Homestead Plans To Sell City Hall Site Build Bigger Facilities
By Sherri C. Ranta
The City of Homestead is expected to issue an invitation this spring to negotiate for its 18-acre City Hall site at US 1 and Campbell Drive.
Officials are looking to move and expand facilities at another location to serve the rapidly growing city experiencing record levels of home starts and growing commercial interest, said Curt Ivy, city manager. Homestead is expected to issue permits for 12,000 new residential units through 2010.
An invitation to negotiate, he said, is a unique way to sell the land and buildings and will allow the city flexibility to negotiate simultaneously with several prospective buyers and exercise some control over what will be developed. The package could be released in late April or early May.
City officials continue to look for a new site to build new facilities – perhaps 60,000 square feet at $20 million, according to early estimates – to replace the older city hall and separate finance building. A county library also sits on the current site but will not be included in the sale. Across the street is the Homestead YMCA and Harris Field, a city-owned recreation area.
Keyes Co. Realtor Sue Newman said US 1 and Campbell Drive is an active commercial area not far from Florida’s Turnpike. Baptist Health South Florida is building the new Homestead Hospital to the east. New residential construction is under way there. A cinema complex is under construction to the west.
In the immediate vicinity, said Ms. Newman, chairman of the Homestead-Florida City Chamber of Commerce, is a Publix shopping center, Sedanos grocery story, Walgreen’s, Hollywood Video and other retail outlets. A new four-story office/retail building will open south of City Hall.
"This is not something that is happening today," she said. "The city still has to secure land they need."
Debbie Bishop, owner of Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty, said the existing Homestead City Hall site "is underutilized as a city hall." Putting it on the tax rolls, she said, would benefit the community. It’s a perfect location for a wonderful strip mall, shopping center or restaurants."
BJ’s Wholesale Club is the latest retailer to announce plans to build in Homestead. The retailer will be close to Wal Mart in Florida City. BJ’s officials say they plan to open a 117,600-square-foot facility this summer on a 10-acre site at Sixth Avenue and Southeast Eighth Street.
In addition to plans to expand and relocate City Hall, Homestead is implementing a $20 million upgrade to its city-owned electrical system during the next 10 years to meet demands of the growing population.
The work will increase capacity, replace older equipment and make the system more reliable, officials said. The bulk of the work is expected to be completed in the next five years.