Homestead May Have Deal To Sell Land In Park Of Commerce
By Eric Kalis
Homestead city officials say a deal could be sealed this week to sell the city’s portion of Homestead Park of Commerce to a developer who wants to build a town center-style mixed use project.
City Manager Curt Ivy said officials are negotiating with developer M&H Homestead Partners to take over 118 acres the city owns in the 270-acre industrial park. If the city can secure a deal this week, the transaction would be up for City Council approval Monday, Mr. Ivy said.
If no deal is reached, he said, the property would be made available to the highest bidder or go to an auction house, a process that could take up to 45 days.
The city has tried to sell its part of the park for three years, but most respondents have been interested only in small parcels, Mr. Ivy said. Other companies want to buy the city’s entire holdings, which is the only option city officials are considering.
M&H Homestead owns 855 acres in Homestead on which it plans a large mixed-use project designated as a development of regional impact. The company wants to create a town center on the Park of Commerce tract with restaurants, homes, retail outlets and offices, Mr. Ivy said. M&H owns an undeveloped 75 acres in the park.
The city’s portion of the park is zoned for light industrial use.
"A number of people have expressed interest in developing," Mr. Ivy said. He said the city is eager for development of the property, which has languished for years. "That is a requirement for us," he said. "We will not sell to someone looking to land-bank it."
Mr. Ivy said the city will gain significant tax revenue from a town center on the property.
City officials bought the property in 1993 to attract companies with international trade aspirations. It sits in a 1,000-acre federal foreign-trade zone on the east side of the city and has broadband capabilities.
The city had a four-year deal with New Jersey firm Rockefeller Group to market the park. The company failed to generate interest in the park, however, and city officials let the pact expire in 2003. Only Silver Eagle Distributors and Contender Boats have established operations in the park since the 1993 purchase.
"Part of the delay in selling the park comes from the post-Hurricane Andrew affects," Mr. Ivy said. "We had an agreement with the Rockefeller Group that did not work out. We still suffer from those factors."