Council Finalizes Build Details for Homestead Station - South Dade News Leader: Community News | South Dade News Leader | Miami Dade County

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Council Finalizes Build Details for Homestead Station

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Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018 12:24 pm

   A five member City Council met in special session Wednesday to conclude construction and financing details on the Homestead Station

project.

   Council approved a first amendment with Axiom Construction in December  that added parking spaces, cut the City’s contribution, and gave the City Manager administrative authority to make changes to the

agreements.

   This second amendment approved a deed restriction so the site forever remains a family entertainment center. The amendment deeds the

private facility portion to the developer once a lease is signed with Showbiz Cinemas. It conditions the building permit on a detailed construction schedule. The developer also acknowledges a separate parking contract between the City and Showbiz Cinemas.

   In a separate item, Council did agree on the parking spaces for Showbiz Cinemas for a five year term that settled the developer’s leased parking, too.

   Council agreed to additional engineering services with DLR Group as the architect for the cyber-library project costing $331,405.

   The Homestead Station project merges several City lots so Council approved vacating utility easements underlying the site, clearing the way for construction.  

   The New Market Tax Credit program continues to provide “free” funding for Homestead’s development. Council committed to Urban Research Park CDE’s proposal with Capital One to take an $8 million dollar position in the project. That investment garners the City a subsidy of $1.4 million.

City Manager George Gretsas was pleased and said the City commitments are close to $6 million from this funding source that is not taxpayer monies.

   “It took national companies to believe in what we’re doing downtown,” he said. Mayor Jeff Porter confirmed the Cybrary should net $4.2 million from New Market Tax Credits while Homestead Station already has about $1.1 million.

   The Special Call meeting closed with acceptance of a new Code section on nonconforming uses in situations of government eminent domain takings.

   In response to questions from Councilman Larry Roth, the City Attorney’s office explained property owners were protected in taking situations from being suddenly deemed nonconforming which could require significant alterations to their property.

   The attorney said this applied to the Campbell Drive improvements the state plans which required some property acquisition. For instance, businesses would not be held to setback rules elsewhere in the Code if they lose part of their road frontage.

   For the Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council deferred a planned discussion on medical marijuana facilities and dispensaries in the City. A one-year moratorium was imposed last February by Council to await expected state regulations.

   Council’s final item at COW was a transfer agreement with FDOT for Krome Avenue from Campbell Drive to Lucy Street. The roadway had been part of the state’s emergency evacuation network. Campbell Drive improvements will provide a bypass for that route. With the City in control, efforts will be made to limit truck traffic on Krome Avenue through the downtown.

   Council also agreed to convey three right-of-way areas to FDOT along Campbell Drive necessary for a wider four lane roadway. These pieces extend as far as Harris Field and along the old City Hall property.

   “When I was first on Council in 1997, this was under discussion,” said Mayor Porter. “I’m glad to see this in our lifetime; we weren’t sure it would ever happen.”

   Councilman Steven Shelley asked the FDOT spokesman about the iconic royal palm trees remaining on Campbell Drive.

   “Part of our discussion three years ago was moving trees,” he said. “The trees cause electrical problems in places but could be moved while you have equipment here to where they are needed in parks or in FDOT projects, saving us money – a win/win situation for everyone.”

   FDOT’s spokesman acknowledged that agreement as Council approved the land transfers.   A routine surplus property sale was deferred when Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough asked if any computers on the list were still useful. Her past efforts have been to transfer old City computers to benefit local schools.  Councilwoman Fairclough also supported a waiver of fee request from a local woman’s charity mentoring girls eight to eighteen. The request to use the Dickinson Community Center one Saturday a month for the year was approved.

   The Seminole Theatre wants a marquee sign visible from both directions on Krome Avenue but FDOT requires that it be a party to the maintenance agreement because the sign would encroach on the road right-of-way. Council approved the state agreement in order to get a proper theater marquee.

   Council also approved a $166,000 two year contract for the City’s HUD advisor, Calvin Knowles, after the City Manager spoke in favor of the renewal. Two new traffic message boards are to be purchased for $29,100. Councilman Shelley asked staff for information on mounting larger signs across Krome Avenue to share public information.

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