Stadium Corners seen giving lift to Pro Player areaBy Candice Ventra
Recently rezoned land near Pro Player Stadium will be used for a commercial project that could help revitalize a community underserved by businesses, the developer said.
Jeremy Larkin, president of Larkin Schmidt Commercial, said he will begin construction in early 2001 on Stadium Corners. The 10-acre site, at the corner of Northwest 199 Street and 27th Avenue across from Pro Player Stadium, will include retail offices, a shopping center and restaurants, he said.
The site plan, Mr. Larkin said, calls for a 40,000-square-foot shopping center, four 1-acre parcels, a .5-acre plot and a 1.5-acre tract, he said.
The land was rezoned as commercial late last week by the county's Community Council number four, Mr. Larkin said.
When fully built, he said the development will cost an estimated $10 million to $15 million and could mean 300 to 500 jobs.
"There has not been new commercial activity in the area in probably 20 to 25 years," Mr. Larkin said. "If you take a look at the demographic profile, the income levels are equivalent to West Kendall. But there is absolutely zero quality retail services in the area."
The largest parcel in the development, he said, is contracted to Amerada Hess Corp. The gasoline company should be filing for building permits within the next week, Mr. Larkin said.
The single-acre parcel is under contract to Willie Robinson an African-American entrepreneur who is expected to open a Denny's restaurant on the site.
Mr. Larkin said he is negotiating leases with several retailers for the shopping center and two national restaurant chains.
He said the area possesses a tremendous amount of buying power.
"Our plan has always been," Mr. Larkin said, "to bring quality retail services to this middle income area so they don't have to go to (US) 441 or Miami Lakes for services that should be next door."
The demographics of the area, he said, shows the average household has an income of $40,000 to 45,000 a year.
The Pro Player Stadium neighborhood is undergoing a major overhaul, observers say. Adjacent to the proposed Stadium Corners, Coral Gables-based Cornerstone Group has built the first phase of a 640-unit gated apartment complex.
"I think people don't realize the potential for the area," said Jorge Lopez, executive vice president of Coral Gables-based Cornerstone. "It has much higher income levels there than what is perceived."
A Miami-Dade County police station is also under construction across from the Stadium Corners project, Mr. Larkin said.
Terry Cuson, president & CEO of the North Dade Regional Chamber of Commerce a group representing businesses in the vicinity said he supports more commercial development in the area because it attracts new enterprise, which in turn adds jobs.
"Commercial development is the way to go," Mr. Cuson said. "It's what we should be doing with this kind of property. "Commercial development is critical for jobs. And that's what we need there."
Given the project's proximity to the Florida Turnpike, he said, there should be no infrastructure deficiencies to overcome.
Details: Larkin Schmidt, (305) 670-2900; Cornerstone, (305) 621-8821; North Dade Regional Chamber, (305) 690-9123.
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