Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Habana Plaza sells for $7.4M

Habana Plaza, the shopping center on Flagler Avenue that since 2010 has housed Key West's City Hall, has changed hands between two Miami companies for $7.4 million.

Habana Key West bought the 60,119-square-foot complex from Hillsborough with plans to open a Deals discount store, a chain owned by Dollar Tree, in the existing vacant space, according to the real estate broker behind the deal.

Built in 1963 with additional buildings opened between 1971-1981, Habana Plaza will remain home to city offices and the other tenants already there, said real estate broker Claude Gardner, who handled the sale with Edward Knight and Will Langley, all of Prudential Knight & Gardner Realty.

Gardner on Monday confirmed the price and the sale, which became final June 23.

The city plans to move into the historic reconstructed Glynn Archer Elementary School building by 2016. It vacated the former Angela Street facility, which was plagued by problems including asbestos and mold.

City commissioners considered rebuilding Angela Street but after much debate chose to reconstruct the Glynn Archer building at White and United streets for $15.5 million after the School Board handed over the lease without asking for a cent.

The new city hall is tentatively set to open sometime around Christmas 2015, architect Bert Bender has said.

Habana Plaza was always a temporary headquarters for the city.

"I don't think the city of Key West really belongs in a shopping center," Gardner said. "They made the right decision."

The Dollar Tree company, which in 2006 bought 138 Deals stores, is in the midst of renovating about 10,000 square feet in vacant retail space, having received city approval in February.

Most Deals stores sell household goods and cleaning supplies, health and beauty products along with milk, eggs, pizza, ice cream, frozen dinners, and pre-made baked goods, the company's website says.

That space was once home to the offices of Wesley House Family Services.

"Moving government offices out of there actually reduces the parking demand," said private planner Owen Trepanier, citing a traffic study paid for by the previous owners of Habana Plaza.

In May, building permits were obtained to demolish drop ceilings, interior doors and non-bearing partitions.

The total building value for Habana Plaza was $6.3 million in 2013.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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