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Front Page » FYI Miami » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by on May 8, 2003


Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead

of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.

ONE DOWN: Miami city commissioners last week approved University of Miami’s School of Medicine plans for a clinical research building. A multi-use special permit was granted for two structures at 1150 NW 14th St. – a 15-story office building adjacent to an 11-story parking garage topped by a two-level wellness center. The project is estimated to cost about $73.1 million, will create 1,400 jobs and generate about $4.1 million annually in tax revenue. The 400,000-square-foot project will consolidate clinical research activities now spread among at least four other buildings on the university’s medical campus, said Norman Altman, vice provost for research and senior associate dean. It’s the first of many buildings in a 1 million-square-foot expansion plan.

TWO-FER: Friday was a big day for R. Donahue Peebles. The same day it was reported that he had bought 13 acres in Atlantic City, NJ, to develop a hotel, the executive committee of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau voted unanimously to make the developer of the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza and the Bath Club chairman of the board. He’ll take office at the annual meeting in November, replacing two-term chairman and Miami Beach hotelier Tony Goldman. They have something else in common: Mr. Goldman also holds hotel properties in the Northeast.

MIAMI BEACH IN FINALS: Miami Beach last week became one of 30 finalists for the 2003 All-America City Award – the only municipality selected in Miami-Dade County. The award is the nation’s oldest honor for civic excellence, recognizing communities in which citizens, government, business and non-profit organizations demonstrate successful collaboration on community improvement. The runoff for finalists is June 12-14 in Washington, when 10 winners will be announced.

OFFER REJECTED: Renzo Renzi of Renzi Development recently offered to buy Constructa Realty’s Mary Brickell Village site, planned for a mixed-use project to feature cafes, shops and a 35-story residential. "Things are alive and well, and I wouldn’t rule out any beautiful possibilities," he said. "But they (Constructa) are very reserved and asked to keep things quiet. I respect that." Constructa would not comment on a possible sale in calls to its Miami Beach office, but a third-party spokesman said the company has turned down the offer and does not plan to reconsider.

METER BY METER: Notice anything different while parking along Biscayne Boulevard this week? That’s the first area targeted by the Miami Parking Authority for a new parking-meter system identical to those used in Miami Beach; Portland, OR; Savannah, GA; and Toronto. The old electronic meters have been swapped for solar-powered meters that accept credit cards and issue receipts for drivers to display in their cars. The authority operates five garages, 61 lots and about 17,000 spaces for the city.

REDISCOVER WATSON ISLAND: Redevelopment plans for the manmade island between Miami and Miami Beach will be the topic of conversation at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning Miami breakfast May 15 at Parrot Jungle Island. Speakers will include City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Parrot Jungle Island General Manager Barbara Ibarra, Miami Children’s Museum Debbie Spiegelman, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO William Talbert II and a representative from Flagstone Properties, developers of the proposed $281 million Island Gardens project. Details: (305) 577-5460 or (305) 577-5462.

PLANS FOR STUART: Lee Rawlinson, Miami-Dade County’s assistant planning director, must have had mixed emotions last week as more than 200 senior Realtors at the Master Brokers Forum applauded plans he has coordinated to create a new downtown for Kendall. The day before, he sold his home and will move to Stuart in three months – where he’ll retire after 30 years with the county, the last eight in his current job. He’s already drawn up plans for Stuart – for boating and fishing.

UP AND OUT: Though Coldwell Banker Realtor Pat Klock Parker, co-chairwoman of the Master Brokers Forum with Christopher Zoller of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, had helped set up the panel Mr. Rawlinson was on, she hadn’t realized until hours before that the man she’d put on the podium was the same man whose home sale she had just brokered.

BARKING BUILDINGS: Developer Lissette Calderon got a signature amenity for her Miami River projects that has fans howling in delight – dog parks. Her NEO Lofts project has a 10,000-square-foot, dog bone-shaped running path with drinking and washing stations, and she plans to build another one for NEO Vertika, a 36-story, 443-unit project with 20,000 square feet of retail space. The idea was inspired by Zeus, her St. Bernard and Mastiff mix and fashioned for her market – young professionals who don’t want to abandon their pooches to live in the urban core. Residents and their animals will move into NEO Lofts in November. NEO Vertika is set to open at the end of 2006.

AIDS CONFERENCE: More than 1,500 researchers, clinicians, social workers, health experts and leaders fighting HIV/AIDS attended a four-day conference at the Inter-Continental Miami hosted by the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Miami has the second-highest rate of any US metropolitan area, with Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach third and fourth, according to the foundation. Since 1985, the foundation has used nearly $207 million in support of its programs and awarded grants to more than 1,960 research teams.

AVIATION SCHOLARS: The Greater Miami Aviation Association has awarded 11 scholarships to Florida college students. The awards, funded by the Grover Loening Scholarship Fund, are to be presented at the association’s monthly luncheon at 11:30 a.m. May 14 at Miami Springs Country Club. Details: (305) 215-4622.

MR. DIAZ GOES TO WASHINGTON: Miami-Dade County Commissioner JosÈ "Pepe" Diaz traveled to Washington this week to try to secure money for the Americas Business Forum, scheduled for Nov. 8. The Americas Business Forum and related free-trade ministerial meetings, scheduled for Nov. 17-21 in Miami, will cost about $11 million, according to organizers. The events will be crucial to securing the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement that would eliminate quotas and tariffs among 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Diaz traveled with about a dozen other area leaders including Chuck Cobb, chairman of Florida FTAA, a statewide non-profit based in Coral Gables formed to promote Miami for the trade area’s headquarters.

TEE IT UP: Part of the proceeds from the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s golf tournament May 16 will go to scholarships for low-income Hispanic students at Miami Beach Senior High School’s Academy of Travel and Tourism. A dinner with awards and a live auction are planned. The cost is $150 per golfer, or $40 for dinner only. Details: (305) 534-1903.

SELLING IT: Sales at Sayan condominium on Sunny Isles Beach have hit 80% in six months. The 30-story tower will rise from 16275 Collins Ave., former site of Mandalay Motel. The South Seas-inspired project, developed by Yosi Gil of J. Milton and Associates in Coral Gables, will offer 84 units – from 1,235 to 3,420 square feet – and six penthouses at more than 4,000 square feet. Prices range from $467,000 to $3.8 million. Construction is to begin in June and take 18 months.

MARLINS VP: The Florida Marlins named Sean Flynn vice president of marketing. "Sean is highly skilled and specializes in product marketing and management, making him a valuable addition to our organization," said David Samson, Marlins president. Mr. Flynn was vice president of marketing for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League. The Coconut Grove resident is a graduate of St. Thomas University in Miami, where he earned a master’s degree in sports administration.

REDRAWING THE LINES: A public workshop on the redistricting of Miami City Commission districts will be held at 10 a.m. today during the board’s meeting at City Hall. Because of the results of the 2000 Census, the city must reapportion districts. A copy of the Miami’s status report and draft of the new areas is on the city’s Web site at

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