Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
PARKING ADVANTAGE: At $94, Miami is listed among the bargains in a poll of monthly parking rates in major metropolitan areas undertaken by Colliers International. New York's midtown rate of $450 set the pace, followed by Boston at $408, San Francisco at $375, Philadelphia at $263 and New York's downtown at $248. The thrust of Collier's study was to report that parking rates nationally are unchanged despite increasing office vacancy. The average monthly parking charge in the US remains about $147 for the second consecutive year, Colliers found. Rates in other Florida cities in the survey are Jacksonville, $85; Orlando, $75, and Tampa $95. The best bargain in the nation can be found in Fresno, CA, at $37.50, Colliers reported.
BUREAU DEAL: William Talbert III, president & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said his group is close to striking a deal to move its offices to a proposed site in Watson Island. He said he hoped to go before the Miami City Commission today (6/27) for final details. Mr. Talbert said he is still entertaining other offers. "Nothing has been signed yet," he said. City of Miami Beach commissioners last month asked him to consider moving the bureau's headquarters to the Beach.
ISRAEL MISSION: The Israeli Consulate Department of Economic Affairs this week sponsored an Israeli trade mission to Miami and Florida in conjunction with Greenberg Traurig attorneys and Enterprise Florida. The three-day mission, which is due in Orlando today (6/27), is designed to educate Israeli high-tech companies on government contract procedures, public and private market opportunities and possibilities for developing partnerships and strategic alliances with US companies. Participating Florida and Israeli-based companies include Daytona Aerospace, Becker Avionics, Transworld Brokers, LPI Corp, AeroKool Corp, Caliber Sales Engineering, Cyclone and several others. Details: (305) 925-9411.
HELLO SAO PAULO: While he said it's too early to know how many South Americans will visit Miami this summer, "Latin American tourism is booming," said Michael Aller, tourism director for Miami Beach. He said he was recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as grand marshal of the city's Gay Pride Parade, a celebration that has mushroomed from five floats and 200,000 attendees last year to 24 floats and 400,000 spectators and participants this year. "Miami was well-represented," he said. "We had our own float and handed out 85,000 cards with our www.gogaymiami.com website."
TOUR NUMBERS UPDATE: Hotel occupancy is again below last year's same-week level after spiking the week of June 8 on a flurry of bookings tied to two major business conventions. The latest weekly figures show hotel occupancy for the week ending June 15 down 5.5% at 53.6%. The average hotel room rate for the week was down 6.4% to $88.27 while revenue per available room dropped 11.5% from last year's same-week level to $47.43, Tennessee-based Smith Travel Research reported.
CARACAS BASE: The law firm Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell announced it is opening an office in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 1. It is to operate as an independent entity called Despacho de Abogados Miembros de la Firma Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell. Publicists said the office is largely focused on commercial and corporate law, banking law, administrative law and governmental relations. Humberto Briceqo, a former Baker & McKenzie international partner, will oversee operations. He and Carlos Aguilar, who has been an international consultant with the firm in Miami since Jan. 1, are to split their time between the Caracas and Miami offices.
OLYMPIC CLOSING: Olympia Theater in the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, 124 E Flagler St., is closed through Oct. 8 for a $1.2 million renovation that will include a face-lift for the theater's auditorium. The project, said Gusman Center's General Manager Mike Wharton, involves ceiling repairs, including paint and plaster, and a new in-house system to improve runway and overhead lighting. There are also plans to install new lighting for the stage during the summer of 2003. "Overall," Mr. Wharton said, "the work this summer is designed to enhance the theater-going experience for patrons."
CHAMBER EXECUTIVES: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce recently selected its 2002-03 executive committee. Chaired by Jack Lowell with Codina Group, the committee is Ramiro A. Ortiz with SunTrust Bank Miami, immediate past chairman; Peter W. Roulhac with First Union Wachovia, chairman-elect; Allen Harper of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors, first vice chairman; Ernst & Young's William D. Pruitt, treasurer, and William O. Cullom, chamber's president.
POLY PACT: Polytechnic University of the Americas recently signed a transfer agreement with Broward Community College, paving the way for Broward graduates with associate degrees to transfer to the soon-to-open Miami campus, 8180 NW 36th St. The school is offering undergraduate and master's degree programs as well as certification. The university is the US campus of the fully accredited Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, founded in 1966. Details: (305) 867-2640.
TRADE MISSION: The Florida Foreign Trade Association is accepting reservations for the EXPO USA export-marketing mission and trade show from Sept. 10-14 in the Dominican Republic. Entrepreneurs will have the chance to hold one-to-one matching appointments during the fact-finding trip, publicists said. The Dominican Republic is the US' seventh largest export market in the Western Hemisphere and remains Florida's second-largest trading partner. The US Commercial Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service as well as the US Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic are sponsors. Details: (305) 471-0737 or ffta.com.
BIG DEALS: Florida took top honors for attracting the "biggest business deals" in 2001 from Southern Business & Development magazine. The annual index compares 17 Southern states, including Texas, on the number of jobs and amount of capital invested by companies in a year. For a project to be considered, it must have created a minimum of 200 jobs and invested at least $30 million in a state. "It was a monster year for Florida when just about every other state in the region saw their numbers drop through the floor," said Mike Randall, editor. "Enterprise Florida and its partners have done a fantastic job of putting Florida on top," He said major projects contributing to the award included a $70 million expansion by Andrx Corp. in Broward and the Latin American headquarters of Visa International in Miami-Dade, with projected employment of 385 and capital investment of $48 million.
UNITING FLORIDA: What organizers are calling the first joint statewide environment pollution-prevention and environmental-essentials conference ever is scheduled July 31-Aug. 2 in the Wyndham Miami Beach Hotel, 4833 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Topics include opportunities for all industries, management systems, initiatives, conservation, transportation and the hospitality, regulatory and medical fields. Cost is $125. Details: Dawn Jenkins, (352) 392-9570, ext. 127.
WATER MANAGEMENT MEET: "Celebrating Florida's Diversity: Our People & Our Resources" is the theme of the 27th annual "Florida Conference on Water Management" scheduled from Oct. 2-4 in the Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave. Publicist Susan Bennett said the forum is for state and local leaders to discuss the challenges facing water policy-making at local, state and federal levels. Among field trips planned is a look at restoration project sites in Miami's Biscayne Bay. Details: (800) 259-2318.
TOTALLY BRICKELL: Total Bank leased 4,830 square feet of office space at 1110 Brickell Ave. from 1110 Brickell Investors for 84 months. Codina broker Tere Blanca de Ulloa represented the tenant in the transaction. Americas Capital Partners, building owner and manager, represented itself.
INDUSTRIAL BEACON: DLM Ventures Inc., a freight-forwarding firm, leased 6,180 square feet of industrial space at Beacon Centre, 8323 NW 12th St. Jose Juncadella, David Spillers and George I. Pino of Codina Realty Services represented the landlord, AMB Properties. Hector Catano of Westvest represented the tenant in the transaction.
SUNTRUST CEO: SunTrust Banks Inc. named Ramiro Ortiz chairman, president and CEO. Mr. Ortiz, who is now president of SunTrust Bank Miami, assumes the post when John Hashagen resigns July 31. Mr. Ortiz was named president of the bank's Miami operations in 1996 and in 2000 also assumed oversight of its private client services division in Miami. He recently completed a year as chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, treasurer of the Nat Moore Foundation and past campaign co-chair for United Way of Miami-Dade County. Mr. Ortiz joined SunTrust in 1986 as senior vice president of corporate banking in Tampa.