Written by Miami Today on May 29, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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ASTAR IS BORN: DHL Airways, which is in the process of moving its headquarters from Chicago to Miami, is also changing its name to Astar Air Cargo – pronounced "a star." New Chairman John Dasburg, who had lived in Miami-Dade County as head of Burger King and kept his Key Biscayne home, said Tuesday the corporation will also move to become a global air cargo charter leader beyond its prime customer, German-owned DHL Worldwide Express. The airline faces challenges from DHL competitors FedEx and UPS, who allege the splitting off of the airline from the express company is a sham. US airlines cannot by law have more than 25% foreign ownership. Mr. Dasburg is leading an investor group purchasing all shares of the airline. Tuesday’s announcement said that transaction should be complete by June 30.
HOMES COSTLIER, SALES FEWER: Resales of single-family homes in the Miami area cost 20% more in April than in April 2002 – far above the statewide increase of 11%. In Miami, 12% fewer homes were sold while 5% more sales were made statewide than a year earlier. The average resale by a real-estate agent here in April was for $211,000, the Florida Association of Realtors reported Tuesday – up from $175,400. In Fort Lauderdale, the average single-family resale was for $217,100, up 15% from April 2002′s $189,100. The average resale home in the state in April brought $151,900. The median price five years before that was $97,900, so prices rose 55.1% in the five-year span.
SCHOOL GROWTH: Palmer Trinity School plans to add 32 acres to its campus in the village of Palmetto Bay. The school’s board of trustees announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the parcel known as Hester Grove, at 8001 SW 184th St., adjoining the current property. The Episcopal school has long-range plans to build a fine-arts center. The school was established in 1991 after a merger of Palmer School, founded in 1973, and Trinity Episcopal School, founded in 1983.
IVAX INHALING TECH FIRM: Miami-based IVAX Corp. announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Advanced Tobacco Products Inc., an inhalation technology company. Advanced’s technology is used in the Nicotrol/Nicorette inhaler marketed by Pfizer Inc. to those who want to stop smoking. IVAX develops and manufactures generic pharmaceuticals and veterinary products.
KEY CATCH: The Keyes Co. has merged with America Real Estate, absorbing 40 of America’s associates into its Sunset/Kendall and Kendall/Pinecrest offices. Enrique Suarez, owner of America Real Estate and a former Keyes associate, has joined Keyes as a Realtor.
GOLD STAR: Center Group was honored Friday with the US Department of Commerce Export Achievement Award for its increase in services exports. Center Group, 600 Brickell Ave., offers foreign business administration and outsourced management of foreign companies. The presentation came during World Trade Week, a national promotion of international trade and exporting.
CODE ORANGE: Miami city police are stepping up watch around the city’s hotels and other areas that might be considered at risk for terror attacks. Police Chief John Timoney briefed city commissioners Thursday on how police handle an upgrade of the national threat level, which was raised May 20 from elevated to high risk, or Level Orange. Certain locations will get 24-hour security, and Chief Timoney said officers will increase their watch at hotels after recent information specifically mentioned hotels as possible targets.
POLICE SHORTAGE: Chief Timoney also told commissioners that he expects an unusually high number of officers to leave the force this year. He projected that 120, or 10% of the force, will leave. Typically, 30 officers leave in a year, he said. The force now has 30-40 vacancies, he said.
EVICTION PERMISSION: Miami can’t evict a tenant on its property without city commission direction, officials were told Thursday. City Attorney Alex Vilarello said no ordinance allows the attorney’s office to pursue eviction without the green light from elected officials. The issue came up as commissioners approved removal of occupants at city-owned property on the 400 block of Southwest Eighth Avenue. The city plans to sell the land.
CONCERT CHAIRMAN: Chaim Katzman, chief executive officer of real-estate investment trust Equity One, has been elected chairman of the Concert Association of Florida, a non-profit organization that promotes classical-music and dance concerts. Mr. Katzman’s Miami Beach-based company owns several grocery- and drugstore-anchored shopping centers in Florida and the South. He holds a law degree from Tel Aviv University. The Concert Association is one of four performance companies that are to anchor the now-rising performing arts center straddling Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami.
NEW STATION: An extension of Metrorail is to open Friday during a ceremony. The opening of a new station in Medley, west of the Northwest 74th Street exit on Palmetto Expressway (State Road 826), marks completion of the Palmetto Extension Project. Passenger service starts at 1 p.m., and all service and parking at the station will be free until June 29. It is the first new station since 1989 and the 22nd in the system. The project, started in July 1999, cost $87.8 million.
FLY YOUR FLAG: Condo owners, regardless of association rules, can fly flags representing any of the armed services on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day, according to one of four bills signed Friday by Gov. Jeb Bush in observance of Memorial Day. Military personnel have been protected from paying liquidated damages to landlords if they have been given a permanent change of station orders. That bill also prevents landlords from discriminating against members of the armed forces. Two other bills addressed veterans affairs and the education of military children.
BANK SHIFTS EXECUTIVE: Bank of America on Tuesday named Maria Alonso senior vice president/market development manager for the Miami-Dade market, replacing departed banking veteran Obdulio Piedra. She is to coordinate local philanthropic efforts, manage events and sponsorships and link with opinion leaders. She joined the bank eight years ago, was most recently marketing product manger for the International Private Banking Group and earlier was the national as well as Florida Hispanic marketing manager.
KID TALK: Experts on early childhood education will discuss early literacy, dual language acquisition, the importance of bilingualism and the latest trends in care for children – with some session in Spanish and some in Creole as well as sessions in English – at Miami-Dade Community College’s downtown campus June 14. Keynote speaker Lesley Morrow, chair of education at Rutgers University and president of the International Reading Association, will talk about how to tie language arts in throughout the school day. The conference is from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in Building 3, Room 3210, of the Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave. Fees range from $25-$55. Details: (305) 237-7683.
NEW HOME BASE: Gordon M. Messinger, a former Codina Realty Services executive, has joined Alliance Companies as associate director, focusing on leasing and sales in Airport West and regionally. Before Codina, he has managed business development for CBS Sportline Inc. in Fort Lauderdale and 24/7 Media Inc. in New York City.
GLOBAL BANKING: How global changes are affecting international banking in Miami will be the focus of a June 19 breakfast session of the International Roundtable. Panelists are Bowman Brown, head of financial services practice at law firm Shutts & Bowen; JosÈ ValdÈs-Fauli, president and CEO, Colonial Bank, South Florida Region; Thomas P. Noonan, president and CEO of BAC Florida Bank and first vice president of the Florida International Bankers Association; and Peter R. Wallin, head of organization of Standard Bank Group. Colonial Bank and Miami Today will present the roundtable at Colonial Bank, 1200 Brickell Ave., 10th floor. Details and reservations: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.