Miami Today http://www.miamitodaynews.com The Newspaper for the Future of Miami Wed, 27 May 2015 22:03:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.5 86-year-old bridge to be replaced http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/86-year-old-bridge-to-be-replaced/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/86-year-old-bridge-to-be-replaced/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:15:21 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27725 An 86-year-old drawbridge over the Miami River is due for a redo. The Southwest First Street Bridge carries eastbound traffic into the heart of downtown. The bascule bridge rises and opens to permit water traffic to pass. More than 8,500 cars a day traverse the span, owned and operated by the Florida Department of Transportation. […]

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An 86-year-old drawbridge over the Miami River is due for a redo.

The Southwest First Street Bridge carries eastbound traffic into the heart of downtown. The bascule bridge rises and opens to permit water traffic to pass.

More than 8,500 cars a day traverse the span, owned and operated by the Florida Department of Transportation. But the bridge is considered structurally deficient.

State officials have been meeting with Miami officials on the fate of the bridge, which is scheduled for replacement.

Most recently, the status of the transportation department’s plans were discussed May 18 by the Urban Infill and Greenways Subcommittee of the Miami River Commission.

Work to replace the bridge is set to begin in 2018 and be done in 2021. A project list from the state shows the estimated cost of replacing the bridge is $86,962,459.

The bridge was completed in 1929 at a cost of $300,000.

River commission officials learned that the state is through the Project Development & Environment phase and on to preliminary engineering.

Original plans called for the public riverwalk under the new bridge to be not at the river’s edge – the location the river commission prefers – but away from the water and along South River Drive and North River Drive.

Subcommittee members were generally happy to learn the current plan shows the riverwalk on the water’s edge.

Co-chair Jim Murley said the new design sounded good but he wanted more details. No renderings were presented at the meeting.

Some concern was expressed because the state’s planned riverwalk is very narrow in spots and somewhat secluded from the street.

The state may also be considering reducing driving lanes on the new bridge from the present four to three, and perhaps adding a bike lane.

Those matters are expected to be discussed when a transportation department representative meets with the river commission June 1.

Mr. Murley is also pushing for public art or large murals under the new bridge.

The bridge is one of several bascule bridges on the Miami River.

The book “Historical Highway Bridges of Florida” says after a successful $2.15 million bond election in 1926, Miami made plans to construct five bridges over the river to facilitate expansion to the south and west of downtown.

“As a navigable waterway, often crowded in those days with vessels hauling supplies into the city, the river required movable spans,” reads the book, published in 2004 by the transportation department’s Environmental Management Office.

The drawbridges on the river – and more directly, the openings of those bridges for water traffic – have been a hot topic in recent years as traffic gridlock in Miami worsens.

The traffic back-ups associated with the opening of the Brickell Avenue Bridge have caused radiators to overheat and tempers to flame.

The added congestion that results from opening that bridge has led to a renewed call to bore a tunnel under the river so vehicular traffic on Brickell Avenue can move unimpeded.

City Commissioner Francis Suarez recently revived the idea, and the river commission unofficially lent its backing.

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Give us rail, not buses, South Dade pleads http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/give-us-rail-not-buses-south-dade-pleads/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/give-us-rail-not-buses-south-dade-pleads/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:10:15 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27742 Multiple government agencies have failed to provide vital promised rail transportation to the southern end of Miami-Dade County, the Metropolitan Planning Organization was told last week, virtually cutting residents off from amenities the rest of the county enjoys. “Upward mobility is under attack due to the commute time,” said state Rep. Kionne McGhee, whose district […]

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Multiple government agencies have failed to provide vital promised rail transportation to the southern end of Miami-Dade County, the Metropolitan Planning Organization was told last week, virtually cutting residents off from amenities the rest of the county enjoys.

“Upward mobility is under attack due to the commute time,” said state Rep. Kionne McGhee, whose district is in the south county.

The population of South Dade is forecast to grow 40% by 2040, Rep. McGhee said, faster than anywhere else in the county, yet plans for rail links to the south seem to be off the table – links that he said were promised in 2002 when county voters passed a half percent surtax on sales to grow transportation infrastructure.

While he told the planning organization – which is responsible for planning any transportation measures that receive federal funding – that he understands the frustration in the north part of the county as well as in the east and west over lack of rail links, more than 250,000 people in South Dade are being left out of rail planning.

Planning organization board member Dennis Moss, who is a county commissioner from South Dade, heard Rep. McGhee’s plea and answered quickly: “I rest my case.”

Despite funding problems, Mr. Moss said, “We’ve got to find a way to build the particular projects…. If we’re going to make this work we’ve got to figure out a financial plan that will make this work…. The [bus rapid transit expansion] measures that are on the table are not enough to do all the things we’ve promised.”

Sue Ellen Loyzelle, a Town of Cutler Bay councilwoman, told the planning organization board that she commutes two hours to work morning and again at night and there is no way that she can use public transportation to take that trip. “Remember us down in the south,” she pleaded.

Mr, McGhee called the lack of a funded rail system plan for South Dade a “breach of trust.” He focused on the new museums and cultural institutions in the county that South Dade residents would attend if they had transportation to get there, helping low-income residents move up the ladder.

In South Dade, he told the board, the average resident who works 250 days a year spends $3,200 a year on transportation, yet the median income in Florida City is only $24,674 a year, so it can’t just be business as usual where transportation in South Dade is concerned.

South Dade residents, he said, are still paying the county’s transportation surtax, which has brought in $2.5 billion so far, yet they have not received their promised transportation.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization, he said, is “continually waiting for the federal government to give us marching orders.”

County hall, he added, continues to try to figure out which section of the county should receive its fair share of a rail link.

And the state’s legislative delegation, of which he is a member, seems united at home but divided once it gets to Tallahassee, he said.

“We need the Metrorail expansion,” Rep. McGhee said. Bus Rapid Transit “cannot solve this issue…. Put this item back on the table. Don’t lock our people down south out of this equation.”

“How do we find a way to work together?” responded board member Rebeca Sosa, a county commissioner. “We used to receive a lot of funding from the federal government. We used to receive a fair share from Tallahassee. We’re not getting that anymore and we need it. The only way we’re going to be able to do it is if we work together.”

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Four 60-story riverfront towers move ahead http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/four-60-story-riverfront-towers-move-ahead/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/four-60-story-riverfront-towers-move-ahead/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:05:19 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27736 A large project planned for riverfront property adjacent to I-95 would bring more than 1,600 residential units to Miami. These new residences would make up the bulk of four 60-story towers, the heart of a mixed-use development named after the body of water it embraces: Miami River. Along with its size – it is to […]

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A large project planned for riverfront property adjacent to I-95 would bring more than 1,600 residential units to Miami.

These new residences would make up the bulk of four 60-story towers, the heart of a mixed-use development named after the body of water it embraces: Miami River.

Along with its size – it is to be built in five phases – this project stands out because the City of Miami is a partner.

As part of a proposed Special Area Plan under the Miami 21 zoning code, Jose Marti Park would become a part of Miami River.

What it means is an extension of the public riverwalk westerly and under I-95, and improvements to the city park. A deal struck with the developer, CG Miami River LLC, also ensures the public riverwalk will be extended east under the Second Avenue Bridge and past neighboring condo tower Latitude on the River.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board recently recommended approval of the large mixed-use project.

At completion of all five phases, Miami River would include about 1,678 residential units, 330 hotel rooms, retail and office space, a riverfront restaurant, a new seawall with about 19 boat slips, and a public landscaped riverwalk the full length of the property.

The plan calls for one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The development is planned for a three-block area bordered on the north by the river, on the south by Southwest Seventh Street, on the west by Southwest Third Avenue, and on the east by Southwest Second Avenue.

Melissa Tapanes Llahues, an attorney representing the developer, said the project is designed to “celebrate” the river, as a natural resource and economic engine.

She told the review board this public-private partnership will transform the area with a pedestrian-focused project that will “connect to the energy of downtown.”

The partnership would mix about 6.2 acres of private land with about 4 acres of park property.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the development will result in significant improvements to I-95, Southwest Seventh Street and Southwest Third Avenue.

Architect Kobi Karp described some of the concepts behind the project. He said they took inspiration from the river to create an urban fabric, and “we want to make the river our front yard.”

Miami River will offer numerous access points to the riverfront, he said, along with adding a new stretch of riverwalk that will connect the site to Brickell and beyond.

Circulation for pedestrians will include many ground-level walkways and sidewalks, and bridges will connect the four towers, Mr. Karp said.

He said the developer plans to be ready to submit all phases to city planners within six months.

Board members praised the emphasis on a pedestrian-friendly streetscape.

One board member did take exception to changes planned for Jose Marti Park.

Gerald C. Marston said that past work done in the park was the result of a design competition years ago, and the park facilities were to reflect traditional Cuban architecture.

Investing development dollars in public improvements is a wonderful thing, he said, but to make changes at the park would be a mistake.

“I’m disappointed the city is encouraging that,” Mr. Marston said. “It should be its own entity, not part of your streetscape,” he told the developer.

A representative for the developer said the park is a bit of a shambles due to lack of attention over the years, and the planned improvements “are being very much directed by city staff.”

Plans also call for added security and policing at the park.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the city’s parks advisory board is also involved in the renovation planned for the park.

Mr. Karp said original designs will be incorporated into improvements at the park, and the developer will be sensitive to the park’s historical significance.

Some board members like the phasing. “The approach is solid and I like it,” said Jesus A. Permuy.

Board member Dean Lewis complimented the developer on a “great achievement,” saying that gathering together eight parcels and connecting to the park is “commendable.”

Board member Fidel Perez tried unsuccessfully to advance a plan that removed a three-story triangular structure close to I-95 to create a larger open space.

Ms. Tapanes Llahues said the developer believes that structure to be very significant to the project as it will house retail uses, entertainment and restaurants.

The recommended approval from the review board has conditions, including that the developer must submit a traffic study and that final design plans for improvements to the park must be brought before the board.

In consideration for increased density and other items, the developer plans more than $21 million in improvements or cash payments as a public benefit portion of the project. Those improvements could be work on the park and riverwalk.

Current zoning of the site limits density to 200 residential units per acre, which would allow a little more than 800 units.

To get the added density, the developer is seeking a Special Area Plan, which is in effect a rezoning.

The purpose of a Special Area Plan is to allow parcels greater than 9 abutting acres to be master planned to allow greater integration of public and private improvements and infrastructure.

In order to make the 9 acre minimum, the developer and city plan a public-private partnership that includes a portion of the adjacent park.

In October, the Miami River Commission reviewed the proposal and approved a motion urging the city commission to approve the Special Area Plan with three conditions: make certain that the more than $21 million in public benefit results in improvements within the river district; the developer agrees to build and improve the public riverwalk east under the Second Avenue Bridge if Latitude on the River fails to do so; and the developer, as part of phase I, commits $5.5 million to be held in trust to ensure construction of the riverwalk if the riverfront phase II is not constructed.

Special Area Plans require the approval of the city commission, yet to occur for this project.

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Wynwood district tries to expand http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/wynwood-district-tries-to-expand/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/wynwood-district-tries-to-expand/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:01:45 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27738 The push continues to expand the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) by pushing out the boundaries slightly but also by including more properties that are already within its geographic area. If the drive succeeds, 130 more businesses might join. “It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Albert Garcia, BID director and chief operating officer of […]

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The push continues to expand the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) by pushing out the boundaries slightly but also by including more properties that are already within its geographic area. If the drive succeeds, 130 more businesses might join.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Albert Garcia, BID director and chief operating officer of Mega Shoes. “We are reaching out to owners who were not included in the first round but want to have the services.”

When the district was founded almost three years ago, owners could vote to tax themselves to be included. Then, it was an unknown quantity, but now it has been hailed as a success. “We feel that this is the time to expand,” Mr. Garcia said.

For the expansion to be approved, 51% of proposed new owners must vote in favor of the measure. The Miami City Commission then must amend the district’s enabling ordinance, but that is seen as a formality.

A map of properties within the district “is porous, like Swiss cheese,” said board member David Polinsky, who is a principal of 250 Wynwood and a member of the district’s planning committee, when the expansion was proposed earlier this year.

The district now comprises 50 square blocks stretching from Northwest 20th to 29th streets, from North Miami Avenue west to Northwest Fifth Avenue. The plan would push the western boundary to Northwest Sixth Avenue and the eastern line to the Florida East Coast Railway tracks, which meander to the northeast diagonally through the district from North Miami Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue. The newly configured BID would include both sides of Northwest 20th and 29th streets.

Tom Curitore, BID executive director, has said that his office frequently receives calls for services from property owners and tenants who are not members.

“The expansion would allow more efficient service delivery,” Mr. Garcia said. Members of the group have spoken with neighboring business owners and operators who are interested in joining. It’s hoped that a ballot will be drawn up this summer.

“We’ve received overwhelmingly positive support,” Mr. Garcia said, “which is a testament to the success we’ve had.”

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Why parochialism trumps everything in local governments http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/why-parochialism-trumps-everything-in-local-governments/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/why-parochialism-trumps-everything-in-local-governments/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:57 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27712 When our commissioners battle parochially, it’s not good guys vs. bad guys. Because each wins office via geographic voting, they face a dysfunctional dilemma about how to serve the public. Assuming that they’re trying to do their best, commissioners elected from single-member districts face four possible choices: • Act for my district. • Act for the people […]

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When our commissioners battle parochially, it’s not good guys vs. bad guys. Because each wins office via geographic voting, they face a dysfunctional dilemma about how to serve the public.

Assuming that they’re trying to do their best, commissioners elected from single-member districts face four possible choices:

• Act for my district.

• Act for the people who helped elect me.

• Act for the whole community.

• Act as my brain and conscience dictate.

All of these are valid ways of looking at how to serve, write legislation and vote. But some, to corrupt a line from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” are far more valid than others.

Representative government works best when elected officials trust their conscience on what will best serve the whole community. It stumbles when they divvy up the pie so that each district’s share is equal, regardless of whether that is the smartest use of limited resources.

And it works absolutely worst when commissioners not only divvy up the pie by district but then try to erect walls around their districts and take control of whatever goes on inside those walls, telling other commissioners: keep out, this is mine.

That’s when commissioners on the dais talk about being collegial – a code word for keeping out of someone else’s territory and splitting the pot of resources equally rather than intelligently.

When commissioners are at their most parochial, they say they were elected to look out for their district, that that’s what the voters had in mind when they went to the polls – as though commissioners could read minds.

While all this sounds theoretical, it plays out poorly in practice.

As county commissioners last week discussed raising fees to use land beside American Airlines Arena that serves Miami Heat entities, Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, whose district bulges out to encompass the site, said that the plan sponsored by Juan Zapata would impact county property within her district and she should get deference to decide because it’s a local matter, not countywide.

“If this goes through,” she said, “then I think each one of us will now have to worry about each other crossing the lines and coming in and just doing what they want to do in everybody’s district. This is disrespectful.”

Out of respect for district lines or for whatever reason, commissioners did not raise the Miami Heat’s bill.

The week before, Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, who represents Little Havana, sought a city trolley route in his own district but suggested that it extend into the middle of Flagami, which is in Francis Suarez’s district.

Mr. Carollo had gone to a senior center in Mr. Suarez’s district to build support for trolleys there. Mr. Suarez said he was “shocked,” that he should have been consulted first “in the spirit of collaboration” because “you’re splitting Flagami in two.”

Responded Mr. Carollo: “I’m saddened that you feel this way because there was no ill intent on it. Yes, it will cross district lines. It may have three district lines.”

In the end, the other commissioners voted to keep the service mostly in Mr. Carollo’s district.

Transportation choices often are based on whose district will get served. Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto made the point clearly in a debate over small circulator buses late in 2012, after transit officials said that adding more extremely local circulators would take money that could build countywide transportation.

“We are first and foremost elected by single-member districts,” Mr. Souto argued in saying the circulator buses should come first. “This is not being parochial. It’s being representative of our district. We have to take care of the districts we represent… We’re not getting the fair share of what we have to get…. My community is not being served well…. My people vote…. We are second-class citizens.”

Other people, he said, “have all kinds of transportation and we don’t.”

So, are commissioners wrong in arguing that taking care of their districts comes first and others should keep out? Of course, we’d be better served if commissioners were looking out for the entire community, but we constructed voting so as to give commissioners every incentive to be parochial – that’s how they get votes.

As the National League of Cities puts it in analyzing government formats, “councils elected by district elections may experience more infighting and be less likely to prioritize the good of the city over the good of their district.”

But if we don’t elect from districts, how can we be certain that special areas and their minorities are represented?

The answer is simple: maintain current districts, with candidates coming from them, but vote on those candidates citywide or countywide. Commissioners would still represent districts, but to be elected they would face all the voters, which would reduce parochialism.

Statesmanship is rare, but if we are ever to see commissions think area wide and plan ahead, the only hope is to use brain and conscience for the common good – and our single-member system works against that.

Such change requires government charter reform. As it happens, Miami Commissioner Suarez is at this moment heading a review of Miami’s charter – an ideal time for an upgrade.

Reform of the district system won’t guarantee better local government. But not reforming guarantees that we won’t get better.

Parochialism may be a valid choice – but it’s not a good choice.

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Filming in Miami: May 28, 2015 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/filming-in-miami-may-28-2015/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/filming-in-miami-may-28-2015/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:52 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27714 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.  NOISEWORKS MEDIA. Coral Gables. Pasteur Medical. Rock Ridge Park. STINK […]

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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. 

NOISEWORKS MEDIA. Coral Gables. Pasteur Medical. Rock Ridge Park.

STINK USA. Santa Monica. NRG. Miami International Airport, Ranch location TBD.

N2 PRODUCTIONS. Miami. BMK. Port of Miami – Old Port Bridge.

SOAH FILMS LLC. Coral Gables. ITT Tech-Spring 2015. 140 Building – Metro Flagler Building.

REVOLUTION. Virginia. Tour America – Miami. Somerset Academy SOMI.

TELEMUNDO STUDIOS/NBC UNIVERSAL MEDIA LLC. Miami. Dueños del Paraiso. Swale Parking.

44 BLUE PRODUCTIONS INC. California. Tentatively Rock and a Hard Place. Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

TVM PRODUCTIONS INC., Fort Lauderdale. Graceland. 140 Building – Metro Flagler Building.

MULTICANAL IBERIA SLU. Spain. De Compras en Miami. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

HIGH NOON PRODUCTIONS LLC. Denver. Quinces. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide, Unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

51 MINDS ENT. California. She’s Got Game. Miami Beach citywide.

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

VICE MEDIA. NY. Noisey World. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

SWIMWEAR ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA. Miami. SwimShow 2015 Sneak Peak. Crandon Park Beach.

RAIN MEDIA INC. NY. Last Days of Drug Wars. Dade County Courthouse.

PARAGON PRODUCTIONS SERVICES. Miami Beach. Stills for 3 People. Miami Beach citywide.

2 D PHOTO PRODUCTIONS. NY. Stills for American Express Centurion MIA. Miami International Airport.

N HOUSE PRODUCTIONS. Miami. Stills for Next. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEPUHL. Miami. Stills for Arm Pocket Running Photo Shoot. William Powell Bridge Turnaround.

SELECT SERVICES INC. Miami. Stills for Michino. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

HARBOUR FILMS. Miami. Stills for EVA SWIM. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide.

OVERFLOW PRODUCTIONS INC. Orlando. Stills for Overflow Productions editorial shoot. Haulover Beach Park.

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FYI Miami: May 28, 2015 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/fyi-miami-may-28-2015/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/fyi-miami-may-28-2015/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:50 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27722 DOLPHIN STATION, 2017: A new park-and-ride facility will open to west Miami-Dade residents in 2017. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) approved a planning and environmental study May 19 for the park and ride, using a $300,000 Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant. The proposed new transit hub, which will be known as Dolphin Station, is planned […]

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DOLPHIN STATION, 2017: A new park-and-ride facility will open to west Miami-Dade residents in 2017. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) approved a planning and environmental study May 19 for the park and ride, using a $300,000 Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant. The proposed new transit hub, which will be known as Dolphin Station, is planned on land owned by MDX and FDOT at the interchange of the Dolphin Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike. It will serve the Dolphin Mall and the adjacent cities of Sweetwater and Doral. Once it’s is completed, Miami-Dade Transit will operate and maintain the facility. Almost a year ago, county commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Javier D. Souto sponsored legislation for the bus rapid transit system and made it a top priority at the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization.

KENDALL PARK-AND-RIDE: A 180-space park-and-ride lot for patrons of the Kendall Cruiser bus service could be open in January 2017 after Miami-Dade commissioners voted 11-0 to approve an agreement for the Florida Department of Transportation to pay half the cost of the $1.75 million project on Florida Power & Light-owned property on Southwest 127th Avenue near Kendall Drive. The county would pay its half of the cost with funds from the half percent sales surtax for transportation projects.

BRAZIL MISSION: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s AmericasLinkage program is to visit Brazil, the nation with Latin America’s largest economy, June 15-19. Participants on AmericasLinkage trade missions pay their own ways to meet with business and government executives. The flights booked through American Airlines are 30% off in business class, 35% off in coach, available from June 10-23. Registration fees of $600 for members and $750 for others do not include hotel bookings. Details: Liane Ventura, (305) 577-5445.

OPA-LOCKA EXPANDING: Turnberry Airport Holdings LLC is to construct at least 85,000 square feet of aircraft storage and service hangars at Opa-locka Executive Airport under a revised lease agreement with the county that Miami-Dade commissioners approved 11-0. The company is to build two 30,000-square-foot hangars and a 25,000-square-foot three-story building for general aviation operations and also eight acres of ramp space at the county-owned airport. The company has already invested $22 million at the site based on a loan from Florida Community Bank, and intends to invest another $17 million for the new facilities.

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Apartment tower to link booming districts http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/apartment-tower-to-link-booming-districts/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/apartment-tower-to-link-booming-districts/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:27 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27740 Site work has commenced on a transitional project set to bring nearly 200 rental apartments and new retail shops to Miami as it connects Midtown with the Design District. The neighboring Wynwood Arts District is also listed as playing a role in the design concepts employed for District 36. The 19-story tower, rising on a […]

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Site work has commenced on a transitional project set to bring nearly 200 rental apartments and new retail shops to Miami as it connects Midtown with the Design District.

The neighboring Wynwood Arts District is also listed as playing a role in the design concepts employed for District 36.

The 19-story tower, rising on a vacant lot at 3635 NE First Ave., is to feature 195 rental apartments, 61,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the first and second levels, four floors of enclosed parking, plus an amenity and pool deck.

The retail space on the ground level will be designed with up-lit storefronts to encourage pedestrian flow and link these two highly active areas of the city, according to the developer, MREG NE36.

“District 36’s ideal location will serve to unite two of Miami’s most dynamic neighborhoods,” said architect Jonathan Cardello, senior principal, ADD Inc., now with Stantec. “We are extremely pleased to be part of such an exciting new venture.”

The Design District and Wynwood inspired the city-chic interior design concept of the building, said Mr. Cardello. Urban elements will be combined with modern design to create a stylish yet sophisticated environment, he said.

The lobby’s interiors will feature contrasting cream and black stones and art installations behind the reception desk to create a dramatic entrance, said the architect. Design details such as metal chains, custom color rugs, stone-patterned walls, glistening custom art and sleek pendants add to the city-chic design, he said.

This design concept is seamlessly woven into the interiors, amenity floor and pool deck, Mr. Cardello said.

The targeted completion date is October 2016.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board had deferred action on the project in December 2014, after some members voiced concerns about parking.

The developer earned a positive recommendation from the board the following month, after members were convinced ample parking would be provided.

District 36 is designed with a parking garage providing 422 spaces. The developer gained approval to reduce required parking by up to 10%, a reduction of about 50 spaces. Other waivers include allowing one industrial-size loading berth instead of two commercial-size loading berths, and allowing parking above the second story.

District 36 is considered a connector project because it is on the northern end of Midtown just south of I-195 and the Design District, and close to Wynwood.

Attorney Iris Escarra, representing the developer, had argued the project could make do with the reduced parking because it is near the Design District, where lead developer Dacra is building multiple parking structures, and because the site is near public transportation.

Mr. Cardello argued that the project’s central location, where multiple interesting destinations can be reached on foot, encourages walking.

District 36 is to include one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The L-shaped building is to be positioned on the site in an effort to keep most of the square footage away from the highway.

The south elevation is to have continuous retail uses, which then will wrap around the corner of Northeast 36th Street and First Avenue.

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Franz Hall: Expanding Jamaica’s business ties with the region http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/franz-hall-expanding-jamaicas-business-ties-with-the-region/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/franz-hall-expanding-jamaicas-business-ties-with-the-region/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:17 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27719 Consul General Franz Hall has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 23 years, assigned to various locations. He discovered that while he may have particular ideas about places before arriving, he needed to take the first few months to learn the new location and then set goals. Mr. Hall has been serving as Jamaican […]

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Consul General Franz Hall has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 23 years, assigned to various locations. He discovered that while he may have particular ideas about places before arriving, he needed to take the first few months to learn the new location and then set goals.

Mr. Hall has been serving as Jamaican consul general in Miami for almost a year and a half. Once he established “realities on the ground,” he set a number of goals, including making connections with the large Jamaican population in South Florida as well as with 12 other southern states for which the consulate is accredited.

It’s extremely important to Mr. Hall to communicate that Jamaica is more than a tourist destination. He cites opportunities for trade, for investment and to have a vibrant commercial relationship with the US.

So – in between the hours he spends supervising the consulate directly, traveling to meet people in his vast territory and participating in community events – Mr. Hall partners with the Jamaica US Chamber of Commerce and reaches out through conferences such as the upcoming Sixth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference and various campaigns to make sure business is generated for Jamaica.

Miami Today reporter Susan Danseyar interviewed Mr. Hall in the Jamaican Consulate in downtown Miami. 

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Entrepreneurs get hand growing profits http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/entrepreneurs-get-hand-growing-profits/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/05/26/entrepreneurs-get-hand-growing-profits/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 03:00:14 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=27734 As CEO of a new company, Michael McCord felt he was trying to do everything but not performing well enough until he was advised through his association with Endeavor Miami that using his unique talents was the better approach. Today, Mr. McCord is no longer a “jack of all trades and master of none” for […]

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As CEO of a new company, Michael McCord felt he was trying to do everything but not performing well enough until he was advised through his association with Endeavor Miami that using his unique talents was the better approach.

Today, Mr. McCord is no longer a “jack of all trades and master of none” for LearnerNation, the software performance optimization company he established with partners in January 2012. He attributes learning the important lesson of how to scale, along with countless instances of invaluable assistance, to the mentors he meets through this first US affiliate of Endeavor Global Inc., a worldwide non-profit that aims to transform economies by nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship.

Endeavor Miami, headquartered in Coral Gables, launched in September 2013 after the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation had the idea to bring a branch of the global organization to South Florida and provided a $2 million grant to get it started.

“It’s important to build a network for entrepreneurs to succeed and foster the next generation,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation. He said Endeavor Miami is boosting the city’s emerging community of entrepreneurs and innovators.

Mr. Haggman is particularly pleased with Endeavor’s nine-member board of directors for members’ experience, participation helping connect and support Miami’s entrepreneurial community and rich cultural diversity.

He pointed to the countries represented on the board and managing director post: Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico.

Endeavor’s model has been proven successful, with entrepreneurs seeing significant job and revenue growth through its support, Mr. Haggman said.

There are 1,082 Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world, representing 684 countries in 23 markets, said Laura Maydon, the managing director of Endeavor Miami. The Miami chapter currently has eight, representing diverse companies, and is looking for even more variety, she said, in health care, medical devices and fashion or creative industries.

It’s vital to put South Florida entrepreneurs in touch with mentors who can help them think bigger, refine their business plans, gain access to capital and multiply their influence, Ms. Maydon said.

The most important objective is that the entrepreneurs stay here, create jobs and – ultimately – inspire others, she said.

“The mentors provide focus, confidence and the understanding you’re not alone,” said Mr. McCord, who became an Endeavor Entrepreneur in August 2014. His line of work is essentially solitary, Mr. McCord said, and mentors showed him a path to follow where he didn’t have to “bottle up” but could connect with people for discussion.

The designation is awarded after a rigorous selection process that takes four months to a year, said Greg Rothman, manager of entrepreneur selection and growth for the Miami chapter.

He said the candidates undergo an initial discussion with Endeavor Miami staffers who determine if the entrepreneur is a business leader and works for an enterprise ($1 million and over) already in the market wanting to scale (i.e., creating more jobs or extending wealth), and at an inflection point of making strategic decisions such as whether to expand internationally or go deeper domestically.

“Our mission is to look for high-impact entrepreneurs who can take their companies to the next level of success and build an ecosystem,” Ms. Maydon said. “Endeavor has proven entrepreneurs create a multiplier effect and help grow the community.”

Should staff members feel a candidate meets criteria, they arrange second-opinion reviews with up to six panelists who are either members of the board of Endeavor Miami or part of its member network, including industry leaders or venture capitalists who have usually exited their businesses. After a number of meetings that include review and feedback, those who are accepted by the panels move on to an international panel where they meet with six business leaders from around the world.

“You don’t realize the magnitude of Endeavor until you go and see the global reach,” said Scott Harris, president and CEO of Deliver Lean, a 3-year-old business that cooks and delivers all-natural, portion-controlled meals to companies daily. He became an Endeavor Entrepreneur in October 2014, and said going through the selection process was a self-reflective experience that created a lot of thought.

“There’s no roadmap for navigating through business that’s changing by the minute,” Mr. Harris said. “You can’t put a price tag on leaders of corporations sharing their insights.”

He said being an Endeavor Entrepreneur gives him access to people he might otherwise never meet and he has already learned a tremendous amount, including which was the right software development company for his business.

“Endeavor is a sounding board,” Mr. Harris said. “It gives you access to brilliant minds that have been through what we’re experiencing.”

Mr. McCord said as an Endeavor Entrepreneur, he receives help in the best way possible. “There’s so much out there on a global scale that can connect you,” he said. “This opens your mind, your world, and it’s through real life experience – not a book.”

Details: www.endeavormiami.org

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