Special to South Florida Times

Officials and residents turned out on July 29 for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jessie Trice Corporate & Community Health Complex.

The two-story office building will aim to provide better medical access and also spur economic redevelopment in a depressed part of Liberty City.

RERG Development, Ivory Construction, Max South, and architect, Derrick Smith were tapped to design and build the 22,000-square-foot office building with a 5,000-square-foot dental office, at 5600 NW 27th Ave., Miami.

The cost of the project was not disclosed. Funding is being provided by Miami-Dade County and TD Bank. Around 130 people will work onsite during the construction.

The health center, already a medical cornerstone for underserved communities since 1967, will establish its new flagship location with the opening of this building.

The site’s location near the Brownville Metro station, recent infrastructure improvement and the development of a nearby 400-unit apartment complex make it of particular interest to future businesses.

“This gives us the ability to efficiently and effectively serve the community,” said Paul Roberts, chairman of the center’s board. “Its central location gives us accessibility.”

Center officials said the selection of RERG Development for the project is essential to its successful completion.

Annie Neasman, president/CEO of the center, said officials were  “very satisfied” with the team that RERG Development put together.

“They were in touch with the community and had a strong minority team. I thought it was important because 99 percent of our clients are minority. They really stuck with us throughout this process.”

David Wilson, president of RERG Development, said his company’s involvement in the project was two-fold.

“I think this is a very special project. The opportunity to serve as developer for the JTCHC is an honor to me because, when I was a child, I received treatment at a JTCHC facility,” Wilson said. “It has given me the opportunity to work with a solid team of local African American professionals, which I think speaks highly about JTCHC.”

The project also hits home for Wilson, Smith, and Willie Ivory of Ivory Construction, all of whom grew up in the community and attended the historical Miami Northwestern High School.

Smith was intrigued by the challenge of designing the building.

“It was an opportunity to do a project in the community from my childhood,” Smith said. “It was very enjoyable to work with David. He put together a successful team that was really able to work together, which is not always easy.”

Planning for the 27th Avenue project began in June of 2006 and construction is expected to be completed in 18 months.

Both the health center and RERG Development said they were hoping the project would spur more development in the area.

“During the most recent economic boom, inner city communities were overlooked,” said Wilson. “However, hopefully this will encourage other investors to take notice.”