Written by Miami Today on May 9, 2002
IN TRANSIT: Miami City Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr. is resigning from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the county’s transportation planning unit, to consult for the county mayor’s office on getting voters in September to approve a half-percent sales tax to fund transportation. Mr. Teele, administrator for the federal Urban Mass Transit Administration in the early 1980s, said he plans to propose a semi-independent authority to manage the taxes. Taxpayers may not be against paying the tax, he said, but are wary of how funds would be managed.
SHIPPING OUT: Carnival Cruise Lines will shuffle home ports of several ships, including a move of the Carnival Pride from Miami to the Port of Long Beach in Los Angeles in September 2003, the company announced Tuesday. Before it leaves Miami for the last time, the ship will offer eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami beginning in July 2003. Its final sailing from here will be Sept. 7, 2003, to start a 14-day Panama Canal cruise to its new home port.
MID-YEAR FORECAST: The Beacon Council is holding "The 2002 Mid-Year & Economic Forecast Meeting" from 5-6:30 p.m. May 29 in the Country Club Ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Denis Benou Stires, executive VP for global marketing & investor services for NASDAQ, is keynote speaker while Frank R. Nero, council president & CEO, will speak on new corporate locations and expansions. Michael Cannon, managing director of Integra Realty Resources; Tony Goldman, chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and J. Antonio Villamil, CEO of Washington Economics Group, are scheduled to discuss the local economy. A networking reception follows. Cost is $30; $25 for members. RSVP. Details: (305) 579-1382.
LITTLE HAITI PLANS: Architectural students from Harvard are exhibiting drawings with proposed designs for a park in Little Haiti. The exhibition, "Envisioning a New Urban Park & Cultural Center for Little Haiti," is on display through May 20 at the Buena Vista Building, 180 NE 39th St. John Keenan and Terry Riley, visiting faculty from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, asked 10 Harvard students to produce the schemes for the urban park and cultural center.
COURTS FINANCED: Boston-based pension advisor Metropolitan Properties of America got $43 million in permanent financing for Courvoisier Courts on Brickell Key, a 27-story apartment tower it purchased in December from Prudential Real Estate Investors for $61.6 million. Swire Properties Inc., which has developed much of the island just east of Brickell Avenue, completed construction in 1996 and sold the 272-unit property to Prudential in July 1997.
TEACHERS MALLED: Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association has acquired half ownership in Miami International Mall, 1455 NW 107th Ave., a 973,000-square-foot mall with 290 stores anchored by two Burdines stores. Simon Property Group, which had owned the mall in a joint venture with Rodamco North America, stays on as partner. Teachers paid Rodamco $198.2 million for its share of Miami International plus the Florida Mall in Orlando and West Town Mall in Knoxville, TN, and assumed its share of the mortgage debts.
SMALL FORUM: The Miami-Dade Community College Entrepreneurial Education Center is holding the third annual Miami Small Business Opportunities Conference from 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m. May 18 in the Pawley Creative Arts Center, Building 5000, M-DCC North, 11380 NW 27th Ave. Organizers said the session offers participants a choice of forums targeting new or established business owners. "The chance to network with business professionals, government representatives and other budding capitalists may in itself be worth the $40 registration fee," said M-DCC North Campus President Castell Bryant. Topics include how to start a firm, landing government contracts, available grants and international trade. Details: (305) 237-1903.
SMALL LOANS: The US Small Business Administration’s South Florida District Office in Miami announced it was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the first half of its most recent fiscal year, Oct. 1-March 31, in federally backed loans to small businesses. In the period the office issued 777 loan approvals valued at $238.7 million, according to the Small Business Administration’s national report.
MUSEUM DAY: The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau announced that 15 area venues are participating May 18 in International Museum Day by offering either discounts or free admission as well as special activities. The event was created by the bureau in 1998, said William Talbert, bureau president & CEO. He said it "is a very successful annual program that uses special offers and programs to entice people to visit museums they may never have visited or haven’t visited in a long time."
HEALTH GRANTS: The Health Foundation of South Florida announced a series of awards to nonprofits in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties totaling more than $1.2 million. Among recipients in Miami-Dade were the FIU Metropolitan Center, which got $112,500; Shake-A-Leg Miami, which received $40,000, and the University of Miami William Lehman Injury Research Center, which was given $55,012. The underlying strategy for the grants, said Health Foundation President & CEO Steven E. Marcus, is to fund initiatives that could "eliminate fundamental barriers that prevent under-served or uninsured members of the community from gaining access to services and programs."
TOURISM FROM ABROAD: Miami Today’s International Roundtable will focus on the visitor industry’s links abroad at a 7:30 a.m. breakfast May 17 in the JW Marriott Hotel, 1109 Brickell Ave. Panelists are Bill Talbert, CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Stuart L. Blumberg, president and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association; Jose Manuel De Juan, director of the Tourist Office of Spain, and Miguel Southwell, assistant director for business development for the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department. RSVP. Details: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Top executives of 32 Spanish service companies are to attend the Services Strategic Partners Forum May 13 & 14 at the Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel for one-on-one meetings with local firms. The Spaniards seek joint ventures, alliances, investment and venture capital, say organizers. The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Florida Service Network are partnering with the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade and Spain’s consulate here to present the program. Details: (305) 446-4387.
PARK CEREMONY: Miami-Dade Parks is holding a dedication ceremony at 4 p.m. May 16 for a new playground in Cherry Grove Park, 9101 SW 97th Ave. The $100,00 playground project in the 3.7-acre park was initiated by a neighborhood association and funded by the county’s Capital Outlay Reserve and discretionary funds from Commissioner Katy Sorenson’s office. The project included installation of modular equipment and a rubberized play surface, benches and trash receptacles. Details: (305) 235-1593.
BOMA LUNCH: The Building Owners & Managers Association of Greater Miami is sponsoring a luncheon talk by Larry Soehren, the organization’s incoming international president, at noon May 17 in the Rusty Pelican Restaurant, 3201 Rickenbacker Cswy. Cost is $30; $25 for members with reservations. RSVP. Details: (305) 530-0083.
COLLEGES LINK: Miami-Dade Community College last week signed an agreement with the Polytechnic University of the Americas in San Juan, PR, so that M-DCC students can transfer credits to be school, which plans to open a campus in Miami.