Thursday, September 11, 2008
Representatives from Northside United rallied outside the Continental Real Estate offices in Homestead Thursday but were turned back in their attempt to deliver a stack of letters signed by north side residents. The letters, addressed to various elected officials, noted that continental had acquired land on the north shore from the Stadium Authority for an outdoor theater and hotel at below market rates and then asked the state for money to help develop the land. It then called on those lawmakers to pressure the company to negotiate a community benefits agreement. When the protesters tried to deliver copies of the nearly 90 letters police and private security turned them back. After some shuttle diplomacy using a security guard as a messenger the letters were accepted. Security guard Brian Taylor told the protesters the office was now a different division of Continental that dealt with office furniture rather than real estate development. Northside united co-chair Sam Williamson says he is concerned that the real estate division has apparently moved back to Ohio. He says despite that, the company has not heard the last from his group. Continental did not return calls seeking comment.