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Fyi Miami

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Written by on August 15, 2002

UK TRADE MISSION: Enterprise Florida announced a preliminary survey of Team Florida United Kingdom Trade Mission participants shows an increase in economic activity between Florida and the UK, with export sales expected to exceed $106 million while generating up to 1,100 new jobs. "With a projected $106 million in export sales," said Gov. Jeb Bush, "our trip to the United Kingdom could be the most successful trade mission to date." Enterprise Florida credits the mission with exports sales estimated at $106,567,400 as well as joint ventures worth $28.5 million, with two expected, and meetings with 57 investors about 37 new and 20 existing projects here that could yield more than 1,000 jobs from a capital investment of $216.6 million. Enterprise reports British demand for Florida products -particularly high-tech products – remains strong, despite an unsteady global economy. The UK imported $1.25 billion in Florida goods last year.

PARK EXECUTIVE: The Bayfront Park Management Trust has a new executive director as City of Miami commissioners made Tim Schmand, interim director and former administrative director, the trust’s executive director. His naming came three months after the group headed a nationwide search. "It is an honor to be chosen," Mr. Schmand said Tuesday.

PARK GOALS: Mr. Schmand said his goals include beefing up staff training and discovering ways to better serve and attract downtown workers during their lunch hour to Bayfront Park. Jay Constanz, the former executive director, left in March to accept a job at the Robert First Center for the Arts Hall at Georgia Tech University in downtown Atlanta. He was also a member of the selection committee.

LENNAR CHICAGO: Miami-based Lennar Corp. announced Tuesday it has signed agreements to acquire Concord Homes and Summit Homes, two Chicago home builders, for an undisclosed price. The acquisition marks Lennar’s entry into the Chicago area, ranked by some industry observers as the nation’s fourth largest market. Lennar representatives expect to close the acquisition of Concord Homes by Aug. 31 and Summit Homes by Oct. 31. Robert Strudler, chief operating officer for Lennar, said the acquisitions continue "Lennar’s strategic expansion into the fastest growing markets in the country and further enhance Lennar’s dual marketing programs."

AIRPORT MILE: Miami-Dade Art in Public Places announced Tuesday it has selected Michele Oka Doner to do a mile-long public art installation on the floor of the new American Airlines North Terminal at Miami International Airport. Publicists said the design, dubbed "From Seashore to Tropical Garden," will continue Ms. Doner’s work, "A Walk on the Beach," in Concourse A. The new design will use 130,000 square feet of tile.

MOVIE WORKSHOP: The Motion Picture Association’s Latin American regional office in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday announced it will hold a film project development workshop at the University of Miami from Oct. 21-25. The workshops will bring 20 screenwriters here who do feature film scripts in Latin America to get tips in Spanish from professors who hail from Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the US. The UM School of Communication and the Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment are co-sponsors. Details: (305) 284-5500

ARGENTINE MATTERS: The US-Argentina Council named Raul Valdes-Fauli, partner with the law firm Steel Hector & Davis, a director to represent the region. The newly established group also appointed regional directors in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. "I am proud to be a part of strengthening the relationship between Argentina and the US," Mr. Valdes-Fauli said of the appointment. "The two nations have developed close ties based on mutual interests in investing for the future." The council operates independently from US consular offices and the Argentine Embassy in the US to "coordinate the efforts of organizations representing the Argentine-American community within the framework of the Hispanic minority population of the US."

ARTS AGENDA: Increasing broadcast media coverage, expanding municipal support for the arts and strengthening support for arts education were three "over-arching challenges" identified by the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council and Department of Cultural Affairs. In a just published brochure, "A Business Plan for the Arts," the agency and council offer the upcoming agenda and issues for panel discussions that will be shown on Channel 34 in the fall. Details: (305) 375-3068.

HOMESTEAD HEALTH: Baptist Health South Florida announced plans to build a 120-bed prototype hospital for the future that would include a medical office building in Homestead. The project would cost more than $100 million. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration endorsed the plan last week. "We are going to build a state-of-the-art, modern hospital in Homestead," said Brian E. Keeley, Baptist Health president & CEO. If all goes as planned, he said the 300,000-square-foot complex would rise just east of the Florida Turnpike on the north side of Campbell Drive in 2005. Baptist Health representatives are still negotiating to buy the 60-acre site.

HOME RESALES BOOM: Median resale prices of single-family homes in Greater Miami rose 15% in the second quarter compared to sales in the second quarter 2001, according to the Florida Association of Realtors, hitting $182,100. The state average increase was 8%, reaching $137,400. Percentage increases topped out at 22% in Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie. In the Miami area, 8% more homes were resold in the quarter, 3,518, than a year earlier. In Fort Lauderdale, prices rose 13% to $195,400, second in the state only to Naples at $284,000.

ITALY TO THE GABLES: The Consulate General of Italy in Miami is moving its office from Brickell Avenue to Coral Gables. Pietro De Santi, acting consul general, said the new address, 4000 Ponce De Leon Blvd., suite 590, becomes effective Sept. 1. He said the new 8,000-square-foot office would be in a 9-story building the consul general liked because Ugo Colombo, an Italian-born architect, designed it with an Italian flair. He said the Gables building is more secure. The new space is 2,000 square feet larger than the current office at 1200 Brickell to serve an estimated 30,000 Italian populations in Miami-Dade, he said. Details: (305) 374-3595.

SPAIN OFFICE: The Tourist Office of Spain will have a new director effective Sept. 1. Jose Manuel de Juan is leaving, yielding his seat to Beatriz Marco. Mr. Juan is going back to Spain to serve at the Instituto de Turismo, which is in charge of promoting tourism in Spain. Details: (305) 358-1992.

SECOND WIND FESTIVAL: Miami-Dade Parks is sponsoring a Second Wind festival as part of "Andrew 10 Years Later: A Celebration," Aug. 23-24 in the Homestead area. Highlights include an "Expo of Progress," where area firms can display products and services, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at M-DCC Homestead. A Taste of Homestead & Florida City is planned from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 along Main Street in Homestead and a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 in the Homestead Sports Complex, 1601 SE 28th Ave. Cost is $10 at Losner Park, Northwest First Street at Krome Avenue, Homestead. Details: (305) 248-8487.

SCHOOL TALK: Miami-Dade Superintendent of Schools Merrett R. Stierheim is delivering opening remarks for a new school year at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 16 in Miami Senior High School, 2450 SW First St. Details: (305) 995-4638.

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