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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

HIALEAH, FL-South Florida Federal Partners LLC has completed the first of five South Florida buildings to house US Citizenship & Immigration Services centers, located at 5880 NW 183 St. The Miami-based firm won the $69-million assignment to simultaneously build 235,000 square feet in five centers to be leased by the General Services Administration for $14 million per year over the next 15 years.

“This region is the third largest center of immigration in the US, with large numbers of applicants for new citizenship,” says Mark Levin, managing partner of South Florida Federal Partners. Between 200 and 400 applicants are expected to visit each of the five centers every day, with about 100 employees at each.

Last month, Real Estate Florida reported that the Hialeah building and the Kendall site at 14675 SW 120 St. had received their certificates of occupancy, with the other three locations in Miami, Oakland Park and Royal Palm Beach set to receive theirs before the end of the year. Each of the centers has been designed to LEED Silver standards by Boca Raton-based JMWA Architects and constructed by Fort Lauderdale-based contractor Moss & Associates. They are being touted as the first completed green federal buildings in South Florida. The buildings feature numerous skylights, the use of energy efficient air conditioning units, lights that dim down as natural sunlight enters, the use of recycled materials and natural habitat landscaping and proximity to public transportation.

According to Levin, the project is expected to include one of the largest solar power projects in the US, with 218,000 square feet of solar panels producing 552 kilowatts per year. The South Florida CIS centers are part of a 10-site nationwide plan by the GSA. The other centers are being constructed in Orlando, Dallas, Denver, Portland, OR and Lawrence, MA.

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