June 2016, Volume 20, Number 3


A Just Use for a Noble Structure

With a proud tradition of preserving important historic landmarks, MDC once again has come to the rescue of a beloved treasure, this time by signing a 115-year, $1-a-year lease on the government building in Downtown Miami that once housed the city’s post office, courthouse and all federal agencies but the weather bureau.

The David W. Dyer building, named after a prominent judge, is a Depression-era Neoclassical masterpiece considered by architects to be among Miami’s grandest structures. Built in 1933 and vacant since 2008, it will be restored for academic and civic purposes.

Upon hearing the news, local historian and MDC Professor Dr. Paul George told the Miami Herald, “It’s one of the most important buildings in all Miami-Dade County.”

The courthouse is on both the National Register of Historic Places and the City of Miami’s list of designated historic landmarks. It will be in good hands under the stewardship of MDC, which has acquired significant expertise in restoring and reusing historic buildings, including Tower Theater in Little Havana and the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower.

MDC alumnus and Florida U.S. Rep. John Mica paved the way for the courthouse’s revival in 2012 when he led negotiations for MDC to acquire the building. Among various plans on the drawing board for its use are to have it house MDC’s architecture school, the Law Center and its Miami Fashion Institute.

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