Written by Miami Today on August 1, 2002
MIAMI ARENA DITCHED: Feld Entertainment, producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and Disney On Ice, announced Tuesday it will move the shows to the American Airlines Arena from the old Miami Arena after 10 years there. "By moving to the American Airlines Arena, we have much more flexibility backstage and on the arena floor," said Bill Powell, Feld regional vice president of marketing and sales. "It will be a better show for the audience in a larger, more comfortable and modern venue." The 19,600-seat arena opened in 2000. Its premium seating includes luxury boxes, club levels, loges and traditional suites with access to private balconies.
LAST OF FEDCO: Fedco Wholesale, the distribution division for Fedco Stores, a fixture on the downtown Miami scene for more than 20 years, sold its 136,000-square-foot warehouse on 112th Street, it was announced Tuesday by Alliance Commercial Real Estate Group. The buyer, 3505 NW 112th Street, paid $3.7 million for the structure as part of US Bankruptcy Court proceedings, Alliance Commercial’s Brian Smith said. He said Fedco filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and began liquidating assets shortly after selling a number of its retail operations to Navarro Discount Drugs. "The sale of the warehouse was the final transaction in this process," Mr. Smith said. He said the buyer, a coffee distributor, will use the warehouse for storage.
WORLD FUEL POST: Miami Springs-based World Fuel Services Corp. Tuesday appointed Paul Stebbins chairman and CEO. Jerrold Blair, former chairman, will remain employed by the company as an advisor. The board also appointed Michael J. Kasbar as president and COO. Mr. Blair is one of the founders of World Fuel and has 40 years experience in the oil services industry. He was the company’s chairman for the past two years and president for 16 years before that. Mr. Stebbins was World Fuel’s president and COO for the past two years. Mr. Stebbins joined the company in 1995 when World Fuel acquired Trans-Tec, a company he co-founded with Mr. Kasbar in 1985.
VISION FORUM: The Vision Council, which serves as the economic development organization for South Miami-Dade, is holding a business forum at 7:15 a.m. Aug. 23 in M-DCC Homestead, 500 College Terrace. Robert Anderson, Vision chairman, and mayors Roscoe Warren of Homestead and Otis Wallace of Florida City are featured speakers. "This is the first in a series of regular Vision Council business forums," Mr. Anderson said. "We intend to provide a continuing avenue for discussions between business and community leaders." Details: (305) 247-7082.
AIRPORT TALK: Angela Gittens, director of Miami-Dade County Aviation, is featured speaker from 11:30 a.m.-1 p p.m. Aug. 14 in the Miami Springs Country Club, 650 Curtiss Parkway, Miami Springs. The meeting is sponsored by the Greater Miami Aviation Association. Cost is $15. Details: (305) 883-6464.
NETWORKING WOMEN: Ellen Bristol, president of Miami-based Bristol Strategy Group, speaks on "Designing the Ideal Customer" at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Cypress Creek Westin, 400 Corporate Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Her talk is sponsored by the Broward chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Cost is $35; $30 for members. Details: (954) 767-8600.
MISSION RESULTS: Confida Corp., a six-person technology and project management consulting firm, reports sales of software and services to five manufacturing firms in Spain and Italy following a US Commerce Department trade mission to Milan, Rome, Barcelona and Madrid. Hollywood-based Confida develops and markets management software tools designed to track profitable segments within a business and create scorecard-style databases that help senior executives communicate with project managers, said Confida President Scott Hilton-Clark. "It’s a tool for executives who can never get a straight answer to a simple question: what’s the status of this project," he said. The company has so far provided software and consulting services to Jamaica’s National Commerce Bank and Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, which operates in 13 Caribbean countries and plans to expand its US and European business ties.
CITY RATING: Standard & Poor’s has upgraded the City of Miami’s financial outlook from stable to positive. The rating service reported that Miami’s General Obligation Refunding bond rating has the potential to rise in contrast to a previous affirmation that ratings would remain unchanged in years to come. Standard & Poor’s analysts attribute the bump to the city’s improved financial reserve and a diversified economy, which they say has also been critical to the drop in property tax rates. Miami’s property tax rates are at nine mills, their lowest level in 52 years. Robin Prunty, analyst for Standard & Poor’s, said "an upgrade to the single-A category within the next three years would be warranted if the local economy performs well and budget and management improvements continue."
RECENT UPGRADES: The new status would allow the city to identify and fund capital and operating requirements as part of a multi-year financial plan, Ms. Prunty said. The news adds to positive momentum that Miami’s economy has been experiencing recently. In March, Moody’s Investors Services upgraded the City of Miami’s GO bond rating from Baa2 to Baa1 only four months after Moody’s upgraded the city’s rating from a Baa3 to a Baa2. That upgrade was made two weeks after Mayor Manny Diaz traveled to New York to speak with executives from several bond ratings companies, including Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, although it is not known if his visit was a factor.
WOMEN’S CAUCUS: The National Women’s Political Caucus of Miami-Dade County is holding a non-partisan "Meet the Candidate" forum and luncheon at noon July 28 in the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, 4400 NW 87th Ave. Organizers said the caucus is a coalition-sponsored, election year, educational forum supported by more than 30 community organizations. Coalition members include the NAACP, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters and the YWCA of Greater Miami. Cost is $40; $30 in advance. Details: Sandy Wayland, (305) 573-0068.
AIRPORT WEST LEASE: DSR Shipping Co. has signed a lease to use 30,992 square feet at 8861 NW 18th Terrace in Americas Gateway Center, said Ron Berger, managing director of Insignia ESG, which handled the transaction for landlord ADA Properties No. 4 Ltd. The five-year lease was valued at more than $1.215 million. Wayne Ramoski with Cushman & Wakefield represented freight-forwarder DSR in the deal.
BEACON TRIO: The Florida Economic Development Council gave the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development organization, three awards to recognize advertising and promotional efforts in attracting new business and industry here. The council was cited for efforts in advertising campaign, advertising and Internet categories. "We are very pleased," said Frank Nero, Beacon Council president & CEO, "to have received these recognitions, especially from our peers in economic development."
PORT FESTIVAL: The Port of Miami is holding the first annual "International Port Fest" Sept. 28-29 to showcase its role in international trade and tourism in the region. Trenae Floyd, public affairs officer for the port, said events being planned include a Ports-of-Call International Pavilion Village, a "Shipmate’s Corner" for children and parents, and the Port of Miami Job Fair, which is scheduled on the second day of the program. Details: Angela Simons, (305) 371-7678.
FEC UPDATE: City of Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton brought the $850,000 urban renewal plan he is spearheading before the Miami-Dade commission last week saying he wanted to build awareness and possibly garner support for redeveloping the Florida East Coast corridor. The plan, passed in May by Miami commissioners, awaits an issue of municipal bonds and other funding. It includes transportation, housing and streetscape improvements as well as historic preservation and marketing and economic development efforts targeting the corridor between Northeast 14th and 79th streets. The city manager is to appoint a senior official possibly in September to oversee the project.
FIU NURSING TRACK: Florida International University School of Nursing announced it has launched a program for licensed nurses that results in their earning a bachelor’s degree. Known as the "LPN/LVN to BSN" program, it was recently approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. FIU reports it got a request from Mercy Hospital’s School of Practical Nursing for the program. Divina Grossman, director of the FIU school, said that chief nursing offices at hospitals around the country are now "indicating a clear preference for baccalaureate-prepared nurses."