Coral Gables

Bahamian Village project in Coral Gables makes progress

The site of the proposed Bahamian Village community center in Coral Gables, 280 S. Dixie Hwy. The developer, Miami-Dade County and the city are close to resolving a lawsuit that has delayed the development.
The site of the proposed Bahamian Village community center in Coral Gables, 280 S. Dixie Hwy. The developer, Miami-Dade County and the city are close to resolving a lawsuit that has delayed the development. ldixon@miamiherald.com

The developers of a Coral Gables community center and Miami-Dade County are working toward a resolution of a lawsuit that’s delayed building at the site.

The county and the developer, Bahamian Village LLC, have agreed to delay any action on the lawsuit in order to create a set of development benchmarks and a timeline for the project.

The negotiations also included Gables City Attorney Craig Leen and staff who were directed to intervene in the case by the City Commission last December. The city chose to become involved after the Lola B. Walker Homeowners Association became a party to the lawsuit.

Bahamian Village filed its lawsuit against the county last July seeking a declaratory judgment and clarity on both the ownership rights of the property and a reverter clause in the deed for the site.

The city first approved the project — also called Bahamian Village — in 2005; plans for the site go as far back as 2002. The project, at 280 S. Dixie Hwy., is expected to contain retail space as well as the community center. It’s named after the Bahamians who helped develop and build Coral Gables and eventually settled in the city’s MacFarlane Homestead Historic District.

“We’re very happy that the mayor and the County Commission heard us and it’s going to be in the best interest of that part of the city,” Leen said.

The developer plans to have construction bids and a general contractor by late April and hopes to apply for approval from the city’s board of architects by April or May. Bahamian Village also looks to have a tenant identified within a year after all the parties in the lawsuit reach an agreement.

Commissioners Vince Lago and Patricia Keon were heavily involved in the negotiations along with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the county attorney’s office, deputy county manager Russell Benford, county housing staff and members of the Walker Association.

“This has been a long time and an ongoing issue with this particular project with lots of stops and starts,” Keon said at a recent County Commission meeting. “We all want the same thing, we all want to see this project built.”

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3

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