Construction begins on Publix-anchored shopping center in Homestead
By Marilyn Bowden
Equity One broke ground this week on a Publix-anchored shopping center targeting Homestead's rapidly growing residential community.
Construction is under way on Waterstone Plaza at Southwest 137th Avenue and 288th Street, said Doron Valero, president of Equity One, a Miami Beach real estate investment trust specializing in retail properties. The center is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of next year, he said, with Publix planning to open April 1.
In addition to Publix, he said, the center will contain 12,000 square feet of shops.
"We're looking at neighborhood services such as a hair salon, pizza delivery, a dentist or a day-care center," Mr. Valero said. Equity One is in negotiations with a drug store, a bank and a restaurant that would be built on three outparcels on the site, he said.
The plaza is close to Waterstone, a rising community of more than 1,000 units under development by several homebuilders including Caribe Homes and Lennar Homes.
Curt Ivy, Homestead city manager, said nearly 6,000 homes are planned for the area during the next three years.
"Our projections for 2003-04 are for about 1,800 homes," he said, "with another 1,900 for each of the next two years. We try to forecast on the conservative side, so it could be more."
Now, he said, commercial enterprises supporting the residential boom are beginning to get under way. "The amount of rooftops is reaching a critical mass," Mr. Ivy said, "where we can start marketing commercial down here."
He said the Publix at Waterstone Plaza will be the second one in town.
With large blocks of commercially zoned land becoming scarce and land prices escalating at a swift pace all over Miami-Dade County, Mr. Valero said, "Homestead used to be the last refuge for builders, the only place where you could buy land in the low single digits per square foot. But not any more.
"Fortunately, we bought this parcel about two years ago. Since then, land prices have quadrupled."