Food News

$400,000 to Anyone Who Will Open Overtown Grocery Store

If you live in Overtown, there's nowhere nearby to purchase groceries.

There's a site at 1490 NW Third Avenue where stores were located in the distant past. But it has been empty for years.

Now authorities are offering big incentives to anybody who will open the site. The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency is offering incentives to the first suitor.

"So far we have spoken to a few suitors and are excited about the possibilities," said Clarence Woods, executive director of the SO/PWCRA.

Woods would not divulge the names of the suitors; the 14,000-square-foot store has the room for pretty much any major grocery store. Furthermore, the CRA has set aside $400,000, with more room for funding available, and could add around another 1,000 square feet.

"Major grocery stores, like Publix," said downtown Publix staff supervisor Nathan Villazquez, "plan every store opening very carefully. The neighborhood and specific property has to meet certain criteria."

Though it is not clear if the above property meets criteria enough for a Publix or Winn-Dixie, the CRA is willing to do what it can to attract even a mid-size chain like Crown Supermarkets or Sedano's.

A CRA is an area targeted for revitalization, authorized by Florida Statute (Chapter 163, Part III) and created at the local level. The Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA is the longest standing (1982) in Miami city proper, which is also home to the Omni CRA (1986) and the Midtown CRA (2003).

For decades, CRA's all over the city have shelled out millions in the form of relocation and renovation grants. Most recently, the SO/PWCRA aided Jerry & Joe's Pizza and House Of Wings, among many others, with grants over $100,000. Woods and his staff have been busy with two large-scale, mixed-use development projects that will add around 200 residential units and over 10,000 square feet of commercial area to the area bounded by I-395, I-95, Biscayne Boulevard and NE Fifth Street.

"We are dedicated to revitalizing the neighborhood through our commercial tenant build-out program," Woods continued. "With Third Avenue as our historically commercial corridor, we focus on this area as one of major importance."

Residents currently have to trek to Brickell or Midtown to find a Publix, Winn-Dixie or any other reasonably-priced market. The corner stores that litter the neighborhood charge much more for the same product, a product that sits on the shelf for sometimes years before being purchased.

"It would be nice to have a nice grocery store like every other neighborhood," said longtime Overtown resident Shirley Lamore. "It would go a long way in gaining a sense of security and pride in our neighborhood."

The CRA hopes to first find a property management company with experience, then find an occupant by September.

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Kareem Shaker
Contact: Kareem Shaker