I have consistently expanded my real-estate business over the years, specifically in locations that have experienced historical underinvestment, such as Liberty City in Miami. Building up the neighborhoods where my family and I have grown up has become a personal mission of pride and pleasure. Providing adequate housing and commercial development in these areas is one of the many ways I can help build a greater Miami-Dade County.
Now I have the opportunity to participate in ownership and redevelopment of Liberty Square with Related Urban as a partner, along with many community organizations, community leaders and individuals from my community.
Thus, I am proud and honored to be an equity partner with Related Urban. We have been selected by an independent team of technical experts, including law enforcement, county housing, and community leaders in an open, competitive and public process to redevelop Liberty Square, based on Related Urban’s financial strength, more than 37 years of successful affordable-housing experience and a transformative Community Benefits Program.
I am most proud of the Community Benefits Program that our team will provide, if county commissioners approve this redevelopment.
The new Liberty Square — Liberty Square Rising — will contain a total of 1,572 units. The Related Urban team will invest more than $250 million to replace all public housing and add 815 garden-style units, priced for those in need of workforce and affordable housing, including seniors and youths aging out of foster care.
The Liberty Square Rising will contain 60 workforce and market-rate homeownership units. We will establish a first-time homebuyer HUD-approved education program and will partner with OneUnited Bank, the largest African American-owned bank in the country, to provide first-time homebuyers with mortgages.
Liberty Square residents will not be displaced — the team guarantees every resident the option to remain in the community throughout the redevelopment process; and every resident who chooses to leave is guaranteed the right to return to Liberty Square. It will be built by and for current residents. There will be more than 1,100 well-paying construction jobs set aside — and 75 percent of all permanent jobs — for Liberty Square residents.
Liberty Square residents will benefit from access to free wi-fi and social services and commercial and recreational spaces, in addition to an on-site grocery store and retail space reserved for local small mom-and-pop businesses and educational, community and health centers for children and adults.
The Liberty Square Rising will feature a new state-of-the art security monitoring system for public safety and crime prevention. We also will work closely with the city and county police departments during the design process to incorporate concepts that foster crime prevention through environmental design, and we will work with the Liberty Square Resident Council to establish a Crime Watch program.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue to share the community benefits of our redevelopment plan with the residents and the community at large.
Kareem Brantley is equity partner/project manager working with Related Urban on the redevelopment of Liberty Square Rising.