More Developers Heading To Homestead

Monday, April 14 2008 @ 01:17 AM Central Daylight Time Bob Epling drives down one of Homestead’s main roads and points to row upon row of brand-new condos and town houses with peach walls, red-tile roofs, and juvenile trees held up by wooden stakes

A few minutes later, he points out the Richards Tractor and Implements on Campbell Drive. A line of farm machinery is parked out front, but just down the street is a new multiplex and shopping center with a Chili’s restaurant, Atlanta Bread Co., and a sushi shop.

”Our little town is changing,” says Epling, president of the Homestead-based Community Bank of Florida for the past three decades and a resident of the town for most of his life. “The face is changing. It’s a community in transition.”

If you haven’t been to Homestead in a few years, you might not recognize it. Nearly 10,000 new families have moved into the area since 2000, a growth rate of 32 percent, or almost triple the county average. Now retail shops are moving in, and city leaders are looking to attract offices and industrial businesses.

In 2001, as developable land vanished from West Miami-Dade and Southwest Broward, and housing prices climbed to dizzying new heights in the region’s older core cities, builders looked to Homestead for its cheap land and convenient site at the end of Florida’s Turnpike extension.

Among U.S. cities with 50,000 or more people, Homestead is growing faster than any other, according to the Census. Despite this, many of the new homes are vacant because of the real-estate market bust. For Homestead, however, all this is old news.

The more recent development is the flood of retail shops and shopping centers pouring into the Homestead area. Some highlights so far include two Home Depots, a Lowe’s and a BJ’s. A new 400,000-square-foot big-box center is under construction, with a Kohl’s department store, Circuit City, Sports Authority and other category-killers expected.

Vanessa Arellano Doctor


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