Voter approval sought for lease of historic building

Voter approval sought for lease of historic building

Historic building housed original office of Dr. James Jackson.

Voters in the City of Miami will be asked to approve on Nov. 8 a charter amendment making the historic original office of Dr. James Jackson, Miami’s first physician and Jackson Memorial Hospital’s namesake, the permanent home of Dade Heritage Trust.

Currently, Dade Heritage Trust has a month-to-month lease from the City of Miami for the use of the office at 190 SW 12 Terr. If passed, the charter amendment will allow for the city to enter into a 30-year lease of the building with two renewal options for a minimum annual rent of $600 in addition to the Trust’s obligation to maintain the facility for the benefit of the public, which costs about $35,000 per year.

The new lease will provide the Trust a long-term commitment that enables it to continue costly renovations and improvements to the building.

“Since our establishment in 1972, we have fulfilled our mission to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of greater Miami,” said Christine Rupp, executive director of the 501(c)3 organization. “The city purchased the building in 1976 and turned to Dade Heritage Trust to restore, operate and maintain it since 1977.”

The quaint building, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, exemplifies the adaptation of the Neo-Classical style to Miami’s climate with wide porches, supported by Doric columns.

“Recently we invested $40,000 for interior and exterior improvements and new landscaping. Every year an estimated $35,000 is spent for insurance, general maintenance, systems maintenance, security and utilities for the building’s operation as Dade Heritage Trust’s office with our gallery and library spaces. Our building also serves as an Official Heritage Tourism Visitor’s Center, open to the public seven days a week,” Rupp explained.

“The Nov. 8 charter amendment is essential to Dade Heritage Trust’s continued success in carrying out the mission to safeguard Miami’s architectural and environmental heritage,” said Dr. Edmund Parnes, Dade Heritage Trust president. “The current month-to-month lease puts us at an extreme disadvantage when competing for grants and other financial support dedicated to the upkeep of the 111-year-old surgical center.”

In addition to preserving Dr. Jackson’s house and serving as an advocate for the preservation of many other sites across Miami-Dade, Dade Heritage Trust provides an array of public programs including educational walking and bike tours and maintains a library of information on all of the historic sites in the county.

“As Miami’s building boom continues, it’s increasingly more important that we provide residents — new and old alike — with a sense of Miami’s unique history. We hope City of Miami voters will support the work we do by voting in favor of the charter amendment on Nov. 8 and allowing us to continue to serve the community,” Rupp said.

For more information, call Christine Rupp, executive director at 305-35-9572 or visit

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