Less than six months after breaking ground on a new City Hall, Homestead officials celebrated its structural completion.
The city celebrated a topping-off ceremony on Wednesday, meaning the contractor had finished the structure of the building and, at 75 feet, reached its highest point.
The contractor, Munilla Construction Management, also announced that construction is 60 days ahead of schedule, so the 83,000 square-foot building located in the historic downtown should be completed by the end of 2015.
This is a major change of pace for the city, which broke ground on the same plot of land for a new City Hall in 2007, but abandoned the project in 2009 over cost concerns.
“It is really critical for the citizens to see how fast its going up,” Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley said.
The city renewed its interest in the project after a 2012 environmental review that found radon — a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that causes lung cancer — mold and asbestos in the old City Hall building on Campbell Drive.
Then-Mayor Steven Bateman, who is serving a 22-month jail sentence for corruption, supported the renovating of the old building for an estimated $2 million, but the council decided to build a new City Hall for $25 million to become the centerpiece of downtown Homestead.
In February 2013, City Hall moved to a rented location on Portofino Plaza, 650 NE 22 Terr., that costs the city $29,727 a month. Since then, the city has also held all its public meetings at the William F. “Bill” Dickinson Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Ave.
Homestead is also working to build a new police station and renovate the Seminole Theater, projects that would kick-off the revitalization of the city’s downtown.
At the ceremony, MCM was also awarded for its job safety initiatives in this project with the Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award by the University of South Florida SafetyFlorida Consultation Program.
“This is something that is near and dear to my heart,” MCM project manager Mike Roblin said. “The real thanks is to the workers who look out for one another.”
Officials and city employees celebrated by putting on orange shirts and gathering in front of the construction site to take pictures with a drone.
“This is an amazing facility. We don’t be building another city hall for a while,” Mayor Jeff Porter said. “I look forward to the days when we’ll walk in and have a meeting inside our City Hall.”