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Front Page » FYI Miami » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by on October 31, 2002

BUDGET GAP: A month into its fiscal year members have yet to pass a budget for the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority. Finance Director Ferey Kian said a workshop will be scheduled for next week and a budget might be approved by Nov. 14, but for now it’s still up in the air. The reason? Members are still working out how last year’s takeover of management of the Miami Arena affects the budget. The authority is still weighing the hiring of a firm to manage the 13-year-old arena. As landlord, the authority is responsible for providing exhibition space and sponsoring community and sports events. The workshop should help the budget process, but until then, the authority operates without one.

EXPRESS DEAL: American Express Bank, aiming to expand South Florida private banking, bought Miami-based Schroder & Co. Trust Bank, the Latin America arm of Schroders Private Bank, at an undisclosed price. "American Express Bank aims to capitalize on Schroder’s extensive Latin American client portfolio plus about eight management-level employees," said spokesman Lee Middleton from New York. "This allows us to broaden our distribution in Latin America through their client base and increases our product line," Schroder’s mutual fund products. American Express already does significant private banking in Miami with about 100 employees on Brickell Avenue. Schroder sold in order to focus on European private banking, a bank press release said.

BIG FIVE: Strengthening Florida’s public universities is one of the state’s top five priorities over the next quarter century, US Sen. Bob Graham told a breakfast meeting at the Miami City Club on Tuesday in seeking support for his proposed state constitutional amendment to restore a statewide governance of universities. Asked for the other four top priorities, he ticked off use of water resources, care of an aging population, building relations with Latin America and strengthening lower levels of education.

VENTURING ONLINE: Florida entrepreneurs can apply online at to attend the Florida Venture Capital Conference sponsored by the Florida Venture Forum Jan. 15-16 in Orlando. The annual conference profiles 20-25 high-growth Florida firms to investors. The statewide non-profit forum recently added three directors: Gary Andresen, vice president of the Technology and Life Sciences Division at banking institution Comerica; Donald A. DiFrisco, CEO of forensics manufacturer Cross Match Technologies, and Gus Smith, partner with accounting firm KPMG.

CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP: Miami-based Miller & Solomon has landed a $150 million project to build a Bal Harbour luxury condo for local developer Martin Margulies. The 24-story Bellini on the Ocean, already under construction at 10225 Collins Ave., will be Miller & Solomon’s third project with Mr. Margulies, having last built The Grand Bay Residences Phase 1 and 2 on Key Biscayne. Founded in 1954, Miller & Solomon is one of the largest general contractors in South Florida.

MUSEUM’S MAIN MEN: It’s not easy keeping track of a 39-member advisory board. That’s why the Wolfsonian Museum at Florida International University on Miami Beach has created the position of president. First to hold that office is Ray Marchman, former Northern Trust Bank VP who retired this year, according to museum director Cathy Leff. In addition, founder and president of Dacra Development Craig Robins and Fred Hochberg, former assistant director of the Small Business Administration, were named vice chairs. Mitchell Wolfson Jr. – museum founder and president of The Wolfson Initiative Corp. – was re-elected chairman.

BIG ON SMALL LOANS: The US Small Business Administration South Florida District hit record lending levels in the year ended Sept. 30, lending $568.9 million to 2,084 businesses. It’s South Florida’s third straight record year of loan approvals to small business. The district extends federally-backed small and micro business loans in 24 counties, primarily south of Orlando.

DEAD FISH: Fishbone Grille, 650 S Miami Ave., will close its doors Friday after a 12-year run as one of Brickell’s popular eateries, said spokeswoman Alys Daly. Long-time Executive Chef David Bracha recently bought the place and plans to transform it into an urban-style bar and wood grill. The River, as it will be named, is to open Dec. 15. "The River Wood Grill and Bar is right for what the neighborhood is now becoming," said Mr. Bracha. "Our casual-chic ambiance, full bar and creative cuisine will offer an alternative to South Beach that doesn’t currently exist in the Brickell or Downtown Miami area. Our Fishbone clientele is very supportive."

DUTCH SHOWCASE: The Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce of Florida and the Netherlands Association of South Florida are holding the 11th annual Dutch American Heritage Day from 4-8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami downtown. Dutch and American companies will showcase products at a trade and art show to be part of the celebration. Netherlands is one of the US’s largest investors. Some of its companies with bases in Florida are ABN AMRO Bank, Martinair, Van der Valk and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Event fees are $75 for members, $100 for others. Part of the proceeds will go to a Netherlands Florida Scholarship Foundation. The North Dade Regional Chamber of Commerce is helping host the event.

JUST DO IT: Ram Charan, co-author of the best selling book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, told a group of CEOs Tuesday that the secret to success is in executing rather than in the strategic planning. His book is on how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered. An adviser to senior executives, Mr. Charan was a guest speaker at a breakfast meeting in Coral Gables put together by StrataSys, a strategy consulting and IT solutions provider, and the Florida International University’s graduate school of business.

TERRORISM’S FALLOUT: The International Roundtable will assess how global terrorism has affected Greater Miami’s business environment, travel and confidence at 5 p.m. Nov. 7 at the sponsoring JW Marriott, 1109 Brickell Ave. Panelists are Stuart Blumberg, CEO of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association; Faith Gay, partner with White & Case; Jack Lowell, chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and Timothy Murphy, president of the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Reservations: (305) 358-2663.

FIRST HONORS: It may not be common knowledge that the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium has developed innovative youth programs, but it caught the attention of the White House. Reps traveled to Washington to receive the National Award for Museum Service. First Lady Laura Bush did the honors, presenting the award Tuesday to Dr. Judy Brown, senior VP for program development and research. "It was absolutely thrilling," said Ms. Brown. Museum’s programs include BioTRAC, which exposes students to post-secondary study and careers in biomedical science; the Upward Bound Math and Science Center, offering college preparation, science enrichment and mentoring; and GREAT (Girls Redesigning and Excelling in Advanced Technology).

PRESIDENT’S BEST FRIEND: During her trip to the White House Tuesday to help accept the award, Louise Valdes-Fauli, chair of museum’s trustees, said she found Laura Bush "very warm and engaging." She praised the paintings inside the White House as "very emotional" and said the residence felt very much like a home. But perhaps it was what she found outside that reminded her of her own home. Mrs. Valdes-Fauli said she spotted First Dog Barney, the President’s Scottish terrier, playing with a ball on the lawn. "I’m going to tell my dogs about it."

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