March 4, 2020
RE: Copart USA Offers Great Opportunity for the City of Homestead to Show the Business Community They Are Open For Business
Residents of Homestead,
I would like to thank the Honorable Mayor and Council Members for their diligence in the consideration of the Copart USA application for their proposed outside storage use for 98 acres in the Homestead Park of Commerce. Last year, Copart USA (a S&P 500 Company) retained me to identify and acquire +/- 100 acres in South Dade for a Catastrophe Response Site to temporarily store vehicles that sustain damage from natural disasters.
As many of you may know, I was “Redland raised” for 20+ years, graduating from South Dade High School in 1991. I volunteered with The Homestead Vision Council for over a decade and had the honor of serving as the Chairman of the Board from 2006-08. Presently I am a Trustee with the South Dade Chamber of Commerce. For over 25 years, I have worked in the commercial real estate profession in South Florida. Throughout my career, I’ve sold hundreds of acres of land and assisted my clients in creating hundreds of jobs in this community. My passion and my focus is South Dade.
I have a long history with the Homestead Park of Commerce. I remember Rockefeller Group, A&H Commerce, and GBX Homestead… all of whom failed to successfully develop the same subject property. I believed so strongly in the “vision” of Homestead that I personally acquired 15 acres in the Park of Commerce in 2007. Unlike many other developers during that period, I survived. In 2016, after almost a decade of fighting to keep the property and extensively marketing the site, I was finally able to successfully recruit Dunham Bush Air Conditioning to acquire my site. None of this was easy.
According to a study by ComReal, there are approximately 344 acres within the southeast area of Homestead available for industrial development. Of the 98 acre subject site, only 38 acres are currently developable of which the maximum number of jobs could only ever be 5-10 per acre (not 50). The remaining acres include 60 acres of federal wetlands. With its investment in the Homestead Park of Commerce, Copart will absorb only about 10% of the available inventory for industrial development. Still leaving plenty of room for more businesses and job creation to come to our community!
Given my history and experience, I know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this site for several main reasons: 1) Copart plans to make a $50M investment into a site that has been abandoned for 30+ years, 2) Copart’s use is harmonious with and is a non-encroachment of the flight path of the U.S. Air Force Base, which lessens the risk of a major PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE and protects South Dade’s largest economic engine, and 3) Copart’s use represents nearly $300,000 in annual ad valorem property taxes that will directly benefit the City.
This project is truly a win-win-win-win! A win for the U.S. Air Force Base, a win for the ownership, a win for Copart USA and a win for the City and its residents!
We finally have a real solution on the table for a long vacant site with quite a history. Now is the time for all parties that have South Dade’s best interests at heart to send a positive message to the South Florida business community and beyond that “Homestead is open for business”. Let’s approve this use. Let’s welcome Copart USA to the Homestead Park of Commerce. Then let’s all work together to go recruit more businesses to Homestead!
Edward Redlich, SIOR, CCIM
51 Merrick Way, Coral Gables, FL 33133