RACE RERUN: Raceworks Management, which brought the thrill of racing to the streets of downtown Miami this month, has set dates for next year's Grand Prix America even as the contract with a major investor remains unsigned. The Championship Auto Racing Teams, an Indianapolis-based racing company known as CART, was to become majority owner over promoter Raceworks but the buyout of 60% remains hanging even after its first race. Grand Prix America President Chuck Martinez said the contract with CART may not be signed yet but he doesn't expect problems. "It's just a legal situation and should be done soon," he said Monday. The race is leased with the city for 25 years and next year's will be Sept 26-28, he said.
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FEDEX MAY BE EX: While CART's contract here is pending, The Sports Business Journal reported that CART sponsor FedEx may end a five-year sponsorship with the group. Mr. Martinez said he didn't know the status of that relationship but said two other series sponsors that he wouldn't identify are "in the works." Miami architect and developer Willy Bermello owns 33.33% of Miami-based Raceworks, attorney Peter Yanowitch 63.67% and racing legend Emerson Fitipaldi 3%.
BANK NOTES: Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks plans to add two private bankers in Miami by year's end to focus on music industry business. The new unit, STI Music Private Banking Group, will be mirrored by an identical unit in Atlanta. Both are patterned after a 14-year-old unit of the bank in Nashville. "We're seeing explosive growth in the Latin music segment in Miami, where South Beach in particular is emerging as the hub of the music segment," said Brian Williams, who founded the Nashville operation and will oversee those in both Miami and Atlanta.
OLD NEWS: PBS television's Antiques Roadshow shot three episodes in Miami that started this week. Next Monday at 8 p.m. the show will tour county museum Vizcaya, where textiles appraiser Jim French will talk about the rug in the living room that once belonged to the grandfather of King Ferdinand of Spain.
YEAR 30, HOMECOMING 1: 30-year-old Florida International University is in the midst of its first football homecoming weekend because, natch, it's the school's first season of football. Events through Saturday are geared to bring the university's 95,000 alumni back to campus. It all leads up to the big game against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. (We looked it up: Gardner-Webb University of Boiling Springs, NC, enrolls 3,564 students, majority female. Should be a happy homecoming.)
TRANE GROWS NORTH: Global air conditioning manufacturer Trane, with 220 South Florida employees, will cut its Miami office in half and grow at a new site in Miramar, District Manager John Tighe said. Trane will cut its Miami sales and warehousing staff from 80 to 35 and centralize most of those functions at the 23,400-square-foot site at the Miramar Park of Commerce. Trane, part of American Standard Inc., is the US's largest maker of commercial air conditioning systems. Mr. Tighe said the company didn't get incentives from Miramar to make the move and will keep its site at the Airport Corporate Center in Miami. "The move is indicative of our growth plans in the region - we've outgrown our facilities."
ELECTRIC REFUND: The Miami Beach Transportation Management Authority returned $68,000 on Oct. 17 it didn't spend in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 to the City of Miami Beach. Executive Director Judy Evans, who also manages the authority's electric shuttle bus service Electrowave, said she's a stickler for frugality. "There are ways to save money if you really want to save it and that's what we did," she said. They included scavenging $6,000 in parts out of a pair of used electric buses bought for $200 each. The city contracts with the association at $2.3 million annually to run and maintain the Electrowave, which Ms. Evans said is the only all-electric mini-bus fleet in the US.
EXCLUSIVELY MIAMI: Should the City of Miami pursue exclusive arrangements with soft-drink makers and other companies? That question was the focus of an hour-long closed internal meeting Monday at the office of Mayor Manny Diaz. Spokeswoman Kelly Penton said the mutual marketing partnerships could translate into having one universal brand of soft drink, Coca-Cola for example, at all city parks. In return, Coke could be an official sponsor for park events. She stressed it's still just an idea, but the plan could generate revenue for both sides.
HIGHER PROFILE: Washington Mutual bank will move into Miami's 150 America's Center and rename the 14-story art deco building at 150 SE Second St., probably during the first quarter of 2003, said Troy Giammarco of Insignia/ESG, which leased the space. He said principal owner Hartford Investors plans to reface the exterior, restoring its original alabaster color and quasi Art Deco design. Washington Mutual, for its part, will feature walk-up circular modules in its new retail area, where tellers will direct customers at computerized consoles. Washington Mutual is now at the Bank of America building, under the flag of one of its biggest competitors for mortgage lending in South Florida, Mr. Giammarco said. "By getting their own identity they are able to significantly raise their profile in Miami."
SHIFTING GEARS: A chain reaction at Ryder System is triggered by retirement of Gene Tyndall, executive VP of Global Supply Chain Solutions, who joined the Miami-based corporation in 1999 after 20 years at Ernst & Young Management Consulting. Bobby Griffin, 16-year Ryder veteran, takes responsibility for international operations in Asia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Anthony Tegnelia, a 25-year vet, takes over US-based business development. They'll report to CEO Gregory Swienton, while the Transportation Management Solutions group now will report to senior executive VP and CFO Corliss Nelson. Got that?
FOUNDER'S LUNCH: Lunch on the veranda of the vintage 1899 Coral Gables Merrick House will conclude a Saturday trolley tour of the city. The 2-hour tour begins at 10 a.m., followed by lunch on the porch. The house, at 907 Coral Way, is where city founder George Merrick grew up, and it's where the tour starts. It's $20. RSVP: (305) 460-5093.
MAJESTIC MOVE: Dubbing the Biscayne Boulevard corridor "the next South Beach," a Miami Beach realtor has opened its first expansion office in the blossoming area north of downtown. Majestic Properties opened its 5,500-square-foot site at 5046 Biscayne last week to focus on home sales in Morningside, Belle Meade, Miami Shores and El Portal. "Those of us in South Beach in the beginning who saw it go from slum to playground for the rich and famous realize that the same attributes exist here in the Biscayne corridor," said company founder Jeff Morr. The new home of the company's commercial and collection divisions last housed medical offices. Mr. Morr bought it in 2001. Majestic hired 16 agents in the past two weeks for the office and moved 30 from Miami Beach headquarters.
MONETARY CONFERENCE: Robert A. Mundell, 1999 Nobel Laureate in Economics and professor at Columbia University, will deliver the keynote address at "The Role of Multilateral Institutions in the International Monetary System" conference sponsored by the Journal of Policy Reform and the University of Miami School of Business Administration. The three-day event Oct. 24-26 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Coconut Grove includes discussions on global finance and the International Monetary Fund. Details (305) 284-1607.
LAND USE ADVICE: Modeled after its national Advisory Service Panel, the Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida and Caribbean district is devising a mini-consultancy program to advise public and private decision-makers on complex land-use issues. It will target local issues that don't warrant national attention but still require analysis by real estate economists, lawyers, developers and site planners that ULI can assign. South Florida district chairman Neisen Kasdin said the service will benefit South Florida communities and provide income to the non-profit institute.
LATEST PARENTE PRODUCTION: Miami's got all the elements to become a major film capital, says Robert Parente, who became head of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's new Office of Art, Film and Entertainment Oct. 7. All, that is, except for more sound stages. He already has his hands full with filming of major features, with "Bad Boys 2," "The Fast and The Furious 2" and the Denzel Washington vehicle "Out of Time." Because of those, TV hit "CSI: Miami" couldn't get space to film interior scenes in town and other big pictures may be turned away. Getting more sound stages is in the works, he said. And while big features are "icing on the cake," he adds he's going to focus on a solid relationship with commercial companies, new media and still photographers. Mr. Parente, formerly Commissioner Joe Sanchez's senior policy advisor, is no stranger to the business. For 20 years he headed a still photo and video company, Parente Productions. Filling the job with Mr. Sanchez is Steve Wright, formerly a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio.
LOCAL EMPHASIS: The Beacon Council in tandem with Miami-Dade County will launch Tuesday a program geared toward job creation for existing companies. Called The Local Business Priority Program with a slogan of "Local business, local jobs," the goal is to retain and expand local businesses, identify employment growth obstacles and formulate solutions, and recognize existing companies' contributions to the economy, said Yvonne Carrero for the Beacon Council. Details will be announced Tuesday at Alienware Corp., a local maker of high-performance gaming machines, DV systems and workstations. Local leaders, including Mayor Alex Penelas, and Nelson Gonzalez, Alienware CEO, are to speak.
TALKING ARTS: The Miami Arts & Entertainment Council is holding a third hearing to learn what issues the arts community wants it to work on. The council will advise City of Miami elected officials. The meeting is 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Lyric Theater, 819 NW 2nd Ave. Details: (305) 381-8831.
CHINA-FLORIDA LINK: Miami attorneys in partnership with counterparts in Beijing and Shanghai addressed Chinese business leaders on how to do business in Florida. Philip Guo, Peter Quinter and Bradley Gross of Becker & Poliakoff, along with Enterprise Florida's Gary Schumann, hosted the seminar with the Unitalen law firm, which is also Enterprise Florida's office in China. The group discussed issues like international trade and customs law, intellectual property, technology and business immigration. Mr. Schumann spoke on the advantages of doing business in Florida.
TRADE WITH CUBA: Those counting the minutes to begin doing business with Cuba can learn about exporting to the island at a Nov. 7 lunch seminar hosted by the Florida Foreign Trade Association, City of Miami International Trade Board, Commercial Service of the US Department of Commerce and Enterprise Florida. "Overview of the Office of Foreign Assets Control for Exports and Cuba" will begin at 10 a.m. at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, 1395 NW 57th Ave. It's $25 for members, $30 for others. Speakers include Charles Bishop with the Miami Sanctions Coordinator-Office of Foreign Assets Control-U.S. Treasury Department and Patti Michael with the Office of Export Enforcement-US Department of Commerce. Details: (305) 471-0737.