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Front Page » Top Stories » Homestead Oks Contract To Sell Restof Park Of Commerce To Gables Group

Homestead Oks Contract To Sell Restof Park Of Commerce To Gables Group

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Written by on August 2, 2007

By Eric Kalis
After years of efforts by Homestead officials to unload its acreage in the city’s Park of Commerce, the City Council approved a contract last week to sell the remaining 100 acres in the park to a Coral Gables consortium.

The city sold the land in the 270-acre park to A&H Commerce Park for $175,000 per acre after a public bidding process. A master plan for the park space is due within 30 days, said City Manager Curt Ivy. The land is zoned for light industrial, warehouse and office uses, he said.

A&H Commerce Park principal William Albornoz, one of five partners in the group, declined to elaborate on project plans before closing, which is scheduled for late October. But the group does not plan to stray from the guidelines laid out by city officials in the request for proposals, Mr. Albornoz said.

"We are very excited," he said. "Homestead is a wonderful city, and we intend to do a great project there. Everything we are doing is consistent with all of the city approvals. We are not changing anything."

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

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.

The city 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 fell through. 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. Lapis Lazuli officials are selling the company’s four acres to an undisclosed buyer.

Immediately east of the 100 acres bought by A&H Commerce Park, a consortium led by Steve Smith, chairman and CEO of ComReal Companies, closed on the purchase of 14 acres from developer Michael Latterner. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The group plans to promptly begin building a 117,000-square-foot warehouse for rent with hopes of finishing the warehouse by the end of next year, said ComReal vice president Ed Redlich. With the Homestead Miami Speedway nearby, an auto racing-related business makes the most sense for the site, Mr. Redlich said.

"We have the ability based on the parking there to have 200 jobs," he said. The site "is ideal for anyone in the auto racing industry. We are negotiating with a couple of those businesses."

The group’s site plan must be approved by the City Council, Mr. Redlich said, which should happen within the next two months.