Miami-Dade Bar Association closes $3 million loan to fund renovations

The Miami-Dade Bar (MDB) in late December completed a $3 million loan that will renovate its headquarters located on NW First Avenue in downtown Miami. Pictured at the closing are (lr, front row) Scott Stephens and Sabrina Puglisi, MDB President; (back row) Carlos Garcia, Jane Muir, former president of the MDB; Jorge Rawitz; Charise Morgan-Joseph, MDB Secretary; Jeffrey Levey; Bret Berlin, Executive Director of MDB, and Melinda Osborne.

The Miami-Dade Bar Association (MDB), one of the largest attorney networks in Miami-Dade County and the state, closed a $3 million loan with Intercredit Bank in late December 2021.

“It is the culmination of several months of work,” said MDB President Sabrina Puglisi.

In 2020, outgoing president Jane Muir and the association’s executive committee embarked on an ambitious plan to completely renovate the five-story 1960s headquarters located at 123 NW First Avenue in downtown Miami.

The project will increase square footage from 18,000 to a total of 22,000 by bringing the elevator to the fifth floor. The building will be completely gutted and fitted with new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, which currently date back to the original construction of the building.

“Once completed, member attorneys will have access to a business center and hospitality suite environment that includes workspaces, meeting rooms, a lounge, and a place to store personal belongings while they are in court,” said Bret Berlin, executive director of the association. “These additional benefits complement existing MDB offerings such as networking opportunities, access to continuing legal education programs, community service opportunities, as well as discount programs and professional liability insurance products.”

The bar association’s pro bono programs, which provide free and low-cost legal services and attorney referral services for the general public, and Dade County Legal Aid will continue to operate in the first and third floors. In addition, sister volunteer bars will have the opportunity to organize their own meetings and events at the MDB headquarters.

The MDB selected J. Stephens Construction for the project and construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.

“The Miami-Dade Bar is committed to its members and this initiative reflects our mission to be the county’s preferred voluntary bar association,” Puglisi said.

Founded in the early 1900s and officially incorporated in 1920 by a handful of attorneys, the Miami-Dade Bar today serves more than 19,000 outlawed attorneys in the county and continues its mission to support and inform, educate and to serve lawyers and the community at large.

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