Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
EXPO IN NAME: Miami city commissioners are expected to discuss today (1/24) renaming the Coconut Grove Convention Center the Coconut Grove Expo Center in an effort to redefine the venue's mission. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau two months ago released a study about convention space in Miami-Dade and recommended focusing the center on community and entertainment events to become more of a festival hall for local residents.
BOND TEAM: Miami commissioners and the mayor are also expected today (1/24) to appoint members to the Florida Economic Development Financing Authority, a seven-member group that would have the power to issue low-interest rate bonds to finance development. Commissioner Tomas Regalado is the only one who has already made an appointment - he selected Mercedes Lopez Cisneros back in October. Miami Assistant City Manager Robert Nachlinger said members could meet right away to set a meeting schedule. City commissioners began considering such an authority in last May.
ECONOMIC SPEAKERS: Kathleen B. Cooper, US Department of Commerce under secretary for economic affairs, and Hector Barreto, US Small Business Administration administrator, are keynote speakers at the Miami-Dade's economic summit from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday in the American Airline Arena. The event is to explore ways to strengthen and diversify the local economy through presentations, panel discussions and workshops. Cost is $25. Details (305) 375-1545.
TAXING RACE: Thomas Logue, Miami-Dade assistant county attorney and a property tax specialist, said the county would know by August if it would charge property taxes to Miami in 2003 for leasing Bayfront Park, a city owned park, to Raceworks, a for-profit group, for a Grand Prix of the Americas race April 5-7. The Florida Supreme Court last year ruled a municipality that leases its venues to for-profits is subject to property assessments. Mr. Logue said many things would need to be taken into account before deciding if the lease between the city and Raceworks makes the property taxable.
ECUADOR BUSINESS: A group of international trade promoters are holding a seminar and luncheon to discuss business opportunities with Ecuador at 10 a.m. Friday in the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, 1395 NW 57th Ave. The Florida Foreign Trade Association, Miami International Trade Board, the US Commercial Service of the US Department of Commerce, the Consulate of the Republic of Ecuador Enterprise Florida and the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association are co-sponsors. Cost is $30; $25 for members. Details (305) 471-0737.
EURO START: The Miami European Union Center and the consuls general of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the British Consul and chambers of commerce representing France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are presenting a seminar on "The Euro: Europe's Common Currency" at 10 a.m. Friday in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Organizers said the session would focus on such issues as the euro's impact on businesses and consumers, likely consequences for the US and Latin America, and the growing political and economic integration of Europe. Scheduled speakers include Hugh Simon, Florida under secretary of state for international affairs, and Victor Balestra of Espiritu Santo Bank Miami. Cost is $35. Details: (305) 446-1992.
CENTER BOARD: The Performing Art Center Foundation added six to its 45-member board of directors. Newly appointed are UM President Donna Shalala; Sheila Broser, a board member for the New World Symphony; Howard Herring, president and CEO of the New World Symphony; Jane A. Robinson, vice president of the Florida Grand Opera's board; Sherry Spalding-Fardie, founder and principal of the Spalding Financial Group, and F. Gary Thacker, principal in charge for Thacker Operating Co.
RIVER CIRCLE: The Miami River Commission's Greenways Subcommittee meets at 9 a.m. today (1/24) in the Library Map Room at the UM Rosenstiel School, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy. The agenda calls for a discussion of the Miami River Commission's Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Recreational Trails Program grant application to fund the Miami River Greenway adjacent to the 2000-year-old "Miami Circle." Details: (305) 361-4850.
EURO START: The Miami European Union Center and the consuls general of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the British Consul and chambers of commerce representing France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are presenting a seminar on "The Euro: Europe's Common Currency" Friday in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Organizers said the session would focus on such issues as the euro's impact on businesses and consumers, likely consequences for the US and Latin America, and the growing political and economic integration of Europe. Scheduled speakers include Hugh Simon, Florida under secretary of state for international affairs, and Victor Balestra of Espiritu Santo Bank Miami. Cost is $35. Details: (305) 446-1992.
FAIRCHILD SHOW: Fairchild Tropical Garden is presenting a Valentine's Day Moonlight Musicale, "Embraceable You: An evening with George, Fats, Cole and Jerome" at 7 p.m. Feb. 14 on the Garden House Lawnon the Garden House Lawnon the Garden House Lawnon the Garden House Lawn. Pianist and host Paul Posnak, along with his rhythm section and jazz vocalist, will be performing romantic favorites, organizers said. Guests are asked to bring a blanket for seating and a picnic basket to enjoy dinner on the lawn before the show. A light supper will be available from Cafe Tu Tu Tango. Cost is $40; $30 for members. Details: (305) 667-1651, ext. 3350.
SOUTH AFRICAN LINK: A former training director for the Miami-Dade Transit Agency and an attorney announced formation of VoA Corp., which they defined as a manufacturing and distribution firm for Vibol, a diesel engine exhaust system component. Sherwood G. Dubose, past president of Miami Action Plan Trust for Miami-Dade County, and William S. Stevens III, a former Holland & Knight partner, say the venture could revolutionize diesel engine operation through the use of a South African invention. In any case, Mr. DuBose said, "this venture is a major step for Florida in terms of international business with South Africa."
COLONNADE LEASES: Three insurance firms signed leases for a combined 7,654 square feet in the Colonnade, 180 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, said Jay Perkins with Perkins Realty Advisors. New tenants in the class A, 130,000 square feet office building - which Mr. Perkins said still has 9,100 square feet available - are Southeast Marine & Aviation Insurance together with Heath Lambert Aviation, which are to occupy 5,617 square feet for seven years, and Amphion Holdings, which plans to use 2,037 square feet for five years. Details (305) 663-3548.
HINES PLAN: The Hines Interest Partnership, which has an office in Coral Gables, plans to complete demolition of a 3-story building at Ponce De Leon and Andalusia Avenue by week's end. Matt Nelson, project manager, said his company is also seeking a building permit for a 12-story office building with some retail space on the parcel. About 20% of the planned 2525 Ponce De Leon Building is pre-leased, he said. Construction is scheduled for May. The project is part of a mixed-use master plan the group has drafted for the entire block, which Hines bought a year ago. Details (305) 444-8900, ext. 103.
FISHER OK: Fisher Island Holdings got approval from the Miami Beach Design Review Board to build three 10-story residential buildings on 10-acres in Fisher Island. Because some island residents opposed the proposed $300 million project, the developer had to go before the board three times before getting the OK. Jeffrey Bass, representing opposing neighbors, said his clients plan to appeal to the Miami Beach City Commission to get the design redone.
NOW PUBLIX: It will be Publix, not Albertson's grocery, in Douglas Grand, the commercial and residential project going up where the Coral Gables Coliseum used to be, said Willy Bermello, principal with Douglas Road Partners, developer. The group announced a year ago that Albertson's would occupy 46,000 square feet of retail on the first floor of the 159-unit rental building. The chain announced two months ago that it was closing its three stores in Miami. Mr. Bermello said it was Albertson's executives who came up with the replacement and "both parties were happy with the decision." He said the $23 million project would be half built by March and is scheduled for occupancy by summer.
ETHICAL HONORS: The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust named Carlos Saladrigas top volunteer advocate, citing his work and leadership in forming the Alliance for Ethical Government. Mr. Saladrigas is CEO of ADP TotalSource. Also recognized was the Human Rights Institute at St. Thomas University School of Law, which was named program of the year for its work involving human rights, education and social advocacy. The Human Services Coalition of Dade County Inc. and the Center for Ethics & Public Service shared the citation as nonprofit of the year. Human Services was recognized for "efforts to build stronger communities through capacity building, civic engagement and leadership development" and the center for "interdisciplinary projects devoted to the values of ethical judgment and public service in law and society."
JOB FAIR: TechReach, a program run by Manpower Inc. that trains former welfare recipients for jobs in technical fields, is holding a job fair for its graduates from 9-11 a.m. Jan. 29 at Vision to Victory Human Services Corp., 8400 NE Second Ave. The Beacon Council has invited members to attend the recruiting session. Details: (305) 670-1875.
HOMESTEAD INCUBATOR: The City of Homestead has selected a site for a business incubator that is to be funded recently by a nearly $1 million grant from NASA. The 1/2-acre site at 301 Civic Court is currently home to a 3,000-square-foot building that will be renovated for its new role, said Lynda Compelien, executive director of Homestead's Community Redevelopment Agency. Ms. Compelien said she expects the downtown facility - which will be managed by the Titusville-based Technological Research & Development Agency - to be open by July.
WOMEN'S GRANTS: The Women's Fund of Miami-Dade County is distributing $100,000 in grants - twice the amount it gave out in 2001. The money goes to projects addressing the needs of women and girls, said publicists, and range from mentoring programs for elementary school students to computer training for homeless women. The largest two awards - $7,000 and $6,000, respectively - are going to ArtSpring Inc., which will provide weekly workshops for incarcerated women and at-risk teenage girls, and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, to assist using computers low-income migrant women in helping children with homework. The remaining 20 programs get grants ranging from $2,000-$5,000.