After five years of stalled plans and proposals, Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday approved a development plan for a new civil courthouse downtown, ratifying a novel agreement that will let a developer build and operate the facility on Flagler Street for 30 years.
The unanimous vote followed persistent efforts by Miami judges and lawyers to secure public dollars for a modern, $267 million building to replace the existing 1928 facility, an aging structure with a history of leaks and air-quality issues and a legacy that stretches back to an Al Capone trial. Voters rejected a tax increase for the project in 2014, leaving Miami-Dade to tap existing dollars for a long-term development deal that multiple building groups tried to win.
“You inherited this problem after decades of accrued, deferred maintenance,” Judge Bertila Soto, who spearheaded the courthouse campaign, told commissioners. “This is a very important morning.”
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