Sawyers Walk Project Facing Uncertain Future After County Vote
Written by Risa Polansky on December 27, 2007
By Risa Polansky
The controversial Sawyer’s Walk development planned for Overtown appears dead only days after the Miami City Commission approved it.
The threat of exercising a reverter clause that would return the land to the county comes from Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and county Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
Five years in the making and knee deep in criticism from activist groups and some public officials for what they call a lack of affordable housing, the project was to include 1,050 mixed-income, for-sale units. The county gave the land to the city to plan for housing within its Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.
Though the property is set to revert to the county Dec. 31 if there’s no development on it, many expected commissioners to extend the date. But Ms. Edmonson, whose district includes Overtown, demanded the county keep the land as a condition to her approval of a massive "global agreement" between the city and county.
The pact provides for projects such as a Marlins stadium but also asks county commissioners to vote at their Jan. 10 meeting to re-convey the land to the city.
"I want these properties to revert to the county," Ms. Edmonson said.
Mayor Alvarez backed her. "I do not support an extension or the re-conveyance," he said.
Should commissioners vote to give the property to the city, he promised a veto.
A no vote from the county may not be the end. "Things could end up in litigation,"
said Matthew Schwartz, Crosswinds’ urban development director.