Council approves $4.5 million eminent domain purchase for NW 59th Avenue road project

Government By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, November 2, 2023

Council approves $4.5 million eminent domain purchase for NW 59th Avenue road project

     After nearly three years of litigation, the town council approved the $4.5 million purchase of a property that is blocking the path of a proposed road on the east side of town.

     The eminent domain settlement will allow the town to demolish a building owned by Michael Spetko and his family’s firm, TSC Investments, LLC, at 5951 NW 151st St. It has offices, a mechanic’s garage and warehouse bays.

     The extension of Northwest 59th Avenue with a new road and a bridge over the C-8 Canal will connect Northwest 154th Street and Northwest 167th Street.

    The total cost of the project, including acquisition of the TSC Investments property, is $15.7 million.

    When finished, it will eventually enable students to walk along sidewalks to the Miami Lakes Educational Center and allow police, firefighters and customers to reach businesses located along Northwest 57th Avenue, without having to drive along Northwest 57th Avenue to get there. 

      The council voted on the settlement on Oct. 24. 

     Councilmen Luis Collazo, Josh Dieguez and Ray Garcia approved it, council members Tony Fernandez and Marilyn Ruano did not. Mayor Manny Cid and Vice Mayor Carlos Alvarez were absent.

     In addition to paying the owners the market appraised value of the property, the town will pay them $534,000 in attorneys’ fees and $50,000 in other costs, documents show.

     A second council vote is scheduled for Nov. 14 on an ordinance that allows the town to borrow up to $2.5 million from the capital project fund; that money will supplement cash already in the account set aside for the property purchase. 

     “That money will enable the town to close on the property,” Town Manager Edward Pidermann said.    

     The town has to spend money to get reimbursed from the grants and other government funds it has been awarded, and combined make it a fully-funded project, he said.

     Awards to the town include a $3 million U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development grant; $3.8 million from the Florida Dept. of Transportation; $1.9 million from Miami-Dade County road impact fees and $5.7 million from the county’s People’s Transportation Plan.

     Next steps: A request to the FAA to allow realignment of the road into part the Runway Protection Zone to minimize impact to Caterpillar’s driveway on the north side of the canal. 

Part of Red Road and the school property are in that zone, Pidermann said.

    “If that gets approved, we’ll be able to move forward with what we hope will be donated land transfers from Caterpillar and the school board to the town, and a license agreement with Miami-Dade Aviation,” Pidermann said.

     A request for comment from TSC Investments, through its law firm, was not returned.

In the photo, taken on Feb. 21: U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Doral, who announces a $3 million federal transportation grant for the Northwest 59th Avenue road extension project in Miami Lakes. With the congressman at the future job site are from left, Councilman Ray Garcia; Asst. Town Attorney Lorenzo Cobiella; Public Works Director Omar Santos-Baez; Grants and Government Affairs Manager Renee Wilson; U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart; Mayor Manny Cid; Councilman Josh Dieguez and Town Manager Edward Pidermann.