Miami-Dade downsizes budget to rebuild historic courthouse

Miami-Dade’s $390M proposal now has a budget of $257M, with 18 floors instead of 26 and smaller courtrooms

Oct.October 05, 2017 03:45 PM

Miami-Dade County’s courthouse

Miami-Dade County is downsizing its vision for a downtown Miami civil courthouse replacement by clipping off some amenities, floors and square footage, according to the Miami Herald.

The $390 million proposal now has a budget of $257 million – a 34 percent drop from the original version, which voters rejected. The new scaled-back proposal will decrease the size of courtrooms, reduce the the number of bathrooms and erase a planned gym.

Instead of its own entrance, the building would rise next to the existing Children’s Courthouse on Northwest Third Street and share a front lobby, according to the Herald. It will also feature 18 floors, instead of its original 26 floors, and span 455,000 square feet, instead of 600,000 square feet inside.

Chief Judge Bertila Soto said settling on a low budget may produce a courthouse that’s too small for a county that is continuously expanding and will need more judges, according to the Herald. “This courthouse could be obsolete before it’s built,” she said.

The effort to replace the historic courthouse at 73 West Flagler Street hit a roadblock in 2014 when voters rejected a $219 million bond measure to build a new civil courthouse, out of fear it would raise property taxes. As a result, county leaders and developers sought other revenue streams to pay for the building.

In April, Crescent Heights developer Russell Galbut made an unsolicited offer to build a new $300 million courthouse in exchange for a 99-year lease that would collect $18 million a year in rent from the county. [Miami Herald] – Amanda Rabines

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