Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka approves multi-million purchase of former City Hall building

Opa-locka’s City Hall is moving. The highly anticipated decision comes after a year and a half of haggling with the building’s current owners for a lower price.

The new price for the four-story Town Center I space at 780 Fisherman St.: $7.9 million — a whopping $2 million less than originally discussed.

“We tried before to purchase Town Center and the price was so astronomical until it wasn’t even funny,” Mayor Myra Taylor said in a special commission meeting on Monday. “We had the opportunity to purchase again. We negotiated the price down to where we can live with it. Everybody needs a home and this is our opportunity.”

“This has always been a part of my vision, for us to have a good home,” Taylor said.

On Monday, the commission unanimously gave a green light to staff to push forward with the multimillion-dollar agreement that City Manager Kelvin Baker fought to get with JWV Properties. Baker will use an $8.5 million loan that’s already been approved by City National Bank to buy the 80,000-square-foot space.

City offices are currently located at 3400 NW 135th St., in space rented for $12,000 a month.

Opa-locka first attempted to purchase the building on Fisherman Street in 2013 when the city occupied space on the second and fourth floors, but the property’s $10 million price tag was too high. Further negotiations in the purchase stopped the deal from going through.

But now with the lower cost, the city will finally be able move back into its former home more comfortably, although the space might need slight modifications before the commission can relocate.

“We’re looking to resume our previous states of occupancy,” Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said. “It’s our intent to resume offices on the fourth floor and then we’d return our commission chambers on the second floor.”

Opa-locka previously rented out the building, but it came at costs close to about $600,000 a year, which the city couldn’t afford.

Once Opa-locka owns the property, it will be able to rent out the unused space, about 60 percent of the building.

“Buying this is a big deal because it’s going to influence our finances for what we’re trying to do get out of the red, get our employees raises, increase the revenue stream in our city,” Commissioner Terence Pinder said.