Written by Miami Today on January 30, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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FLYING STANDBY: Commissioners last week set aside a bid to form a committee that would design an authority to run the county’s four airports. Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler deferred her resolution until the transportation committee, which meets Feb. 13, can analyze it, said Gilbert Cabrera, her aide. Some are unhappy with the latest postponement. Mario Artecona, executive director of Miami Business Forum, said his nonprofit association of 40 businesses will follow the legislation closely but will move forward with its own plan to develop a "truly independent authority."
MALL IN CROSSHAIRS: The Rouse Co., manager of 580,000-square-foot Kendall Town & Country Mall, is weeks from unveiling recommendations to add occupancy and revenues. Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association owns it, but Rouse, which owns and runs Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami and The Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, has managed it since 1988, said Raul Tercilla, Rouse VP. The managing team has about 80,000 square feet of space available, vacant since Mervyn’s department store closed four years ago. The mall consists of enclosed specialty retail space, freestanding retail and box retailers like Ross and Lerner’s New York.
ARROW FLIES: Arrow Air will move an 80,000-square-foot operation from Hialeah to a 43,168-square-foot building at Dallas Airmotive Operation Center, 1740 NW 69th Ave., said Vice President David McElroy. He said Arrow will no longer sell and maintain parts for other airlines. Arrow, one of the nation’s largest cargo lines, will focus on its cargo services, he said. "Selling and storing parts occupied a lot of warehouse space." With two buildings at Miami International, Arrow wanted to be near its operations center in the airport’s cargo area, said Ron Berger, managing director of Industrial Services with Insignia/ESG, which represented landlord Dallas Airmotive. The four-year lease will total $1.1 million.
COALITION EXPANDS: Demand for immigration services has propelled the Hispanic Coalition to open a second office at 3830 SW 137th Ave., using a $75,000 county grant, said Rene QuiÒonez, director and founder. He said County Commissioner Joe Martinez was pivotal in getting the funds. "Our existing office (5659 W Flagler St.) has grown small. We often have more than 50 people in the waiting room." The group provides legal consulting and health-related services for children and families and job placement services for those with work permits. Details: (305) 262-0060.
ANCHORS AWEIGH FOR STUDY: City of Miami planners are considering bringing back a water taxi service to ferry folks around Biscayne Bay and downtown points. They plan to hire a consultant within five months to study waterborne transit and suggest how one could work. "It will happen, I could safely say, before the end of second quarter," said Miami Transportation Coordinator Clark Turner, referring to the study.
NOTTINGHAM CONFIRMED: With a round of applause, the Miami City Commission unanimously confirmed an executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. Commissioner Johnny Winton noted at Thursday’s meeting that the hiring of Dana Nottingham marked the first time in 20 years that the leader of the authority was not a political appointee. Mr. Nottingham, formerly of Nottingham & Associates, a Manassas, VA, planning consultant, told the commission "housing downtown is an absolute priority" for the "catalyst organization." He said he plans partnerships throughout the city to increase livability. He replaces Patti Allen, leader for seven years of efforts to promote economic development in the city’s core, who resigned in March just after Mr. Winton became authority chairman.
DUPONT FALLOUT: Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency plans to start looking for a new headquarters now that its home faces likely destruction. The CRA – a government entity that uses property tax revenue to improve the communities of southeast Overtown, Park West and Omni – has its offices in the Dupont Plaza at Suite 309, 300 Biscayne Blvd. Way. Plans to replace the downtown Dupont Plaza with two or three residential towers should jump forward "in a matter of weeks," according to Bruce Lazar, partner with Dupont owner Lionstone Hotels & Resorts. Frank Rollason, CRA executive director, said Monday he wants the agency within one of the communities it serves.
CORAL WAY TOWER: The Aston, a 15-story, 226-unit condominium once called Coral View, will be done in three months, says Willy Bermello, president and CEO of BAP Development. Bovis built the Art Deco style building at 3000 SW 22nd St., also called Coral Way, which Bermello, Ajamil and Partners designed. The $23 million construction loan was from Union Planters Bank. The one- and two-bedroom condos are priced at $140,000 to $300,000. The sales center, at 2828 Coral Way, Suite 101 in Miami, is to next week. Contact:(305) 529-9122.
SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT: Miami business looking for art may chicken out. For $145 monthly for two years, they can have a rooster stand nearby, like Chicago’s cows a few years ago and Coral Gables’ flamingos. The City of Miami started the campaign in September, said Javier Tabaos, spokesman for Commissioner Joe Sanchez. He said the city, in partnership with Art under the Bridge, headed by Pedro Damian, hopes to sell 250 roosters. So far, he said, 40 are on display. After two years, a sponsor can keep a rooster or donate it for auction to benefit the American Cancer Society. Details: (305) 667-3046.
AD STAR POWER: Advertising Age, the ad industry magazine, hands Coconut Grove-based Crispin Porter & Bogusky a 4-star rating – the highest level – in its agency of the year ratings based on $215 million in new billings in 2002, 138% over its total US billings in 2001. The 15-year-old firm, which had never before contended in the rankings, was one of only three to get the top rating. The firm, at 2699 S Bayshore Drive, is 49% owned by Canada’s Maxxcom.
NEW JOB, NEW DIRECTOR: A former Madison Square Garden concert chief is new entertainment director for the Miami Arena. Already at work, Mitchell Morales is responsible for event booking and marketing the 15,000-seat facility. Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority Executive Director Jim Jenkins said Mr. Morales has "impeccable credentials and many success stories." Among those are more than 10 years of live event and concert experience. Mr. Morales also worked for the William Morris Agency in New York and Los Angeles for three years. He graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s in business administration and lives in North Miami. The authority is landlord of the 13-year-old arena, responsible for providing exhibition space and sponsoring community and sports events.
BAY LINK ON A ROLL: Before a packed house, the Miami Beach city manager’s office gave the strongest backing yet to develop the Bay Link commuter rail to connect downtown Miami and the Beach. City Manager Jorge Gonzalez recommended a two-way, light-rail system crossing Biscayne Bay over the MacArthur Causeway and looping around South Beach via First Street, Washington Avenue, 17th Street and Alton Road. He called last week’s workshop before the city’s Feb. 5 meeting, where commissioners are expected to endorse some form of the plan. Despite a clear majority of commission support and 70% backing by South Beach voters, Mayor David Dermer opposes moving forward and is expected to seek a referendum on the issue.
MANAGER SWAP: Miami City Manager Carlos Gimenez starts life in the private sector Feb. 15 as a consultant to international law firm Steel Hector & Davis. Meanwhile, Mayor Manny Diaz picked Joe Arriola, his unpaid consultant who had earlier consulted at $1 a year to the public schools, as the next manager. He was confirmed Tuesday by commissioners. Also a former Miami fire chief, Mr. Gimenez, 49, has been the city’s top administrator for 32 months, overseeing a $500 million budget. According to the law firm, he will assist clients in corporate relocation, reorganization, expansion and government incentive packages and will work with attorneys and consultants in the firm’s Tallahassee office.
PULLING PUNCHES: During Tuesday’s confirmation of Joe Arriola as Miami city manager, the city commission touched on his well-known temper. He said he has learned from his mistakes and credits his wife with helping him keep it in check. The city commission found no fault with Mr. Arriola’s admitted hot blood, but Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr. did make it a point to request he not "punch any of the commissioners." Perhaps Mr. Teele has learned from his own mistakes, like one in 1994 where he caught a little flak after landing a blow on lobbyist Rick Sisser.
ADDING JOBS: Led by growth in construction, government and business services, Miami-Dade County added 18,500 jobs in December compared with a year earlier, leading the state in employment growth for eight of the last nine months reported, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce. The county’s year-on-year job growth represented nearly 30% of the state’s total 61,800 new payroll jobs in December.
ARENA-BAYSIDE LINK: A footbridge linking Bayside Marketplace and American Airlines Arena is still alive, though a recent design flopped, said Raul Tercilla, VP of the Rouse Co., Bayside owner. The skywalk over Port Boulevard would have connected Bayside’s northeast corner to the arena’s southeast, near Bongos Cuban CafÈ. The bridge would result from a partnership among Rouse, the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and arena tenant the Miami Heat. He said the Heat, which didn’t return calls, has commissioned a new study for a bridge along Biscayne Boulevard. "People walking on Biscayne Boulevard could use the bridge to cross the port highway." He said he hopes to hear from the Heat in a couple of months.
MILITARY BRIDGE: The US Southern Command began building a footbridge over a canal to link its headquarters with the Miami Branch Federal Reserve Bank building, 3511 NW 91st Ave., said spokesman Raul Duany. He said that will let employees use the bank’s cafeteria and recreational facilities. About 900 military members, 400 federal civilian employees and 170 government contractors work at Southcom. To be built in 150 days, the 200-foot-long overpass will cost about $384,000, with $250,000 from the Florida Defense Alliance, an advisory group for Enterprise Florida. Miami-Dade County is to pay the rest.