Written by Miami Today on February 20, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
UNABRIDGED: The Southwest Second Avenue Bridge may be ready for traffic as soon as April, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The $43.5 million project is nearing completion and soon drivers may be able to use it to cross the Miami River. The finished bridge will boast twice as many lanes and higher clearance for ships sailing underneath, which in turn will reduce the number of times the bridge must be opened daily, department spokeswoman Darling Jarquin said Tuesday.
LINK TO BAYLINK?: The Miami-Dade County Commission is to decide March 11 whether to analyze feasibility of expanding the downtown Metromover into the proposed BayLink transit line. The proposal, which got preliminary support two weeks ago, came from Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who is also vice chair of the transportation subcommittee. If constructed, BayLink would probably stretch across Biscayne Bay from downtown Miami to South Beach.
CHAMBER DRIVE: The South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its 2003 membership drive with a dinner March 6 at Almanara restaurant. The chamber, based in Miami Beach, started nine years ago and has grown to more than 400 members. Almanara is at the Radisson Mart Hotel, 711 NW 72nd Ave. Details: Linnette Hernandez, director of membership services, (305) 534-1903.
GOING DOWNHILL: Next month the Miami City Commission will skip its first meeting and meet only March 27 because Chairman Johnny Winton is heading to Crested Butte, CO, for a ski vacation. Commissioners debated whether to cancel or postpone the session. Commissioner Angel Gonzalez offered Mr. Winton another option: You can take us with you. BANKUNITED ADDS AT TOP: BankUnited on Tuesday announced the addition of two more executive vice presidents, Douglas D. Sawyer in wealth management and Carlos Fernandez-Guzman in marketing. Mr. Sawyer spent 20 years at SunTrust. Mr. Fernandez-Guzman most recently was executive vice president and COO of Xtec Inc., a Miami-based technology company. Earlier he was senior marketing officer for American Savings Bank of Florida and senior vice president of Consolidated Bank.
HOME SALES SOAR: Single-family home sales in Miami-Dade County climbed 15% to over 3,000 in the fourth quarter of 2002 compared to the same period last year. The rise, although significant, was still below the state average of 16% growth, led by Greater Fort Lauderdale, which increased 18%, and Naples, which jumped 37% in single-family home sales measured year-on-year.
HOMESTEAD HOMES: A panel of land-use experts will discuss residential growth in Homestead at a roundtable organized by the Vision Council, South Miami-Dade s economic development agency. Former Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin, who is chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean Council, will moderate at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Great Room of the Aviation Training Center (Building F) at Miami-Dade Com ty College s Homestead Campus. Details: (305) 247-7082.
LEVITT IN TOWN: Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, is to speak at the University of Miami’ s School of Business at 3 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Drive. The longest-serving former
SEC chairman, Mr. Levitt is promoting his book, "Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don t Want You to Know What You Can Do to Fight Back."
CARIBBEAN CONNECTION: Miami must start kissing up to leaders of 17 Caribbean nations if the community really wants to secure the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr. said at Thursday s city meeting. The agreement, aimed at eliminating quotas and tariffs, would be signed by the 34 Western Hemi sphere nations from Canada to Argentina except Cuba in late 2005. Mr. Teele said he fears Atlanta is ahead of Miami in lobbying the island nations. Each would vote on a headquarters site, creating a powerful voting bloc. He proposed the city spend $3,500 to woo the prime minister of the Bahamas the next time he comes to town and host an informational workshop on the trade area.
LATIN AMERICAN FUTURE: The Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce in Florida on Feb. 25 will host Jose Piera, of the think tank Cato Institute of Washington, for a luncheon talk. The event will begin at noon at Inter-Continental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza. Considered an expert in Latin American issues, Mr. Piera will discuss ways to lead Latin America out of its current situation, said Lita Haeger, association president. This conference is aimed at those who are concerned about the future of the region, she said. Fee of $32 goes to the association at 260 Crandon Blvd, Suite 32-136, Key Biscayne. 33149. Reservations are required. Details: (305) 365-7247.
MENU CHANGE: Chris Clouser, executive VP and global marketing officer and president of Burger King Brands, is to retire May 1, Burger King announced Tuesday. He led several global marketing functions and eventually played a key role in the eight-month-long sale process completed in December when Diageo sold Burger King to a group comprised of Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Most of the old management had already departed. He was not available for comment.
STEELY STRUCTURE: The structural engineers of the Dolphin Mall received firstt-place awards for the shopping center s steel construction. The Steel Joist Institute praised Miami-based Bliss & Nyitray Inc. for out standing design in steel joist construction and the project s value and aesthetics during its 2003 Design Awards.
The 1.6 million-square-foot mall is west of Miami International Airport. Founded in 1928, the Steel Joist Institute is a non-profit organization that develops standards for joists, which are the beams that support a floor or ceiling.
LULA AND BRAZIL: Brazil and the first 60 days of the Lula da Silva administration are the focus of a roundtable discussion organized by the Florida International Bankers Association. Brazil: The Post Election Out look, will take place at noon Feb. 26 at the JW Marriott Hotel, 1109 Brickell Ave. Speakers include Sebastiao Cunha, director of Banco Santos, and Enrique Hidalgo-Noriega, senior research associate with Geopolitical Risk, who will examine the country s new presidency in light of evolving political, economic and social challenges. Cost, including lunch and hand-outs, is $35. Details: (305) 579-0086.