After Andrew, Homestead Bounces Back

Once nearly obliterated by Hurricane Andrew, Homestead, FL, is now a thriving city with a bigger and more diverse population than ever. This article takes a look at how it got there and how it plans to further reinvent itself.
September 24, 2008, 11am PDT | Judy Chang
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"The population of Homestead soared to almost 57,000 by July 2007 from just fewer than 32,000 residents in 2000 -- about the same as when the hurricane roared through, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The growth, spurred by developers eager to build up one of the last rural areas of crowded Miami-Dade County, took off because Homestead was far enough from the metro hub to make prices for the new houses a relative bargain compared with closer, older developments."

"Where crops once grew, big-box developments have popped up to host stores including Lowe's, a soon-to-open Sports Authority, a multiplex cinema and a host of national restaurant chains.

Homestead officials hope other types of developments will follow to broaden the employment base for a city that -- in spite of its recent growth spurt -- remains largely a commuter city for the metropolis to the north. 'We're still too much of a bedroom community,' says Ms. Bell, the mayor. 'This is a town that really needs to keep changing.'"

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Published on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 in The Wall Street Journal
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