Monday, January 18, 2010

Piecing together what is happening in Homestead ... by gimleteye

Homestead tells the story of the housing boom and collapse better than any city in Florida. It deserves its own forensic examination by the mainstream press. It is just the kind of backwater where the remnants of hubris, chutzpah, and gall live on, in a wrecked landscape of ghost suburbs where protagonists are idling for another chance to at the promised wealth from sprawl. If you could imagine a town next to two national parks and a national marine sanctuary that could do a worse job developing its economic potential, you'd end up with Homestead and influence-peddlers who see nothing wrong with what happened.

News that a local banker Bill Losner, one of the local figures in the economic debacle, will put money back into First National Bank-- to protect the bank from being taken over by regulators like those owned by Jacksonville bankers he sold control to, at the top of the market-- serves as a reminder. It was all about converting farmland to suburban sprawl in Homestead, tearing up the last open space to build more Kendalls, more Westchesters, more Hialeahs. Here's what happened:

Single-family new house construction building permits, according to City Data:

1996: 12 buildings, average cost: $47,400
1997: 21 buildings, average cost: $68,500
1998: 37 buildings, average cost: $59,400
1999: 62 buildings, average cost: $61,000
2000: 90 buildings, average cost: $80,200
2001: 145 buildings, average cost: $87,900
2002: 214 buildings, average cost: $119,400
2003: 1228 buildings, average cost: $143,700
2004: 1941 buildings, average cost: $140,100
2005: 2776 buildings, average cost: $135,300
2006: 991 buildings, average cost: $151,100
2007: 587 buildings, average cost: $150,600
2008: 26 buildings, average cost: $181,400

Quite a ride for production homebuilders, mortgage lenders, the Chamber of Commerce and the Growth Machine; while it lasted.


Anonymous said...

Richard Alger is seeking to purchase more shares too. The two of them will have 60% control of the bank w/30% each.

Any one paying attention to the "EAR" - we're heading towards critical mass in regard to active Ag Land in South Dade. It's being chipped away for development/rock mining and whatever non Ag use 40 acres at a time + or -.

For those who don't really care about South Dade or your food supply, wait until we no longer have an active Ag community and then look at your produce bill.

Do you want fresh, locally grown produce or imports? How about some more tainted Veggie's from Mexico or wherever.

Be careful when you ignore this stuff because the Ag area in South Dade is a lifeline.

I'd like to hear Katie Edwards opinion on critical mass, since she's now converted to a Democrat and has been a spokesperson for the Miami Dade County Farm Bureau.

Every public hearing I ever went to in regard to either Zoning or Planning, she's appeared to be all for "whatever" in the Ag area because of "property rights" (for the people who pay her)!

Losner at the helm again of Bank of South Florida - why don't we just pave over everything now and by pass the CDMP or what's left of it that protects our Ag area!

Anonymous said...

Like Marie Antoinette said: let them eat Roof tiles.

Anonymous said...

No doubt that the developers had free reign over ruining a serene and rural little town. These people always fail to grasp that you can never go back. Homestead is a monumental failure in every category available for classification.

Anonymous said...

Please, no more Losner. He is a bully who used his bank to reward and punish residents of Homestead and Redland. He is "growth at any cost". He sat on key committees and was a constant sore spot making any productive work impossible. His ethics are questionable; how many times has the guy been sued for harrassment,threats and violence? South Dade is so much better off if he floats around on his mega-boat.

Anonymous said...

Tell K-k-k-katie this

1. I put my car up on blocks
2. I can't put my boat in front of my house
3. I can't drill for oil on my property
4. I can't put up a fence without a permit
5. I can't let my grass grow more than 11:
6. I can't tear my house down and plant pole beans and I surely can't build a duplex

So, now let's talk about property rights. If I have to play by the rules, so should farmers.