Miami Today http://www.miamitodaynews.com The Newspaper for the Future of Miami Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:08:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 DecoBike in downtown Miami nears http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/decobike-downtown-miami-nears/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/decobike-downtown-miami-nears/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24045 The DecoBike launch to Miami is slated for October. The expansion of the bike sharing program, which launched in March 2011 on Miami Beach, was set for this summer, but an increase in planned stations pushed the Miami date back. DecoBike LLC is a privately funded company and operates at no cost to Miami taxpayers. […]

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The DecoBike launch to Miami is slated for October. The expansion of the bike sharing program, which launched in March 2011 on Miami Beach, was set for this summer, but an increase in planned stations pushed the Miami date back.

DecoBike LLC is a privately funded company and operates at no cost to Miami taxpayers. The downtown expansion is expected to cost about $3.5 million in private capital costs.

“Stations are in the permitting phase,” said Colby Reese, a representative of DecoBike in an email to Miami Today. “We hope to have the program open to the public towards the end of October.”

The downtown expansion was slated for earlier this year, but more and upgraded station locations extended the company’s timeline.

“More station locations were identified during this time to achieve a higher-density and more connected station network to further improve mobility in the area,” Mr. Reese said. “Also, we decided to upgrade the proposed stations and bikes for the Miami expansion.”

These additional developments, while pushing back the DecoBike Miami launch, should improve the user experience, Mr. Reese said. At this point, he said, most everything is in order for DecoBike’s downtown launch in October, following the on-time delivery of the program equipment.

Initially, the expansion of DecoBike consisted of 50 stations locations. After study and review, that number was bumped up to 75 potential locations. These stations will be on government property and in high-density residential, commercial and retail locations, Mr. Reese said. Stations will also be near transit hubs, parking facilities and area attractions.

There are currently around 100 stations in the Miami Beach area with a fleet of 1,000 bikes. With the downtown expansion, that number is to rise up to 175.

While DecoBike riders on Miami Beach tend to stay on the Beach (unless a dedicated biker rides over and back a bridge across Biscayne Bay), the stations in Miami will be located throughout various neighborhoods to allow riders to move between many areas.

“Stations will be primarily located in Downtown Miami, Brickell, Wynwood, Design District, the Biscayne corridor, Midtown, Little Havana and Coconut Grove,” Mr. Reese said.

The stations in Miami will function similarly to the stations on Miami Beach, where riders can buy a onetime pass, a monthly pass, an annually pass or a deluxe pass. A rider who pays at a station can unlock a bike from the DecoBike dock and ride around. Bikes can be returned to any DecoBike station, not just the one where a bike is rented.

DecoBike says it has discussed potential expansions into other municipalities in Miami-Dade County like Sunny Isles, Coral Gables and South Miami, although no plans have been set yet.

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Profile: Bernie Fernandez http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/profile-bernie-fernandez/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/profile-bernie-fernandez/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24021 Baptist Health South Florida is the region’s largest faith-based, not-for-profit health caresystem. Within Baptist Health are many moving parts, one of which is the relatively new Baptist Health Medical Group, a network of about 160 (and growing) physicians who come from private practices or straight out of medical training.  Bernie Fernandez, MD, has been CEO […]

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Baptist Health South Florida is the region’s largest faith-based, not-for-profit health caresystem. Within Baptist Health are many moving parts, one of which is the relatively new Baptist Health Medical Group, a network of about 160 (and growing) physicians who come from private practices or straight out of medical training. 

Bernie Fernandez, MD, has been CEO of the Medical Group for four months, and in that time he’s learned not just about his domain but many others within Baptist Health, from the telehealth initiative, which greatly reduces readmission rates and health care costs for patients, to the Baptist Health Quality Network.

Miami Today Reporter Nina Lincoff interview Dr. Fernandez at Baptist’s Coral Gables offices.

To read the full article and the rest of the Miami Today issue, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact replica of the printed edition.

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10-mile linear park gets new look http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/10-mile-linear-park-gets-new-look/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/10-mile-linear-park-gets-new-look/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:43 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24047 GreenLink, a plan to create a 10-mile linear park along the southern Metrorail route, is gaining attention and support and moving ahead with the help of the University of Miami. This fall, UM students will be launching an economic impact study tied to the GreenLink proposal, according to Friends of the GreenLink. The proposed renovation […]

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GreenLink, a plan to create a 10-mile linear park along the southern Metrorail route, is gaining attention and support and moving ahead with the help of the University of Miami.

This fall, UM students will be launching an economic impact study tied to the GreenLink proposal, according to Friends of the GreenLink.

The proposed renovation of the M-Path for bicycles and pedestrians along US 1, GreenLink is being promoted by various county agencies, including the Miami-Dade County parks and transit departments. The idea to use the underutilized land came from Friends of the GreenLink founder Meg Daly.

The economic impact study comes on the heels of a spring 2014 studio class at the School of Architecture, where students studied the rail route’s existing conditions and created renderings of what could be.

Spearheaded by a powerful coalition of Miami-Dade County’s Department of Economic Resources, University of Miami School of Business Administration and location analytics company Urban4M, UM students will work under the supervision of UM Finance Professor Andrea Heuson to analyze economic growth opportunities along the GreenLink’s 10 miles from Brickell to Dadeland South stations.

“The economic impact of urban green spaces and bike and walking trails is documented. But the GreenLink’s impact on Miami’s southern corridor will be transformational. Our students will participate in a change-making initiative for the community,” said Ms. Heuson.

“We’re looking forward to providing actionable recommendations on GreenLink planning and implementation to achieve the highest possible economic returns,” said Hillit Meidar-Alfi, Urban4M founder and president. “Our software tools are visually driven and can be used by planners, designers and sponsors alike.”

The primary goal of the impact study is to provide implementation and design recommendations to attract “green-space-friendly” commercial development.

It’s no surprise that GreenLink supporters are following in the footsteps of other metro greenway projects that have met with great success, according to Maria Nardi, the head of planning for Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation.

“Other linear park initiatives like New York City’s High Line and Atlanta’s Beltline commissioned economic studies. To do the best job for our community, we’re following the best practices of other successful projects like these,” Ms. Nardi said.

The current plan is to publish the economic study results in early 2015.

Taking her proposal on the road throughout the year, Ms. Daly said she wants the friends group to be a catalyst for a world-class linear park and trail.

That starts with the ambitious goal of creating a 10-mile trail and linear park, then finding other connections in the community to link into a network of greenways throughout the city, she said.

The Metrorail system is a 25-mile dual track, elevated rapid transit system.

Several municipalities have endorsed the proposal including the City of Miami, the City of Coral Gables, the City of South Miami and the Village of Pinecrest.

When the Miami City Commission adopted a resolution supportive of GreenLink in May, it noted the benefits to be realized by the project, and that similar initiatives such as the High Line in New York City saw property values adjacent to the once-abandoned trail greatly increased.

Land contiguous to the Metrorail is of lesser value than properties just two blocks off the rail line, said the resolution, “and introduction of a linear park greatly improves the value of contiguous and adjacent properties.”

Just last week county commissioners meeting in the Cultural Affairs & Recreation Committee approved a resolution supportive of GreenLink.

The committee recommends the full county commission direct the mayor’s office to prepare a report containing a possible implementation plan for “creation of a ten-mile linear park along the Metrorail corridor consistent with the GreenLink proposal.”

A draft of the resolution indicates the full commission will consider it Oct. 7. If approved as written, it would give the mayor’s office 60 days to complete the study, and asks that it “detail how this GreenLink project can be realized, the cost, available funding sources, and a timeline for construction.”

Prime sponsor of the measure is Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz.

The proposed resolution states the county supports the goals of GreenLink, in that it promotes health and social welfare by providing additional and enhanced recreation and transportation options to residents and visitors.

GreenLink would also provide for widened, straightened paths, improved crosswalks and transformation of the existing M-Path into a “world-class park space providing recreation options in the heart of the urban core,” says the resolution.

Friends of the GreenLink is a non-profit with 501 (c)(3) status. The members share the common goal “of making our community more connected, beautiful, and healthy, while responsibly growing its future economic base.”

The friends group says its members include leaders in the county parks and transit departments, architects and urban planners, biking advocates, public relations and marketing experts, professionals in the legal and accounting fields, real estate developers and others.

The group said it is seeking funding from both the public and private sectors. Eventually the group hopes to create an endowment for ongoing maintenance and programming of the GreenLink.

Details: info@thegreenlink.org; the website is http://thegreenlink.org.

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US Century Bank says sale near http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/us-century-bank-says-sale-near/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/us-century-bank-says-sale-near/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24039 After several false starts, US Century Bank has a secure transaction in place with two parties and hopes to finalize a sale this fall, its CEO says. “We have to go through a few more steps: approval from our shareholders and finalize some steps with government regulators,” said CEO and President Carlos J. Davila. “When […]

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After several false starts, US Century Bank has a secure transaction in place with two parties and hopes to finalize a sale this fall, its CEO says.

“We have to go through a few more steps: approval from our shareholders and finalize some steps with government regulators,” said CEO and President Carlos J. Davila. “When the capital raise is completed, US Century will remain an independent, community bank and one of the few Hispanic-owned banks of this size in the country.”

For now, Mr. Davila told Miami Today, the price and names of the parties are confidential but he is very excited. He said the prospective buyers initiated contact with the bank.

“In my tenure here for the past two years, this is the first time we’ve gone out to the marketplace and tried to raise capital,” he said. “The bank tried to do it four years ago but that was when the economy was in a worse position.”

Mr. Davila said US Century felt the timing this year was good to go out to the marketplace and, with the bank having made a lot of improvements, it was in a secure place.

As a result, Mr. Davila said the bank received interest from about 10 parties.

Founded on Oct. 28, 2002, US Century is the 12th-largest bank in South Florida with 21 branches in Miami-Dade and one in Broward. As of March 31, the bank reported almost $1 billion in assets under management with $764 million in deposits and $706 million in loans originated.

The privately-owned community bank was a big hit when it was founded nearly 14 years ago by a largely Hispanic group of businessmen, including those with interests in construction and commercial real estate, and rode the crest of the real estate wave. When the wave broke, however, so did the bank’s fortunes as property values fell, construction came to a virtual halt and loans went bad.

In addition, US Century reportedly suffered an entanglement of “insider” lending to the bank’s officers and directors. In 2009, the bank received $50.2 million from the Trouble Asset Relief Program, the largest amount for any Florida bank from the federal program. In 2011, with US Century reported to be on the brink of failure, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in with an extensive consent order, demanding that the bank solve its problems.

Those were the conditions when Mr. Davila arrived in 2012, faced with the task of leading the bank out of trouble with its high level of nonperforming assets, heightened regulatory enforcement and the need to raise capital.

To date, US Century Bank has disposed of most of its troubled assets and restarted lending last year with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. The bank has added residential mortgage lending as well.

In April, Mr. Davila told Miami Today the roughly $50 million the bank was trying to raise was “the remaining step to put us in full compliance” with the consent order issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

He also applauded the appointment of R. Alex Acosta last December as chairman of the bank’s five-member board of directors and said the former US attorney for the Southern District of Florida and current dean of Florida International University’s College of Law has been intimately involved in working on the bank’s problems.

“We are confident that Dean Acosta’s regulatory experience, knowledge and guidance will be instrumental to the bank’s growth in the coming years as our local banking environment and economy continues to improve,” Mr. Davila said in April.

A deal originally announced in August 2012 to have C1 Bank, based on Florida’s West Coast, take over US Century in a merger fell apart that December.

Then last year, local businessmen Sergio Rok and Jimmy Tate tried to buy US Century Bank. Mr. Rok told Miami Today last week they decided not to go ahead at the beginning of 2014 because conditions they set weren’t met to their satisfaction.

Mr. Rok said it’s extremely unlikely that he or Mr. Tate will be looking to acquire a bank again, given the restrictive regulations in the industry, which he said diminish the chances of a successful enterprise.

“It’s difficult for small banks to operate profitably in this business climate and will be in the future,” he said. “Every year, the industry becomes more regulated and the requirements for small banks to meet conditions is an expensive proposition.”

While he never “says never,” Mr. Rok pointed out that he and Mr. Tate (along with Kenny Tate and Rialto Capital Management) purchased Bahia Mar Hotel and Marina in Fort Lauderdale on July 1 and “have a lot of work to do.”

Mr. Rok, president of Rok Enterprises Inc., is no stranger to banking, having been director of

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Roots of airport contract cheating reach back to county hall http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/roots-airport-contract-cheating-reach-back-county-hall/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/roots-airport-contract-cheating-reach-back-county-hall/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24023 In a dirty game, many of 400 to 500 firms holding contracts at Miami International Airport routinely underpay the county by as much as $3 million apiece. Now that Commissioner Dennis Moss has unveiled it in a meeting that Miami Today reported last week, commissioners should fix it. If they probe deep enough, they’ll confront […]

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In a dirty game, many of 400 to 500 firms holding contracts at Miami International Airport routinely underpay the county by as much as $3 million apiece.

Now that Commissioner Dennis Moss has unveiled it in a meeting that Miami Today reported last week, commissioners should fix it. If they probe deep enough, they’ll confront the nasty truth that some blame rests on them.

What auditors, inspectors and airport officials told commissioners is that 40% to 60% of airport concessionaires and other contract holders share a culture that until they’re caught they’ll never pay in full the percentage of their airport receipts that they owe government. About 10%, commissioners were told, commit outright fraud.

Commissioners were promised soon a tighter estimate of how much the county is due but never gets.

There’s no incentive to pay in full, auditors and inspectors told commissioners, because there’s no penalty. If caught, firms just pay what they hid.

Financial penalties in contracts, the officials said, aren’t enforced. Nor are concessionaires ejected for not paying. Criminal action is rare. It’s business as usual until you’re caught. Then it’s business as usual again.

The county lacks manpower to audit all concessionaires so it triages – high, medium or low risk. Even high-risk companies get audited only once each three to five years.

None of this appears to be laxity. It’s a combination of too few staff to dig into every single concessionaire and the sad fact that when cheaters are caught, they aren’t penalized.

The county wants to do more. Both the Inspector General and the Audit and Management Services Department have fulltime teams digging at the airport, at a cost of $840,000 a year. The airport itself just hired a second fraud specialist to oversee a handful of management firms.

Commissioners asked those involved if they needed more workers to ferret out cheats. They were told that the most cost-effective things the county can do is to crack down when cheaters are caught.

Nobody directly laid the problem at the commission’s doorstep – after all, the probers all work for the county – but they made clear that in the end it all comes back to the commission.

They talked about the county-owned airport hotel, where auditors found serious problems back in 2002. The auditors recommended that the management firm be terminated right then, said Cathy Jackson, who heads the Audit and Management Services Department.

“Why it was not terminated I don’t know,” she told the commission committee without further comment.

The fact is, aviation directors have all tried to oust that operator where the county lost money to fraud. Yet each time they brought the matter before commissioners they were rebuffed.

Now, Assistant Aviation Director Ken Pyatt told the committee last week, a new request for a hotel operator sits on the desk of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, just a dozen years after the trouble was uncovered. Will we finally change management by year 13?

One reason bad-apple firms feel comfortable is that their lobbyists get commissioners to keep them at the airport, underpayments or fraud notwithstanding.

Asked how to stop the corrupt cycle of underpay until you’re caught and do it again, Ms. Jackson said the county must firmly enforce penalties already in contracts and stop doing business with those who cheat.

“We need your support a little bit more in that area in terms of not just allowing them to have that lobbyist come and try to present a different case,” she said with about as much candor as a county employee can show to commissioners to tell them where the answer sits: on their doorstep.

Commissioners can set a policy that will not tolerate cheating. If they stick with it the county will indeed see revenues grow – and not just at the airport, if they broaden the policy to all with county concessions. The airport is today’s problem but others exist.

But as long as the commission has the last word on contracts and concessions, pressures will continue from those who both lobby for companies and fundraise for commissioners’ campaigns. Those pressures can keep a hotel operator on the job a dozen years after professionals decided to find a new operator.

For many reasons, it’s better to leave contracts to county professionals, not $6,000-a-year commissioners who might lack the expertise to dig into contracts but sure know who their friends and supporters are.

It’s not that commissioners want the county to lose money any more than the folks on the payroll do. It’s just that they face more pressure to skew their judgments.

Getting commissioners out of the contract game is a long-term fight. In the meantime, Mr. Moss’s committee will bore further into the issue. They should find simple steps to take now to limit airport losses.

First, get the estimate Ms. Jackson promised of how many companies underpay the airport by how much. That will make it clear whether the county can add profit by hiring more auditors and investigators to get look at more concessionaires.

Second, listen to Ms. Jackson, who suggested that delinquents pay in addition to what they shortchanged the airport an added 1% per month for every unpaid month. Since top risks are audited every three to five years, that could be 36% to 60% penalties for underreporting. To add teeth, compound the fine monthly. The airport says it collects every penny it bills, so it could bring in this extra cash.

Third, boot out firms that hide what they owe. Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said he’d give them one free pass after they pay up. But if underreporting is intentional, why keep a cheat around for a second try?

Fourth, prosecute true fraudsters. Go after them whether they have lobbyists or not.

If you audit more companies, make those who hide receipts pay, charge interest, boot out deliberate cheaters and prosecute lawbreakers, it’s a sure thing fewer will cheat, the “catch me if you can” culture will crumble and our growing airport will have more funds to meet its needs.

But to achieve all that, the spectacle of commissioners guided by lobbyists keeping bad actors on the airport’s stage must end. No employee will tell commissioners precisely that, but Ms. Jackson came close enough.

Commissioners, you have employees who want to do right by taxpayers. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, give them the tools to collect county bills and they’ll finish the job, to everyone’s benefit.

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Filming in Miami: September 11, 2014 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/filming-miami-september-11-2014/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/filming-miami-september-11-2014/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24019 These film permits were issued last week by the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, (305) 375-3288; the Miami Mayor’s Office of Film, Arts & Entertainment, (305) 860-3823; and the Miami Beach Office of Arts, Culture and Entertainment-Film and Print Division, (305) 673-7070.  SOUTH BEACH TOW PRODUCTIONS INC. LA. South Beach Tow. Miami […]

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These film permits were issued last week by the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, (305) 375-3288; the Miami Mayor’s Office of Film, Arts & Entertainment, (305) 860-3823; and the Miami Beach Office of Arts, Culture and Entertainment-Film and Print Division, (305) 673-7070. 

SOUTH BEACH TOW PRODUCTIONS INC. LA. South Beach Tow. Miami Beach citywide.

UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS INC. Miami. Despierta America. Collins Ave. /17th to 41st St., Miami Beach citywide.

LONELYLEAP LLC. Brooklyn. America Through Film. Countywide, Crandon Park Beach, Miami Beach citywide.

FLAMA MEDIA NETWORK LLC. NY. Left Unattended. Miami Beach citywide.

TELEMUNDO STUDIOS/NBC UNIVERSAL MEDIA LLC. Miami. Dueños del Paraiso. Port of Miami.

TELEMUNDO STUDIOS. Miami. Tierra de Reyes. Unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

THE BOLLOCKS PRODUCTION LLC. North Carolina. Stills for UK Editorial. Crandon Park Beach.

DAVID SEGUI PRODUCTION SERVICES. Miami Beach. Stills for Next Directory. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

GO SCOUT INC. Miami Beach. Stills for Roamans Catalog. Haulover Beach Park, Miami Beach citywide.

ERICKSON PRODUCTIONS. California. Stills for Humira Photoshoot. Miami-Dade County Transit.

 

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Higher interest likely, impact unsure http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/higher-interest-likely-impact-unsure/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/higher-interest-likely-impact-unsure/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24043 An increase in interest rates would have varying impacts in Miami-Dade County, experts say. A local mortgage-lending firm said that, overall, a hike in interest rates would be negative for mortgage lenders and borrowers and would hinder home appreciation. Local economists and bankers, on the other hand, said that a slight increase in interest rates […]

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An increase in interest rates would have varying impacts in Miami-Dade County, experts say.

A local mortgage-lending firm said that, overall, a hike in interest rates would be negative for mortgage lenders and borrowers and would hinder home appreciation. Local economists and bankers, on the other hand, said that a slight increase in interest rates would benefit some banks.

According to media reports, the federal funds rate could well rise in mid- to late-2015. But local experts say that might be too soon in light of current international issues, such as the unrest in the Middle East as well as the conflict in Ukraine.

“I think it gives the Federal Reserve more reason to be cautious and not raise interest rates too quickly,” said Richard Dailey, president and CEO of Apollo Bank.

In addition, the European Central Bank last week lowered interest rates. That might influence the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to raise interest rates.

In general, local experts said interest rates are likely to go up by the end of 2016.

But when interest rates increase is perhaps not as important as by how much and how quickly they rise.

“If for some reason they were going to skyrocket – and it’s going to take something extraordinary for that to happen – there’s going to be a negative impact on banks and borrowers,” Mr. Dailey said. “When they do go up slowly, everything will adjust.”

A high hike – about 3% – in interest rates over a year might have negative impacts because financial institutions and borrowers won’t be have time to adjust. A moderate increase – 0.5% to 1% – spread over a year would be generally beneficial to banks, Mr. Dailey said.

That’s because currently, it’s difficult for banks to earn money because interest rates are too low.

“When rates go up, it’s better for banks because they can charge higher rates on the loans but they don’t necessarily pay higher rates on deposits,” said Ken Thomas, a Miami-based bank consultant and economist.

And, he added, for the most part higher interest rates on loans won’t turn people away from borrowing. Even though the higher rates would increase monthly loan payments, people would still need to borrow money. That’s partially because South Florida is home to one of the nation’s strongest economies, Mr. Thomas said.

“Demand slows down but it’s still going to be there,” Mr. Thomas said. “The overall economy is growing quite well.… That means a lot of new businesses are seeking money.”

But that might not be the case with mortgage loans. According to John Cosculluela president of Miami Lakes-based mortgage lending firm American Bancshares, an increase in interest rates could potentially hinder demand for mortgages. That, in turn, would hinder home price appreciation, he added.

“An increase of interest rates is going to reduce a borrower’s purchasing power, which is going to reduce the monthly payment they can afford,” Mr. Cosculluela said. “It reduces the demand for a lender’s product, which usually results in lenders having to reduce their profit margins.”

An increase of 1% in interest rates for mortgages could make a difference for the average Miami-Dade County homeowner, Mr. Cosculluela said.

Here’s the extent of the impact according to his analysis: For a home valued at $222,800, the median value for Miami-Dade according to Zillow, the borrower currently pays a monthly mortgage of about $1,746 including escrow and insurance. That’s 43% of that homeowner’s monthly gross income assuming that the household income for that borrower is about $48,000, the current median for Miami-Dade. If interest rates rise by 1%, then 47% – instead of 43% – of the homeowner’s monthly gross income would be dedicated to mortgage payments.

“In many cases, that is the difference between loan denial and loan approval for the same house,” he said. “So what will that do to home price increases? It will stifle it.”

According to Mr. Cosculluela, the Federal Reserve won’t increase interest rates until inflation increases to more than 2.5% and unemployment decreases to less that 6.5% annually.

But, he added, “nothing is for sure. Right now, the economy isn’t really full steam ahead. It’s still puttering along.”

Added Mr. Dailey of Apollo Bank: “Everybody has been saying since 2010, ‘Hey, interest rates are going to be going up and they are going to go up fast.’ And it hasn’t happened. Here we are five years later and we are still talking about maybe they’ll go up next year.… Personally, I think they’ll go up in 2016.”

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Governments battle to control Dolphins stadium http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/governments-battle-control-dolphins-stadium/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/governments-battle-control-dolphins-stadium/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24029 As football teams battle it outinside Sun Life Stadium this season, another battle brews – this one for the stadium. At issue: Who should control zoning and permitting for the stadium and surrounding land, the City of Miami Gardens or Miami-Dade County? Sun Life Stadium is within Miami Gardens in Northwest Miami-Dade. When the city […]

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As football teams battle it outinside Sun Life Stadium this season, another battle brews – this one for the stadium.

At issue: Who should control zoning and permitting for the stadium and surrounding land, the City of Miami Gardens or Miami-Dade County?

Sun Life Stadium is within Miami Gardens in Northwest Miami-Dade. When the city incorporated in 2003, officials agreed the county and not the new city would keep jurisdiction over the 75,500-seat stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes.

For a while, Miami Gardens has said it’s time for the city to take zoning and permitting control of the stadium and surrounding land. The city has sued the county to gain that control, arguing that the city’s charter calls for transfer of control to the city at the end of 2012.

“I believe the city is entitled to process all zoning and all permitting over every inch of the city. None excluded,” Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III told county commissioners recently.

On Sept. 3, Miami Gardens gained yardage – but scored no touchdown. The county commission agreed Miami Gardens will control land surrounding the stadium. The city and the county are to sign an accord that would give Miami Gardens the right to issue building permits for land around the stadium.

“I think it’s progress, but we are not where we would like to be,” Mayor Gilbert told Miami Today.

County commissioners stopped short of approving a part of the resolution that called for keeping zoning and permitting control of the stadium with the county but giving the city the right to make recommendations to the county on future land-use applications for the stadium.

That proposal was a compromise for the city and the county, Mr. Gilbert said, because the city ultimately wants full control of the stadium.

“They [Miami Gardens] are not asking for anything any different than what has been given to the City of Miami with the Marlins Stadium and the AmericanAirlines Arena. Noting different,” said Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who sponsored the legislation.

Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa said the two cases are different. When the Marlins Stadium was built, Miami had already incorporated, she said. Sun Life Stadium was built in 1987, before Miami Gardens incorporated.

“It would be a retroactive kind of thing in this case,” Ms. Sosa said.

The battle over stadium land-use control comes shortly after the county agreed to pay incentives to the Dolphins’ owners for bringing major events, such as a Super Bowl, to the stadium. The Dolphins’ owners, who also own the stadium and surrounding properties, plan a $350 million stadium renovation.

Mr. Gilbert said the city doesn’t want to interrupt that agreement or the renovation process. But, he added, the city does want to carve out a final solution on stadium jurisdiction.

“Whether it’s this board coming to an agreement with their mayor and the city or whether it’s the court, there will be resolution to this matter. There has to be,” Mayor Gilbert said. “We would love not to fight. But we are prepared to.”

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FYI Miami: September 11, 2014 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/fyi-miami-september-11-2014/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/fyi-miami-september-11-2014/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24025 FARE-FREE NO MORE?: Metromover, the elevated train that circulates a 4.4-mile route in Miami’s urban core, is free of charge. But an ordinance change making its way through Miami-Dade County might change that. At their meeting last week, county commissioners preliminarily approved the amendment. The change says that the county can no longer use certain […]

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FARE-FREE NO MORE?: Metromover, the elevated train that circulates a 4.4-mile route in Miami’s urban core, is free of charge. But an ordinance change making its way through Miami-Dade County might change that. At their meeting last week, county commissioners preliminarily approved the amendment. The change says that the county can no longer use certain surtax proceeds to fund fare-free transportation on the Metromover. The commission approved the item 9-3 without much discussion with Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa and Commissioners Xavier Suarez and Bruno Barreiro voting ‘No.’ Next, a hearing on the change is due at the Oct. 15 Transportation & Aviation Committee meeting.

PUBLIX PROCESS: As far as Coral Gables officials know, Publix still plans to move forward with its proposed larger store and condominium tower on LeJeune Road but, since the first official step toward the development, there’s been no interaction between Publix and city departments this summer. During a Design Review Committee meeting May 30, city department representatives asked for a number of changes to the proposal – including further traffic studies, examining proper ventilation procedures for the 793-space garage and consideration of an entrance on Valencia Avenue – before Publix officials meet with the Board of Architects, the next step to approval. Publix has no scheduled meetings with city boards, according to Maria Higgins Fallon, city public affairs manager. Following a meeting with the Board of Architects, Publix must hold a neighborhood meeting before a hearing with Planning and Zoning.

CHINA CONSULATE: Miami-Dade commissioners gave final approval last week to a resolution that directs staff “to develop a plan” to get a Chinese consulate general to open in Miami. The ultimate purpose is to foster trade and tourism ties between Miami and China. Currently, a Chinese consulate in Houston has jurisdiction over South Florida. Commissioner Juan Zapata sponsored the initiative.

UM MILLER SCHOOL #2: UM’s Miller School of Medicine was ranked the No. 2 medical school in the US for Hispanic students in the Hispanic Business Magazine’s 2014 Diversity Report. The Miller School has been among the top five in the report since 2006. The ranking is based on the number of Hispanic students and faculty at a school as well as the number of programs in place to attract and retain Hispanic students. Other UM graduate schools also placed well in their fields. The School of Law was ranked No. 3 and the School of Business was ranked No. 8.

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Classified Ads http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/classified-ads-129/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2014/09/10/classified-ads-129/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=24017 Engineer III, HNTB Corp, Miami, Florida. ITS and. Traffic Engineering. Send resume to D. Harden,. 715 Kirk Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64105; refer to Job # 0814-10690 EOE.

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Engineer III, HNTB Corp, Miami, Florida. ITS and. Traffic Engineering. Send resume to D. Harden,. 715 Kirk Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64105; refer to Job # 0814-10690 EOE.

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