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Commisioner breaks ground for Liberty City's Transit Village

The housing project almost fell through

Miami Times staff report | 7/3/2014, 9 a.m.
7th Ave. Transit Village rendering

The groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Transit Village in Liberty City, was held last Monday with community and business leaders vowing to end longstanding urban blight in the Martin Luther King economic business district.

They gave speeches and shoveled the ceremonial dirt to jump start the Transit Village project, an ambitious $60 million, mixed use affordable housing development that will include 76 units, a transit hub for Metro-Dade buses, taxis and jitneys. The village will also include a computer lab, retail space and a 22,000 square feet community theatre that will seat 200 people.

Phase two of the project will include housing units for seniors and an indoor pool at the top of the parking deck, said Kenneth Naylor, chief executive officer for Atlantic Pacific, which is developing the project.

The Transit Village is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2015.

“When this is done, we’re going to see a new Liberty City,” Naylor said.

Naylor is among a handful of leaders who hope the project will spark economic development in the area by attracting more businesses. They also said the project will generate 200 jobs in the area.

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District 3 County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson (center) helped kick off the Transit Village in Liberty City with groundbreaking ceremony.

The village will be located at the NW corner of 62nd street and 7th Avenue, where mom and pop stores, including the venerable Greene and Son Shoe Repair stood for decades. The village will be built around Mop City Barbershop, which kept its property after the developer Atlantic Pacific decided not purchase the business for $5 million.

Despite the rough start, Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony was upbeat as District 3 County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson led the event with a rousing speech that reminded residents that the area is on a rebound.

“This is going to be a big project,” said Edmonson.

“It’s wonderful day to Liberty City residents,” she added. “This project was years in the making.”

Edmonson was referring to the early planning stages of the village when the project almost fell through. Edmonson said she inherited the project upon her election to the county commission in 2005. That was when the project nearly fell through the cracks during her transition. She said about $10 million in federal funds spearheaded by congressman Kendrick Meeks was sent back to Washington but she was able to retrieve the money to fund the project.

In addition, Miami-Dade county has donated $11 million in funds for the project. The City of Miami donated an additional $1.5 million, thanks to then District 5 city commissioner Richard P. Dunn II.