Written by Miami Today on May 30, 2002
BAD SPORT: Board members of the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority decided against granting $800,000 to help build the Watson Island Regional Aviation & Visitors Center, said Ferey Kian, the authority’s director of finance. The group, an arm of the City of Miami in charge of promoting and underwriting sports and community events, has sought to swap the grant for rights to market the island as a destination. After failing to reach an agreement with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, which will oversee construction of the proposed facility, board members decided not to grant the money. Bureau officials said they would downsize the project to bring costs down by $900,000. Construction is to start by year’s end.
BEACH BUSINESS: The Florida Department of Health is sponsoring a meeting for Broward, Martin, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties on expansion of the Florida Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program using federal funds from 1:30-3:30 p.m. June 4 in the Broward County Health Department’s 2nd floor auditorium, 2412 SW Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Publicists said a list of beaches proposed for monitoring and details of the program would be meeting topics. Details: Stephen Dennison, (954) 467-4831.
COLONIAL EXPANSION: Colonial BancGroup Chairman & CEO Robert E. Lowder announced the company signed an agreement to acquire Palm Beach National Holding Co. and its banking subsidiary, Palm Beach National Bank & Trust Co. The transaction, publicists said, will be a stock-for-stock exchange at a price of $50 a share of Palm Beach National stock, subject to certain market pricing conditions of Colonial’s stock, resulting in a total value of about $105.5 million. The merger, which still needs to be approved by Colonial BancGroup shareholders and regulatory agencies, would give Colonial 13 branches in Palm Beach County, up from its present five. Palm Beach National, Mr. Lowder said, will be folded into Colonial’s South Florida region, which has headquarters in Miami, bringing Colonial’s size to about $2 billion in assets with 27 branches, including 11 in Miami-Dade County and three in Broward.
HEAT EXTENSION: Miami Heat affiliate Basketball Properties, manager of the American Airlines Arena, last week got an extension from the county to develop 4.5 acres between the arena and Biscayne Bay. The group’s right to develop the lot was to expire July 1. The new deadline is July 2003, said Richard Weiss, Heat Group attorney. The decision came two weeks after the Florida Legislature cleared the way for the county to convert a management agreement into a lease that would allow Basketball Properties to build a mixed-use project on the site. Mr. Weis said his client is working on securing financing and with city and county planning and zoning officials on a lease agreement. "The lease," he said, "will define the kind of project we hope to develop. The city would also need to approve some zoning changes and the design because the land is within city boundaries.
CHAMBER SALUTE: The German American Business Chamber in Miami is honoring Hans Hellencamp with an award of excellence at 5:30 p.m. June 6 in Northern Trust Bank, 700 Brickell Ave. Mr. Hellencamp, 78, is the inventor of an automated laser for lasik surgery, a device that can shave 3 microns off a cornea to improve nearsightedness. Mr. Hellencamp, who has lived in Miami for more than 40 years, recently sold his Miami firm, Hansa Research & Development, to Bausch & Lomb. Cost of the reception is $50. Details: (305) 371-4282.
AVENTURA JAYCEES: A newly established Greater Aventura Junior Chamber of Commerce is holding the first of bimonthly meetings at 7:30 p.m. June 4 in the Werner Staubs Peppermill at the Waterways, 3595 NE 207th Ave., Aventura. Networking starts at 6 p.m. Shosana Batterman, chapter president, said the focus for her group is "on charitable involvement, social activities and developing business opportunities." The organization, popularly known as the Jaycees, is open to men and women ages 21-39. Cost is $15. Details: Ms. Batterman, (305) 586-2124.
FILM/VIDEO ROUNDTABLE: Miami Today’s International Roundtable will focus on the growth of Greater Miami’s television, video and entertainment industries at 5 p.m. June 13 in the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Panelists are Robert Berkowitz, president of Multivision Video & Film; Sebastian Duval, general manger of HTV; Bill O’Dowd, president of Dolphin Entertainment, and Jeff Peel, director of the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment. The free session is sponsored by the Royal Palm and Bacardi USA Inc. Reservations required. Details: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
PARK SCULPTURE: A nonprofit in charge of preserving art in public places plans to conduct a $700 report with recommendations to preserve a City of Miami outdoor sculpture. Save Outdoor Sculpture, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts, will assess the maintenance needs of Nuevo Mundo by David Von Schlegell, a 17-foot high stainless steel structure erected in 1974 in Bicentennial Park. While the group pays for the report, Bayfront Park Management Trust, the agency responsible for the management of both Bicentennial and Bayfront parks, would handle repairs and maintenance. While in town, the group will assess a 9-foot-tall, bronze Christopher Columbus statue in Bayfront Park by Italian artist Count Vittorio Di Colbertado. It was commissioned by the Miami Citizens Committee and unveiled in 1953. Details: (305) 358-7550.
STUDY TABLED: City of Miami commissioners last week deferred until next month discussions on hiring Plummer & Associates Inc. to conduct a project development and environment study to realign the Metromover station near the Dupont Plaza downtown. The two-year contract would have an option for an additional year. Costs would not exceed $446,400.
MEETING WITH HEART: The International Society on Hypertension in Blacks is sponsoring the 17th annual International Interdisciplinary Conference on Hypertension & Related Risk Factors in Ethnic Populations June 7-12 in the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave. The meeting, which has to do with reducing cardiovascular disease health disparities, targets physicians, medical researchers, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, dietitians, community health leaders and other health-care professionals. On June 8, conference organizers plan free cardiovascular risk assessment programs for the public at Cutler Ridge Mall, Dadeland Mall, the Miami Bahamas Goombay Festival and the Northside Shopping Center. Details: (404)-875-6263 or ishib.org.