Written by Miami Today on January 9, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
PILOT CITY: Miami is one of four cities selected among 23 urban areas identified by Living Cities, a program than creates opportunities between the government and private sector. "It’s like an enabler," said Robin Reiter-Faragalli, president of the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and board chair of The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development agency. "It’s not good enough to build affordable housing if you don’t build business nearby so those living in a community can work in the same community." Living Cities is part of a pair of community-support entities, The Enterprise Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Members of 17 national funding partners will come to Miami for a three-day meeting Jan. 21 to see how the city can improve its community development programs. The focus will be on the Overtown and East Little Havana.
THE YEARS FLY BY: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Cullom said he plans to continue through his current five-year contract, ending July 16. An automatic six-month extension, he said, could extend his tenure through January 2004. That would carry him into chairman-elect Peter Roulhac’s term and would leave Mr. Roulhac, whose term will end in June 2004, and the next chairman-elect, Allen C. Harper, as the ones to actually handle CEO Cullom’s contract or replacement. If he stays put through the end of Mr. Roulhac’s term, Mr. Cullom’s chamber tenure will total 23 years. It was just late last year that Mr. Cullom said he was looking forward to retirement.
PLANNING PERRINE: Miami-Dade County’s Planning and Zoning Department is holding a workshop to help design the future of Perrine. The study area is west of US 1, east of Southwest 107th Avenue and the C1N Canal, north of Marlin Drive and south of Southwest 168th Street. The planning session is a chance for residents to present ideas and hear comments from experts. Topics could include green space, playgrounds and street lighting, and building a library. The workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 11 at the Perrine CAA Building at 17801 Homestead Ave. Lunch will be provided. Details: (305) 375-2842.
HEALTH CHIEF MOVES ON: The Florida Department of Health is looking for a director for the Miami-Dade County Health Department. Former Director James J. James was recently appointed director of the Center for Disaster Medicine and Emergency Response with the American Medical Association, or AMA. "He will be a tremendous asset to the AMA and their national public health preparedness efforts," said health department Secretary John Agwunobi. Nancy Humbert is serving as acting administrator until a replacement is selected.
MORTGAGE JOB GROWTH: HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. is looking to hire about 100 employees for its Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Gardens branches. The company hopes to hire 57 rookie mortgage bankers, who will provide customers advice about loans, taking loan applications and shepherd loans through HomeBanc’s process to closing. The rest of the new employees will become support staff. Training classes begin Jan. 21. Among HomeBanc’s offices in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, the company plans that "about 200 new hires will occupy space in new or expanded locations," said Patrick Flood, the group’s chairman and CEO. "The rest will occupy space in existing locations." Details: (404) 459-7452 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CULTURAL PASSAGE: The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is offering members a free pass to culture. All 2,000 members will receive Miami Beach museum passes to experience the Bass Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum of Florida and the Wolfsonian-FIU. "The Museum Pass has the added value that prompts members to support these important institutions that are part of the lifeblood of Miami Beach’s unique cultural community," said Michael Milberg, chamber chairman. By consuming culture, residents help support the economic development of the city’s major cultural organizations, said Wolfsonian-FIU director Cathy Leff. Details: (305) 674-1300, ext. 318.
NOT FOR GRANTED: The Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority is taking grant applications for special events, promotions, activities and festivals in July and August that will stimulate tourism by increasing hotel occupancy or will have significant media impact for Miami Beach. Those interested must meet with an authority administrator before Jan. 17. Applications are due Jan. 27 for corrections. The deadline for a completed application is 4 p.m. Feb. 3. Proposals will be considered at a public March authority board meeting. Guidelines and applications: (305) 673-7050.
LET THEM PASS: Travelers eastbound on the Dolphin Expressway, also called State Road 836, will have to deal with construction at the main toll plaza. At 2 p.m. Sunday, all SunPass toll lanes will be moved to the far left side of the main toll plaza, according to the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. This will let users of the pre-paid pass to move through the lanes instead of stopping. Those users must keep left after passing the NW 27th Avenue exit.
NEW BOARD FOR COBB: BankAtlantic Bancorp announced Tuesday that it had appointed D. Keith Cobb, who just concluded a six-year term as a member of the board of directors of the Miami branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, to its board. During a 32-year career with KPMG, Mr. Cobb held senior management posts that included national managing partner-financial services. For the past several years he has been a business consultant to a number of companies. He was vice chairman and CEO of Alamo Rent-A-Car Inc. until its 1996 sale.
PICKING ISLANDS MANAGER: North Bay Village is narrowing its list of candidates to fill its city manager position. The small community of three manmade islands linked by the John F. Kennedy Causeway, or 79th Street, on Biscayne Bay has been without its top administrator since November when Rafael Casals resigned. In the interim, Police Chief Irving Heller has been in charge. Mr. Heller said the city received 28 resumes for the post. A review panel cut the list to five finalists, all from Florida. He said he expects to make a recommendation soon.
IN THE MONEY: Miami-based Terremark Worldwide Inc. has hired Arthur L. Money, an assistant secretary of defense from 1999 to 2001, to head its government division. He will direct the corporation’s strategy for selling products and service to the US government. Earlier, he served as assistant secretary of the Air Force and before that as president of ESL Inc., a subsidiary of TRW.
NEW ASSIGNMENTS: With committee assignments secured, state Sen. Gwen Margolis is mapping strategies to confront what she thinks are key issues in Miami-Dade County, the former county commission chairwoman said. Topping her agenda are elections, medical malpractice and insurance, she said, adding that tourism will need to be fostered. "It’s the lifeblood of the economy. When it’s off everything is off." As for elections, she said workers need more hands-on experience regardless of their language or education level. "You need to match the worker to the task at hand," she said. Prior to the county commission, she was state Senate president. She will serve on six Senate, committees including banking & insurance, ethics & elections, and finance & taxation.
NAME BRANDING: North Miami’s Munisport development has a new name. The development, to be called Biscayne Landing, will feature 5,000 residential units in a mixed-use village concept. The city will maintain ownership of the 190 acres to be developed by Hollywood-based Swerdlow Group in partnership with Boca Developers. The city has yet to approve details of the lease agreement.
GLOBAL PLAYERS: The outlook for global investment in real estate in Miami will be the topic of an International Roundtable Jan. 16 sponsored by Swire Properties and Miami Today. Panelists are Manuela C. Janak, broker-president of International Real Estate Services & Investments Inc. and chairman of the International Council of the Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County; Kimberly A. Kirschner, president of Kirschner Realty International Inc. and deputy world president of the Americas of the International Real Estate Federation; Alan Ojeda, chief executive officer of the Rilea Group; and Stephen L. Owens, president of Swire Properties. The free event is at 5 p.m. at the Courts of Brickell Key, 801 Brickell Key Blvd. Reservations: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.