Coral Gables To Purchase Land to Build Fire Station on Sunset Dr.

The following is a direct copy of the Coral Gables official item Brief on the purchase and sale agreement with Riviera Presbyterian Church for the purchase of a portion of the surface parking lot at 1325 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables, FL. Click here for the PDF Copy of the brief.

Ordinance on First Reading.  An Ordinance of the City Commission of City of Coral Gables, Florida approving a Purchase and Sale Agreement with Riviera Presbyterian Church for the purchase of a portion of the surface parking lot at 1325 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables, FL, also referred to as 5275 Sunset Drive, (the western portion of Folio No. 03-4130-009-3240) for the purpose of establishing a firehouse and park using State of Florida grant funds for a portion of the purchase; waiving certain requirements pursuant to Section 2-1089 of Division 12 of the Procurement Code; providing for severability clause and an effective date.




In 2016, the City of Coral Gables (the “City”) Fire Department (the “Department”) began searching for a site to build a new firehouse in order to improve the Department’s response times for the mid-southeastern portion of City.  

On January 9, 2018, the City Commission adopted Resolution No. 2018-04, approving the City’s legislative priorities for the 2018 legislative session, which included a funding request for $1.5 million for a new firehouse in the vicinity of Cartagena Circle. The Florida Legislature approved the City’s appropriation request, and as part of the State of Florida (the “State”) FY 2018-2019 budget, the State’s Department of Financial Services appropriated $1.5 million from the State Fire Marshall Local Government Fire Service Grants 43.009 (the “State Grant”) for the City to acquire land in the vicinity of Cartagena Circle. The proposed State Grant for land acquisition would serve to protect the safety and welfare of the residents in the mid-southeastern portion of the City because an additional firehouse on Sunset Drive between Cartagena Circle and Red Road would:  

1. Reduce the distance between the existing fire stations (Fire Station 1- 2801 Salzedo St; Fire Station 2 – 525 South Dixie Hwy; Fire Station 3- 11911 Old Cutler Road).
2. Substantially improve the Department’s response time to residential communities such as Cocoplum, Gables Estates, and Hammock Lakes, as well as to portions of the University of Miami.  

In mid-2018, the City identified a property for acquisition on Cartagena Circle for the purpose of building a firehouse and park.  However, on November 13, 2018, a Resolution approving the Purchase and Sale Agreement for that property was not approved by the City Commission as it failed to acquire the necessary 4/5th vote. Since November 2018, the Department and City Staff have continued to search for and evaluate possible sites on which to build a firehouse and park with the use of State Grant funds to cover the majority of the purchase price. A possible site, consisting of a portion of a surface parking at 1325 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables, FL also referred to as 5275 Sunset Drive, the western portion of Folio No. 03-4130-009-3240 (the “Property”) was identified in June of 2019. The location meets the requirements of the State Grant guidelines and serves to improve the Department’s response times for the mid-southeastern portion of City. Figure 1 provides a map depicting the “2-mile response radius for fire stations” in the City.

In July 2019, the City obtained an initial appraisal for the Property and provided a letter of intent to Riviera Presbyterian Church (the “Seller”) for the purchase of the Property. The Seller ordered a subsequent appraisal which was completed December 17, 2019. The Seller presented the proposed purchase to their Congregation on December 29, 2019 for a vote, which was approved by the Congregation. On January 15, 2020, the Purchaser submitted the proposed Purchase and Sale Agreement (the “PSA”) to the Seller with the following terms:   “As-Is” purchase of the Property for the sum of $2,010,000.00;The City to provide $75,000 as an earnest money deposit;The Seller to provide either a 60 or 90-day due diligence period (as being negotiated) to conduct any other inquiries required as part of the purchase and sale process;; The purchase is contingent on City Commission approval, on the City securing the funds of the $1.5 million State Grant, and on the Seller obtaining approval for the purchase from the Presbytery of Tropical Florida on January 22, 2020. The City will negotiate an amendment to the Seller’s existing parking lot Management Agreement.    

In accordance with the State Grant guidelines, the City submitted the proposed PSA to the State for approval prior to the February 1, 2020 State deadline.  As indicated, the purchase of the Property is contingent on securing the $1,500,000 State Grant to offset 75% of the purchase price of the Property.  To secure the State Grant funds and meet the State deadline for acquiring the Property, City staff recommends that the City Commission waive certain requirements of Division 12 of the Procurement Code.  This recommendation is consistent with Sec. 2-1089 of the Procurement Code which states that the City Commission may waive any condition imposed by the provisions of Division 12 of the Code upon a four-fifths vote, where it finds such a waiver to be necessary to proceed with a purchase, sale, or lease which is in the best interest of the City.  As explained above, the Department has a need for an additional firehouse in the described area, in order to ensure adequate response times for southern areas of the City.  

The Property is currently tax exempt because, Chapter 196 Florida Statutes provides property tax exemption(s) to eligible, religious, not-for-profit organizations that own and operate real estate and/or tangible business property.  The purchase of this portion of the surface parking lot will not result in a loss of existing tax revenue to the City. The Property is zoned S “Special Use District,” with a future land use plan designation of “Religious/Institutional.” The Special Use District allows for conditional Government and Municipal uses, as such, the development of this firehouse and park. The current uses surrounding the Property include residential neighborhoods, educational and religious institutions, and special event venues.  The City will submit a site plan and design for the Property that is consistent with the surrounding uses and that will minimize any potential impact to surrounding areas.  

The City will inform and solicit input from the neighbors regarding the design of the firehouse and park, at neighborhood meetings that will be held as part of the subsequent site approval process.
Figure 1. City of Coral Gables 2-Mile Response Radius for Fire Stations


No. Amount Source of Funds
String: Account: 310-1500-522-61-00 $1,500,000 Awarded State of Florida Department of Financial Services Grant
String: c-fire-st4.1-acquis.landprch Account: 390-1500-522-61-00   $510,000 Impact Fees  


  1. Proposed Ordinance;
  2. Proposed Purchase and Sale Agreement;
  3. Appraisal from Waronker & Rosen;
  4. Appraisal from Integra Realty Resources;
  5. Property Survey


2 thoughts on “Coral Gables To Purchase Land to Build Fire Station on Sunset Dr.

  1. No, actually it doesn’t make more sense. It is at the western boundary edge of Coral Gables and significantly close to another fire station (less than one mile away). Look at a map…MDFR Firehouse 14 – Miami Dade Fire Rescue, 5860 SW 70th St, South Miami, FL 33143. It is a redundancy to locate it here; not an improvement of coverage and not a good use of state funds.

    The graphic is also wrong. It shows the 2 Mile Response Radius as being centered at the circle of Sunset and Old Cutler.

  2. This makes a lot more sense than the previous idea, defeated in November 2108, of a station at Cartagena Circle. And it will cost half as much to buy the property. Go for it!

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