Store owner refuses to leave unsafe structure

Miami-Dade County plans to build NW 7th Avenue Transit Village in location

MIAMI – A Miami business owner refuses to close up and relocate even though, experts say, the building he works in could come crashing down on top of him.

Tyrone Greene, who owns and operates Greene Dreams Shoe Repair, said his lease allows him to stay where he is until 2014 and the landlord needs to fix the problems.

Miami-Dade County owns the property at the corner of Northwest 62nd Street and 7th Avenue, just west of I-95. The City of Miami has declared the building an unsafe structure and has ordered the county to tear it down or fix it.

Rendering of the NW 7th Avenue Transit Village.

Miami-Dade County plans to tear the building down to build the NW 7th Avenue Transit Village, but Greene is currently in the way. The NW 7th Avenue Transit is an apartment/retail complex with a bus terminal and theater.

Greene says he's staying. The county took Greene to court to try to have the lease terminated but lost.

"It's not gonna happen. It ain't going down like that. This is a landmark and legacy," Greene told Local 10's Jeff Weinsier.

Greene said his parents started the business 50 years ago.

"We was here when there was nothing in this neighborhood but us at one time. My mother and father fought a long time for this corner," said Greene.

Miami-Dade County says 12 other businesses have relocated and Greene is the only one holding out.

"We have no intention of fixing that building," said Albert Hernandez, Assistant Director of Engineering, Planning and Development for Miami-Dade Transit.

Hernandez said the county has offered to pay to move Greene to a temporary location. If the rent is higher, the county would pay the difference and then bring him back into the new facility in the same spot.

"We are going to bring him back to a facility at the same rent that he's paying today for five years," said Hernandez.

Hernandez said the county has estimates of $630,000 to fix the roof and the structure, but refuses to fix a building planned to be demolished.

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Local 10's Jeff Weinsier asked Hernandez if it was a liability to have Greene working in a unsafe building.

"It is a huge liability to have him in there. For that reason, we have to come an agreement," Hernandez told Weinsier.

"He's got to get out. He's gonna get hurt. He is risking his health, his life," said Ray Benitez, a City of Miami Code Compliance Officer.

The county will build around Greene until his lease is up, but it will cost more tax dollars and take more time.