Rising out of the dust of Homestead’s past are many new initiatives contributing to Homestead’s future.
The major new local project is Homestead Station - the entertainment complex and parking garage construction at Mowry Drive and Krome Avenue. Mayor Jeff Porter explained that the Cybrary is not part of the Phase One initial construction.
The Mayor said the Homestead Station construction is on track with no delays expected.
“The bus route for that multi-modal center was negotiated with the County,” said Mayor Porter. “The stop was moved from next to City Hall to the new center. Three other municipalities had similar issues where the current stops are in the wrong places.”
A new dance studio is emerging on Losner Park in a decades-long empty building. Lilliano Reynolds renovated the space as a dance studio for her 300 students from the Paramount Dance group.
“We hope to have our grand opening soon,” she said. The plan is to add a retail shop to the front of the building later.
“It’s fantastic to see something new in the old historic district,” said Mayor Porter. “And it’s also nice to see a new building in a dead area of US1.”
O’Reilly’s Auto Parts is putting up a large building at SW 7th Street and US1. The company founded in 1957 has 5019 stores in 47 states according to their website. Once construction is finished, the company will be hiring for
proposed job shifts.
City staff said that business opening is tied to the completed renovation of Pump Station One at the waste water treatment plant.
Staff also said applications for certificates of occupancy must be filed for both the dance studio and auto parts store when the businesses are ready to open.
Long a staple at its old site on Campbell Drive, a new Popeye’s franchise store is nearly finished in the 600 block of NE Krome Avenue.
Mayor Porter asked Popeye’s to fix some curbing that jutted into Krome Avenue. This was possible because the City recently took over this part of Krome Avenue from the state.
“It’s a done deal,” the Mayor said. “We have control now.”
The road exchange was part of a swap where County control of Campbell Drive from Krome Avenue to US1 was given to the state as part of a planned truck route road-widening. That project requires some land from property owners along Campbell, which could be why the Popeye’s franchise is moving.
Homestead’s significant residential development along Kingman Avenue has also been mentioned as part of the community’s considerable growth. Another entrance to the northbound turnpike lanes opened to accommodate new traffic patterns.
The possible demolition of the old baseball stadium complex along Kingman Drive is to be brought up at the City Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The Manager was authorized to explore the cost (for stadium demolition),” said Mayor Porter. “This was just an analysis. There’s been no decision to knock it down.”
Florida City is experiencing a new building boom too. Mayor Otis Wallace said a new Fairfield Inn by Marriott should have a permit next month. “It will be the largest around at six stories,” he said.
Florida City’s $6 million partnership with the County for a six lane intersection at Palm Drive and US1 is proceeding. “The project is fully funded,” said Mayor Wallace. “The County must grant the final permit; we’re at the mercy of the County process.”
In addition to the Fairfield Inn, a new Hilton hotel product is under construction adjacent to the completed hotel at turnpike Exit One. “There’s also a Sleep Inn planned for South Krome Avenue off Palm Drive near the Patches building,” added Mayor Wallace.
“And everyone asks me about the Waffle House!” he said. That company broke ground for the new restaurant north of Texas Roundhouse on US1 and is on schedule. Home-stead Cty Council approvals for zoning variances now allow a Racetrac gas station and new retail space along Campbell Drive across from the hospital. Added to completion of a new auto dealership beside the turnpike behind BJ’s Wholesale, the Home-stead area is experiencing a welcome revitalization.