Hialeah Foreclosures May Dip if Hialeah Park Succeeds

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Hialeah foreclosures may drop if the reopening of the Hialeah Park Race Track and if the planned developments adjacent to and in conjunction with the park create jobs for a lot of Hialeah residents and people moving to the city.

According to John Brunetti, owner of Hialeah Park, within weeks of his application for a permit to hold quarter horse racing, 4,800 people came to the park and submitted applications for jobs. The record number of job applications spurred Hialeah and Miami-Dade officials to work with Brunetti in lobbying for a state legislation enabling Hialeah to reopen the race track for horse racing.

Hialeah City Mayor Julio Robaina, recognizing the positive impact of the rebirth of the race track on job creation and economic rejuvenation in his city, worked with Florida Senators Jeff Atwater, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Rudy Garcia, Al Lawson and other lawmakers to enable the race track to operate other games in addition to horse quarter racing.

Last November 28, after eight years of dormancy, the Hialeah Park opened to almost 27,000 people excited to see the historic park. With the revival of the race track, local officials expect economic growth as restaurants, bars and hotels will open to serve customers of the park.

The revival of the historic park may also push further developments and job creation that would reduce Hialeah foreclosures. Foreclosure postings in the condo sector may be contained if unsold condo units are snapped up by investors and first time home buyers encouraged by the reopening of the race track.

Recently, another large condo conversion in Hialeah was foreclosed. Ocean Bank won its $18-million foreclosure action against the developers of the 180-unit eight-building Casa Bella condo complex.

Developers Michael Albert and Zoe Torres, through their firm 4400 LLC, borrowed $23.2 million from Ocean Bank in 2006 to enable them to buy the buildings for $23.5 million. They however sold only 52 units, forcing them to default on their $15.6-million balance which had quickly increased to $18 million after interests and penalties were added.

Hialeah and other places of Miami-Dade County continue to be clobbered by condo foreclosures because of the record number of condo conversions in the area during the housing boom. In November, condo sales soared by 48 percent, but the remaining inventory of condo units in the county is still high at 16,665 units.

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