Written by Miami Today on February 6, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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DOWNTOWN TOWERS DEAL: Terra International is days away from striking a deal with MDM Development Group to build a cluster of mixed-use towers on six acres of parking lots in the heart of downtown Miami, Terra President Pedro Martin says. Under the agreement, he said, Terra would build one condo tower on the southwest corner of the site, directly north of Dupont Plaza, while MDM would develop the remaining three buildings including two residential towers and an entertainment center.
TAPPED OUT: The Miami Beach International World of Beer Festival vows to return again next year after bringing 5,000 brew fans to South Beach for a three-day festival last week. Organizer Melissa Frantz noted that more than 700 tickets were pre-sold, what she called an unheard of number in outdoor events where most attendees pay the same day. The Ocean Drive beachfront event also exposed local clubs and restaurants to a more diverse array of ales and lagers. "South Beach really isn’t known as a beer town," she said. She hopes the event will change that, with many exhibitors already agreeing to tap the keg again next year. Brewers came from as far as the United Kingdom, with more than 300 beers from 48 countries available for sampling.
FLYING OFF: Lauren Stover has been named manger of public affairs for the Southeast for the US Transportation Security Administration. She had been with Miami-Dade County for 23 years, the past nine managing Miami International Airport’s public affairs office. Marc Henderson of the airport’s public affairs staff will be interim manager of public affairs.
PRIZE PARK: The designs for Margaret Pace Park recently garnered a second-place award from the Gold Coast American Planning Association. Bermello, Ajamil & Partners in conjunction with Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency, created the park at Northeast 18th Street. The 8.25-acre area was transformed into four tennis courts, two soccer fields, a cricket pitch and children’s playground at a cost of $2.9 million. The design incorporates plazas and promenades with picnic shelters and public art. The park was officially opened Jan. 16.
175 NEW JOBS: Two firms announced aggressive expansion plans in Miami-Dade County, adding a combined 175 jobs and more than $8 million in capital investment, the Beacon Council says. High-end electronics manufacturer Alienware Corp. is to build an added 90,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space in the Kendall-Tamiami area and grow 155 fulltime jobs over three years, the company said. Alienware, founded in 1996, grew to over 150 employees by 2002. And Palm Beach-based Agro Soils, a soils blending company for the nursery industry, plans to move to Miami-Dade County, investing $2.2 million in capital in west Miami-Dade and adding 22 jobs over three years.
BUREAU UNDER MICROSCOPE: Miami-Dade County is seeking proposals, due Feb. 21, to assess the performance of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The winning firm will assessed the bureau’s model, governance and efforts to at public relations, sales and marketing to boost tourism and convention traffic in the county. William Talbert III, bureau president, said the review will be done between the county and the City of Miami. He said Miami Beach recently began its own review of the bureau and its consultants interviewed him. He said the Beach report could be done in four months.
TALCA TAPPED: The Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce in Florida added a 41st member, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Services of Talca, Chile. It’s the first chamber outside the USA to be an associate member, said Lita Haeger, association president. The Chilean chamber covers a region prolific in wine, fruit and agricultural products exported worldwide. The Chilean group’s decision to join came after creation of a US and Chile bilateral agreement that promises an increase in exports and "access to American products at more advantageous prices," said Carlos Contreras, president of AtiChile, a consulting firm working for the Talca chamber.
FREE METROMOVER BOOMS: Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, vice chair of the commission’s transportation committee, said Tuesday the number of people riding Metromover weekly jumped 40% between October and November. Rides became free Nov. 6, a day after voters OK’d a half-cent transportation tax. He said the ridership in the period rose 97% weekends. "Every person on the Metromover is one less person on the road driving in a car," said Commissioner Katy Sorenson.
AIRPORT’S AUCTION: Sporting goods, jewelry and toys are among lost-and-found items the Miami-Dade Aviation Department is auctioning at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 8 at 5600 NW 36th St., the third floor. To inspect items beforehand, arrive at 8:30. The department will take cash only and charge a 10% buyer premium. Parking is free. Details: (305) 876-7017.
CLAIMING CREDITS: County Commissioners joined Miami Mayor Manny Diaz in his effort to make low-income families aware of the Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child Care Tax Credits, often unclaimed. In Miami, about $120 million of these credits are unclaimed and in Miami-Dade County about $500 million. Commission Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler told County Manager Steve Shiver to begin a county-wide campaign to advise the public of the benefits. Details: 1-800-829-3676.
ARCHITECTURE AID: Developer Jorge M. Perez, CEO of the Related Group of Florida, has given the University of Miami School of Architecture $1.25 million to help build a new 8,600-square-foot center. It’s to include a lecture hall, exhibit gallery and multi-media equipped classrooms and will raise the architecture program’s profile, a school spokeswoman said. In addition, he has pledged to help raise $250,000 for the center. Groundbreaking is due within a year, the school said.
SPICING THINGS UP: The Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, named for flamboyant New York developer Donald Trump and due to open this spring, has hired a director of social events, Michael Bland.
STAR POWER: Security was tight at the James L. Knight International Center as Latin superstars converged Wednesday for Univision’s 15th annual music awards. "Very high security," said Maria Linares, assistant director of facilities for the University of Miami, which maintains the downtown Miami conference center. "This place is crawling with press." Called "Premio Lo Nuestro A La Musica Latina," the show was created in 1989 to recognize achievement in the Latin music industry in the US in the pop, rock, tropical, regional Mexicana and urbana genres. Univision says the show has become the most-watched television program by Hispanics in the US.