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Fyi Miami

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Written by on November 28, 2002

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: MDM Development Group has yet to proclaim a new moniker for its $600 million, three-block private development in the center of downtown Miami. The paperwork with the City of Miami still refers to it as One Miami, but that is soon to only be the name of a once-connected, now-separate project just to the east. MDM plans to transform 6 acres of mostly paved parking lots across from Dupont Plaza on the north side of the Miami River into a movie theater, retail and a residential anchor with 1,500 units. The name One Miami is left to the Related Group, which is developing the parcel at 205 S Biscayne Blvd. on the bay and will have 950 residential-unit split between two towers plus a two-story restaurant, cafe and riverwalk. The phrase "One Miami" came from the owners of the four parcels of land that will now become these two separate projects. The Related Group incorporated One Miami into its branding while MDM’s name for its portion is as yet unannounced.

ROCKET’S LAUNCH: Miami-based start-up Florida Express, which was to begin service this week, is now set to launch daily roundtrip service from Miami to the Keys Dec. 13 aboard a high-speed ferry, said President Mark Rosandich. The Island Rocket II, a 65-foot Catamaran from Lake Erie, is to cruise up to 50 mph from Miami’s Bayside and possibly Dinner Key to Islamorada’s Holiday Isle, he said, adding the 70 miles will take 90 minutes and cost $89 roundtrip – $300 unlimited use for the year. "She just came out of season in Sandusky, Ohio, so she’s got some bumps and bruises that we’re taking care of at Norseman Shipyard," he said. "When we brought her down to Miami she got some real looks in the harbor there from people wondering what it was." He said he doesn’t plan to return the vessel to Ohio. Details: www.islandrocket.com/ 1-800-854-8121.

MUNISPORT OK: Swerdlow Group’s plans to develop 176 acres at North Miami’s Munisport site won approval Tuesday night from city commissioners. In April, the city chose Swerdlow to build on the land, originally purchased for a sports complex and then used as a dump. The developer’s proposal later faced voters and commissioners when plans doubled in size and needed exemption from a two-decades-old height restriction. Swerdlow now hopes to build a $1 billion project that could include several 25-story towers and as many as 5,000 residences. North Miami Commissioner Scott Galvin said the board’s 5-0 vote OK’d a development agreement for the land, but the city still must agree to a lease.

CHAMBER GOAL IS GOALS: The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce held its goals conference Saturday at the Roney Palace Beach Resort, but goals have yet to be set. Key topics – parking, traffic, schools, tourism and health care were in the spotlight – are to be sifted by the chamber’s board next month and three goals for the year ahead selected.

HALL MONITORS: Noting that Miami-Dade County municipalities have public works directors who monitor the state of streets, State Rep. Dan Gelber recommended to the Beach goals conference that each city hall designate a staff member to monitor the public schools within that city – and also assess whether the schools are prepared to handle a city’s growth.

SPORTING CHANCE: "We need to diversify our economy," County Commissioner Jimmy Morales, who doesn’t represent the Beach but went to school there, told the goals conference. He wants to lead a new county sports commission with $250,000 in funds to attract youth events. He said he had met the day previously with Broward County’s sports commission head and was told that the first year of its operation the commission generated 100,000 hotel bed nights with those who had come to the county for youth sports competitions.

CIRCLING THE AIRPORT: A committee of Miami-Dade Aviation Department officials and members of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau plan soon to land with suggestions to make Miami International Airport more attractive and friendly to passengers. Maria Sastre, Royal Caribbean International VP of total guest satisfaction services, said the task force will reveal recommendations to improve marketing the county as a destination and airport customer service attitudes in early January. "I cannot give any details at this moment, but stay tuned."

NETHERLANDS EXPANDS: The Netherlands Consulate is more than tripling its space in February, moving to the fifth floor at 701 Brickell Ave., said the Deputy Council General Paul Korff de Gidts. The 13-member staff outgrew the current office at 801 Brickell, he said. He said the consulate hopes next year to add two more staffers and expand its jurisdiction to include the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands. Currently, it handles Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Details: (305) 350-5650.

ARTFUL LEASE: Brazilian painter Romero Britto leased 4,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Falls Business Center at Southwest 129th Terrace and 131st Street for his studio said Josh Rodstein, a broker with Larkin & Schmidt Commercial Real Estate Services who represents the landlord, ZNZ Properties. The center, five blocks from The Falls shopping center, is fully leased with a waiting list, Mr. Rodstein said, at rates of about $8.50 per square foot. The location, surrounded by a residential community and minutes from the Village of Pinecrest, he said, make the center a hot commodity.

ANOTHER CONVERSION: More residential condos are about to enter the market. PMBC Homes and the Roads Developer recently bought Royal Palm Building, at 2400 SW Third Ave. and is working on converting the former apartment building into 42 condos, said Jorge Rawicz, a principal with PMBC. The joint venture is remodeling the $5.4 million property and selling the condo units at $150,000 to $250,000. Units range from 700 to 1,200 square feet, he said. The building was completed in 1996. Details: (305) 856-7575.

NO RISK, NO GAIN: Hoping to double last year’s holiday sales, Out of Africa this week opened a holiday season store at Dadeland Mall. "The temporary store will stay open through New Year’s Eve and complement sales at the permanent Coconut Grove location," said David Collins, Out of Africa owner and manager. "Dadeland is a great Christmas mall with a huge flow-through of shoppers. It’s not driven by movies or other destination concepts, but by shopping." The African crafts vendor said he expects to gross about $50,000 at each site in December, doubling his normal holiday month intake. As for paying extra overhead in a tight economy: "Even the Dalai Lama points out if there’s not a little risk, there’s very little chance of success."

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