Call it the Taj Mahal of Homestead.
On Monday afternoon, scores of people gathered at Homestead’s new, long-awaited city hall in the heart of the community’s downtown.
“This is more than just a big building,” Mayor Jeff Porter told the Miami Herald. “We deserve to be respected. We deserve a building like this. This is a 100-year building and it is built to last a very long time.”
The ivory-colored 83,841-square-foot facility cost about $26.5 million to plan and build. It has been in the works since 2005. It’s constructed to withstand a category 5 hurricane, and will function as an emergency operations center during a crisis. It is also LEED certified as energy efficient.
$26.5 million Cost of Homestead’s new city hall
The building features a 225-seat council chamber to accommodate more residents at public meetings.
“Today we have 65,000 residents, compared to the 9,000 we had back at the old city hall,” Porter said.
More than five dozen community organizations paraded around the new property in colorful costumes and bright signs. A drum line chanted “We are Homestead” as constituents sang along.
This the fourth location where the city has conducted city business. Before moving in, the city leased a portion of Portofino Plaza, 650 NE 22nd Ter., after the former city hall was found to have mold, asbestos and radon — a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Homestead’s original city hall was a tiny, two-story unit in downtown.
The City Council has stressed that the new city hall will be a community centerpiece that should revitalize downtown and bring in business.
Within the last year, Homestead has built a new police headquarters and restored its historic Seminole Theatre. One of the council’s next goals is to redesign Losner Park, which sits next to the Seminole.