Stalled deal may force Opa-locka city hall to move



Opa-locka’s city hall may be changing locations.

After roughly a year of talks, the city has yet to reach an agreement with Town Center Properties LLC to purchase the four-story building, located at 780 Fisherman St.

“We haven’t reached a deal,” assistant city manager David Chiverton said. “We’ve made progress, but we don’t have a deal.”

The city has managed to negotiate a price of about $10 million for the deal, but the logistics of the contract are keeping the purchase from going through, according to City Manager Kelvin Baker.

"For weeks now, we’ve been back and forth with the attorneys over the terms and conditions,” Baker said at a special meeting on June 25. “While many of them have been resolved, there are still some major ones on the table."

It was at that special commission meeting that the commission agreed to terminate any further negotiations on buying the building.

“I am sick of it. I really am,” Mayor Myra Taylor said at the meeting. “This has been a year. I’ve bought property all over — I’ve never had this kind of holdup.”

By renting space on the first, second and fourth floors of the facility — at a cost of $44,144 a month in rent — the city occupies about 37 percent of the building.

The city also pays a percentage of property taxes, according to its agreement with the management company, and in May 2013 the city paid $23,311.92 for property taxes to the owner, according to Lynnelle Mays, media relations consultant for the city, via email.

"If the city owned the building, we would not pay property tax, as [we are] a tax-exempt entity," Mays wrote.

It’s been about five years since the city moved into its current location, and had operated out of its historic Arabian Nights-themed city hall, at 777 Sharazad Blvd., prior to the move.

Since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, "it was very costly to do any renovations and modifications to the building," Chiverton said, adding that the city had outgrown that location.

There is no deadline to move out, but city officials are currently weighing their options and analyzing how much a move would cost.

Some of the options being explored include building a new facility and having the city move temporarily into modular trailers.

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