HOMESTEAD, FL–It’s apparent Tim Williams has some mixed feelings about the pending sale of land his family has owned here for almost 80 years.

Members of the Williams family reached that point where succession and estate issues became a hard fact. Rather than watching individual family members divest the acreage by piecemeal, Williams suggested they leverage their property assets as a possible site for a master-planned residential community.

The decision the Williams family subsequently made is about to become a reality. Coral Gables-based Landstar Development Corp. is now proposing the construction of 2,274 single-family homes, townhomes and villas within a 393-acre planned urban development–accompanied by 12 additional acres of commercial-retail space.

“My cousins listed their properties for sale about three years ago with Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors,” Williams, who has since earned his real estate license and joined the Miami-based brokerage, tells

“Having owned this property for almost 80 years, over multiple generations, we felt a tremendous responsibility to our community,” he says. “We didn’t want to have a hodgepodge of piecemeal development that might not be compatible with what’s already in the city of Homestead and what’s planned for the future.”

Other long-time neighboring property owners, like the Cox and Alger families, subsequently joined the Williams to create a parcel large enough to excite officials at Landstar, a quiet but fast-growing privately held company headed by Rodolfo Stern, president.

In partnership with Landstar, the families filed the appropriate land-use applications and then petitioned for annexation into the city of Homestead.

“We just annexed 479 acres at the request of those property owners,” Charles LaPradd, a city spokesman, tells “We’re very happy they wanted to be within our municipality. It will increase our ad valorem tax base.”

LaPradd says, “This is positive growth. From our understanding, at total buildout, this project will increase our population of 32,000 by about 20%.”

The project also is expected to boost the community’s available pool of labor, which is likely to encourage further commercial development.

“Under the county’s current master plan, this area has a building density of 6 units per acre,” LaPradd says. “They’re proposing less density, and that was a choice of the developer.”

Citing recent property sales, Williams estimates that an acre of undeveloped land fetches about $20,000 in this area that has almost immediate access to three full interchanges at Florida’s Turnpike.

“We hope soon there will be some recorded prices for a little bit more than that,” Williams tells, in a joking manner.

If the project proceeds as expected, Williams says, infrastructure site work could begin around the first of the New Year. The first phase of homes could possibly be ready for occupancy by early 2003.

“The annexation took a little longer than we expected,” Williams says. “Then we had a week’s delay on working out a developer’s agreement on impact fees. So we’re right up on our final timeline. Providing there are no hiccups, we should have our final approval by the second week in November.”

Single-family construction is planned on about 50% of the development area, Williams says. Another 20 to 25% is proposed as single-family clusters. The balance is proposed as townhomes and villas.

Over the proposed 10-year buildout, the project is expected to produce about $60 million in total construction-labor costs, Williams says. Based on homes averaging from $150,000 to $180,000 in value, the project would create about $23 million a year in new property taxes.

“There is an extraordinary number of people, families primarily, who are presently buying in West Kendall (to the north), where there is little to no availability,” Williams says.

“What is available is priced accordingly. This is an opportunity for those same buyers to have a little more space and pay a little less money for not only a comparable product but maybe even a better product.”

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