Written by Miami Today on December 26, 2002
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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JOB GROWTH TOPS STATE: Miami-Dade County’s addition of jobs in November, up 15,900 from a year earlier, led employment growth among all Florida counties, the Beacon Council said this week. The state as a whole added 43,300 jobs, so Miami-Dade’s gain was more than 37% of the state total. The Jacksonville area added 5,200 jobs in the period, Palm Beach County 6,900, Orlando area 2,600 and Tampa Bay 5,900. Broward County lost 4,400 jobs. Miami-Dade’s unemployment figures declined from 8% in October 2001 to 7.2% this October as jobs grew more rapidly than the labor force, the council noted in its quarterly economic report.
SETAI TOPS OFF: The 40-story Setai condo at 20th Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach topped off last week at more than 80% sold, said Jonathan Breene, who is on the team developing the property. The 175 units are priced from just above $700,000 to $12 million. Opening is targeted for late 2003.
BAR OPENING: The Florida Bar is seeking applicants for one of the two non-attorney posts on its governing board for a two-year term beginning June 27. Travel and related expenses are paid to attend meetings in Tallahassee for 200 to 300 hours per year. Florida’s bar is one of only eight in the nation with non-lawyer members. Deadline is Jan. 31. Details: (850) 561-5600, ext. 6802.
MAYORS’ CHAIRS: Planning is already underway and will accelerate in March for the 2003 Mayors’ Summit of the Americas, said Joe Carollo, former mayor of Miami and one of the organizers. No site has yet been chosen for the conference, which will occur near year’s end, he said. There have been changes in the event’s board of directors as some participants no longer hold elected office, he said, but he said he’s confident the planning process will go forward.
MERCIFUL RATE: Got a relative in Mercy Hospital? Through Jan. 3, Sonesta Hotel & Suites in Coconut Grove is offering two free nights to relatives of those hospitalized in Mercy – up to four persons to a room. To avert scams, the hotel will be checking with the admitting office at Mercy. Reservations: (305) 529-2828.
SPENDING TIME: If the family that spends together stays together, the Village of Bal Harbour wants to be a family place. It’s offering a "Material Girls" package to moms and daughters who will shop together till they drop. For $499 a night, they’ll tuck moms and daughters in at the Sheraton Bal Harbour, give each two spa treatments plus a beauty makeover at Neiman Marcus, a Saks gift certificate and a book of coupons for the Bal Harbour Shops and environs. It all ends, fittingly, May 11 – Mothers Day. Details: 1-800-999-9898.
STILL KICKING: The City of Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority still hopes to lure the Toyota Cup soccer contest between European and South American club winners. While this year the single-game championship match stayed in Japan – it was played in Yokohama this month – authority Executive Director and CEO Jim Jenkins said he’s still optimistic about Miami’s chances. "We’re not out. We’re having some preliminary dialogue, but nothing more concrete. There was some interest a few months ago." Bringing a tennis academy is also under consideration, he said. "We’re still studying that and would have to present it to the board. We would have to buy property to build the court."
NO RACE IN WORK: Raceworks, promoter of the Grand Prix of the Americas, has yet to present the City of Miami with information needed to complete a city internal audit to determine how much the city should get in an event tickets surcharge. Raceworks’ deadline to pay the $1 surcharge was Dec. 5. Raceworks did pay on time $50,000 in usage fee and $50,000 to the Bayfront Park Management Trust, said Frank Rollason, an assistant city manager. Chuck Martinez, event executive director, said Raceworks also paid the city $440,000 for public services while the event generated for Miami about $180,000 in parking surcharge funds.
MINORITY BIDS EASED: The Miami-Dade County Commission has softened prerequisites for minority-owned businesses interested in bidding on county contracts. A new ordinance reduces the time blacks, Hispanics and women must wait to bid on contracts after previously being awarded county work. "It was important for the county to address this issue," said Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler. "The ordinance promotes diversity in the workforce."
TRAURIG HONORED AGAIN: The Greater Miami Jewish Federation will present its Friend of Israel Humanitarian Award to attorney Robert H. Traurig for the second time at a Jan. 16 dinner. Last year the award was presented to Rudolph Guiliani, former mayor of New York. Mr. Traurig is a founder of Greenberg Traurig, South Florida’s largest law firm. The dinner will be at the Fontainebleau Hilton. Details: (305) 576-4000, ext. 218
FLORIDA FOCUS: Miami Beach-based Fifteen Asset Management announced last week the acquisition of 46 multifamily communities totaling more than 14,000 residential units across 10 states. The company is an affiliate of Miami Beach rental property management firm Fifteen Asset Group, which manages affordable housing communities in major US growth markets. Fifteen Asset, which did not disclose the acquisition price, is focusing on rental markets in Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Alabama.
GABLES CHANGES: Boston-based investment firm Brookwood Financial Partners paid $17 million in cash last week for Gables CitiTower, an 11-story office building in downtown Coral Gables at 999 Ponce De Leon Blvd. The class B property, formerly owned by UBS Realty Investors, is 91% occupied by small and large commercial tenants including American Airlines, which maintains a branch office. Brookwood Financial, founded in 1993, specializes in acquiring undervalued real estate in high job-growth areas throughout the US.
HOSPITAL REHABS: North Miami’s Parkway Regional Medical Center last week announced a $5 million capital improvement plan to upgrade and renovate the hospital. Spending is earmarked for hundreds of new beds as well as medical technology and building renovations. "We are committed to patient satisfaction and these renovations will enhance patient care immensely," said Paul Walker, chief executive officer. Patient benefits include a $1.2 million catheterization lab, a new heartburn center and an upgraded maternity unit. All plans are to phase in during the next two years.