Chevalier declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.

Company owners had not planned to sell the park space, Mr. Chevalier said, but several issues emerged in recent months. The owners asked company officials assigned to the park space to return to the company’s European headquarters to help address an influx of business and an operational expansion, leaving no personnel available to oversee the Homestead acreage, he said. Concerns about geographic location, construction costs and the ability to recruit workers also led the owners to sell the park space, Mr. Chevalier said.

The company will move its regional operation temporarily to Naples, he said.

"It is unfortunate because we spent an awful lot of money doing our preliminary site plan and due diligence," Mr. Chevalier said. "All of these factors made [the owners] decide to shift the business strategy to other areas. We are confident we will sell the property. This is a very desirable piece of property on the corner of the entrance to the park."

Homestead City Manager Curt Ivy said Monday that city attorneys hope to iron out the finer points of a contract to sell the remaining 100 acres of park space owned by the city to Coral Gables consortium A&H Commerce Park within two weeks. The city awarded the space to the consortium in April for $175,000 per acre after a public bidding process.