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Front Page » Top Stories » City Could Give Ok To County Office Complex In Overtown

City Could Give Ok To County Office Complex In Overtown

Written by on July 17, 2003

By Susan Stabley
A delayed Overtown office complex that would house Miami-Dade County transit offices could be approved by Miami city commissioners at today’s (7/17) planning and zoning meeting.

"It’s important that we get it this week," said Overtown Partnership attorney Judy Burke of Shutts & Bowen. "Otherwise, we will have to wait until the meeting in September."

The commission usually does not have regular meetings in August.

Ms. Burke said Friday that she is optimistic that the developer can begin work soon on the 17-story structure.

The building is planned as a public-private development on land under county control at the Overtown/Arena Metrorail station, but construction cannot start until the city officially closes a nearby road that hasn’t been used since the mid-1980s. The city would also need to approve the project’s design.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Department recommended approval with landscaping suggestions. The planning department also urged a modification of the design to meet proposed standards for Overtown.

Groundbreaking on the 340,722-square-foot building on county-owned land east of Northwest First Court between Sixth and Eighth streets was due this summer.

The project was delayed when city commissioners postponed a vote in May. Commission Chairman Johnny Winton said in June that it was put off to gain leverage in a dispute with the county over other Overtown sites.

Miami-Dade County has sued the city over land along NW Second Avenue between Sixth and Ninth streets deeded by the county in the mid-’80s to what is now the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. The deal was contingent on the city’s developing the parcels within five years.

Nearly two decades later, with no development started, the county told the city it wanted the land returned.

City Attorney Alex Vilarello said Friday that the issue could be resolved by month’s end, pending approval by elected officials on both sides to give the city an extension on the development agreement. He said the city would have four more years to develop the property or return it to the county.

City commissioners could consider the settlement as soon as today (7/17) or could defer the decision until a July 24 meeting. The county commission is scheduled to consider the settlement Tuesday.