Homestead Aims High With Observation-Tower Plan

Dec 19, 2013

A rendering of the kind of observation tower Homestead officials are considering building to lure tourists to the city's downtown.
Credit LARC, Inc.

Imagine this: You’re heading down the Florida Turnpike on your way to the Keys and spot this interesting-looking steel tower.  It’s got an observation deck that corkscrews from the ground all the way to a height of about 560 feet.

You’re gonna stop the car, right?

That’s what Homestead officials are counting on.  The city is considering building such a tower to attract tourists to its downtown.

Homestead director of community redevelopment Rick Ammirato says the city is perfectly situated to offer visitors an extraordinary view.

"You’d be able to see the skyline of Miami, the Everglades, the beginning of the Keys and Biscayne Bay," says Ammirato.  "And once they come for the tower, the ancillary retail that we’re going to incorporate around the tower will hopefully keep them in for a little while.”

The observation tower would cost around $20 million and the city is discussing the possibility of a public-private partnership to pay for it.

An earlier plan to revitalize Homestead’s downtown was recently scrapped by city officials because of the project’s ties to a former medical-school CEO and to Homestead’s former mayor – both of whom are facing criminal charges.