Written by Miami Today on March 28, 2002
NO. 1 MIAMI: Greater Miami & the Beaches is ranked No. 1 by the latest Smith Travel Research report, based on cumulative occupancy statistics in the nation’s top 25 major hotel markets. The Miami area had a pace-setting average rate of 66% in the month. It was well ahead of No. 2 Oahu Island, HI, where occupancy was put at 61.8% in the period. Oahu Island ranked No. 1 in January 2001 when Greater Miami & the Beaches was in the No. 2 spot.
HOW THEY FARE ELSEWHERE: Cities Miami topped to get the No. 1 rank by Smith Travel Research also include No. 3 New Orleans, with an occupancy rate of 61.8% and No. 4 Los Angeles, at 60%. The balance of the top 10 in descending order and their occupancy rates, are San Diego, 59.9%; New York, 59.8%; Phoenix, 59.3%; Greater Tampa, 59.2%; Atlanta, 57.4% and Houston, 54.1%.
CAVALIER SALE: Ocean Drive Investment, whose principal is Pablo Umansky, paid $4.2 million for the Cavalier Hotel, 1320 Ocean Drive. The seller was Island Trading, a company controlled by record producer Chris Blackwell. Wimbish-Riteway agent Susan Gale represented both parties in the transaction. Mr. Umansky said Ocean Drive Investment, which also owns the Leslie, the Henry and the Coronado, aims to establish a chain of reasonably priced hotels.
WITH MERIT, TOO: Miami-Dade County officials appropriately named former county manager Merrett R. Stierheim guest of honor Tuesday at ceremonies to dedicate a new Urban Affairs Collection in his name at the main library, 101 W Flagler St. The exhibit, publicists said, is South Florida’s largest compilation of books, pamphlets and periodicals on local government, planning, public policy, urban transportation, human services and law enforcement.
OUTSTANDING IN GABLES: The Women’s Business Network of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce gave Victoria Villalba its third annual outstanding business woman of the year award. The competition is open to chamber members and anyone who lives or works in Coral Gables. Ms. Villalba is owner of Victoria & Associates. The firm is credited with being the first staffing company in Florida to implement Preparing Youth for Industry, a program to encourage students to stay in school by exposing students first hand to the working world.
STILTSVILLE TALK: The Urban Environment League is presenting a dinner panel, "Stiltsville and the Public Interest," at 7:15 p.m. April 10 in La Loggia Restaurant, 68 W Flagler St. Topics include imminent legal action and an examination of public interest in Stiltsville, a community of buildings in the middle of Biscayne Bay some believe exemplifies much of what is unique about South Florida. Panelists are Gail Baldwin, architect and Stiltsville leaseholder; Duff Matson, an insurance agent, and Paul Schwiep, shareholder at Aragon Burlington et al. Cost is $20. Details: Jeff Donnelly, (305) 532-1441.
ADVISORY POST: StrataSys Group, a consulting and information technology solutions provider, appointed J. Antonio Villamil to its advisory board. Mr. Villamil is CEO of the Washington Economics Group and chairman of Gov. Jeb Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors. Earlier in his career he was US Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. James Bussey, StrataSys advisory board chairman, said Mr. Villamil would "assist StrataSys with its strategic planning and expansion into new markets."
HISTORICAL BUS: The Florida Moving Image Archive is offering a "Magical History Bus-Video" tours at 4 & 6 p.m. April 10. Organizers said the trip through downtown Miami and Miami Beach uses videos to help throw light on the past of sites the bus drives past. Historian Paul George presides. Tours depart from the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, near the Botanical Gardens. Cost is $15. Seating is limited. Reservations required. Details: (305) 375-1505.
ARVIDA RECORD: The Miami-Dade region of Arvida Realty Services, a business unit of The St. Joe Co., posted a record-breaking $1.35 billion in pending gross volume for 2001, an 18.1% increase over the previous year, said regional Director Pat Dahne. The number of transactions recorded, she said, was 5,113 as compared to 4,935 in 2000, a 3.6% increase The number of listings secured was 3,044.
QUEST FOR BEACON: Quest Industries leased 52,824 square feet of industrial space at Beacon Station, 9955 NW 116th Way. Pedro J. Garcia and Stuart T. Gordon of Codina Realty Services Oncor International represented the landlord, Flagler Development Co., in the transaction.
OPERA GIFT: The Florida Grand Opera announced it got $500,000 from Audrey Love, a long time opera benefactor. The gift, said James M. Herron, opera company president, amounts to sponsorship of the 2002-03 season opener, Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci and two productions in the following season. He said Ms. Love was one of the first members of the opera’s Society of Crown Jewels support group when it was formed in 1986.
STATE COMMENDATION: The Miami-based law firm Markowitz Davis Ringel & Trusty was awarded the 2002 Law Firm Commendation from the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. The award, said publicists, "is presented to a law firm that has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis."
UM AWARD: The University of Miami School of Law Center for Ethics & Public Service will give its second "Lawyers in Leadership" award to Carlos M. de la Cruz Sr., chairman & CEO of Eagle Brands and immediate past chairman of UM’s board of trustees, in ceremonies scheduled at 5:15 p.m. March 26 in the law library’s 4th floor faculty meeting room. Mr. de la Cruz, a 1979 UM law graduate, has chaired the board of directors of United Way of Miami-Dade County and served on the boards of Georgetown University, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Florida International University, the Dade Foundation, the Business Assistance Center, and Miami Partners for Progress.
NEW TRUSTEE: Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Robert Allen Jr. of Miami to serve on the board of Sarasota’s New College. Mr. Allen, who received his undergraduate degree from the school, is an attorney with the law firm Allen & Galego, 601 Brickell Key Drive. He is a member of the New College Foundation, a founding member of the New College Alumni Association board of directors and a former trustee of St. Thomas University. "Robert is an excellent choice for this position," Gov. Bush said. "I am confident that his strong affiliation with New College will allow him to serve the students, faculty and alumni well."