Written by Miami Today on November 6, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
TRANSIT MONEY WOES: Members of the half-penny sales tax watchdog group say they are skeptical that Miami-Dade Transit will see a 24% increase in fare revenue projected in the county’s 2003-04 budget. Since there has been little increase in Metrorail ridership during the past year, it’s unlikely the extra revenue will exist, said members of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust. Members said last week that they are concerned that revenue from the sales tax approved by voters last year will be tapped if there is a county budget shortfall.
AIRPORT PARKING FEES FLY: Parking rates at Miami International Airport have increased for the first time in six years. Long-term parking rose from $10 to $12 a day; short-term parking is unchanged. The increase was part of the 2003-04 budget approved in September by the Miami-Dade County Commission.
AIRPORT OPPORTUNITY: The Miami Dade Aviation Department is inviting businesses interested in working with Miami International Airport’s North and South Terminal concessions-development program to an industry review meeting Friday at Miami Airport Hotel, seventh floor, Concourse E, Conference Room E, at the airport. The program will offer information on retail, food and beverage and special concessions opportunities. Details: (305) 876-7017.
GABLES BREAK: Developer Dayco announced plans to break ground soon on Andalusia, an eight-story, 103-unit residential project one block south of Miracle Mile at 100 Andalusia Ave. in Coral Gables. "Our plans," said Jessica Suarez, Dayco project manager, "are right on schedule." She said Coastal Construction Group would manage construction. Completion is expected in fourth quarter 2004. Beth Butler, vice president and general manager for Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, sales agent for the development, said 55% of the units are pre-sold. Andalusia has one-, two- and three-bedroom units priced from $270,000 to $660,000. It is part of a mixed-used development on a full city block. The project includes office buildings and retail spaces under development by international firm Hines.
AVENTURA DEVELOPMENT: Aventura city commissioners last week approved an 11-story waterfront residential project being developed by Apex Development Group and Planinvest. Construction on the 216-unit development, 3029 NE 188th St., is to start in March, with a December 2005 opening. Prices on the 1,000- to 1,800-square foot units will range from $300,000 to $700,000.
TOURISM GOALS: A more accessible headquarters site and a five-year financing deal with Miami Beach are among goals R. Donahue Peebles offered as he took over as two-year chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau on Friday at Parrot Jungle Island, replacing Tony Goldman. His other goals: market the community as a year-round destination for families as well as being "sexy and hip" and expand the Miami Beach Convention Center – "by the way, not at the expense of a Marlins stadium."
JOBLESS RATE DIPS: Miami’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.2% in September from 7.6% in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor reported last week, meaning 79,900 Miamians were out of work. In August, 85,100 were unemployed. In September 2002, Miami’s rate was 7.6%. Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, had 8% unemployment in September, tops in the nation among urban areas, followed by New York at 7.9%.
NEW DIRECTOR: Tom David, ex-chief of staff to former Miami-Dade County manager Steve Shiver, has joined property-development group Alliance Companies. Mr. David, a licensed commercial agent, will concentrate on development, investment and brokerage activities in South Dade and government relations for Alliance, company officials said. "Tom David brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our company," said Robert Cambó, president of Alliance. "His knowledge of our local municipalities and ability to navigate Miami’s complex local government adds unique and significant value to commercial transactions."
IVAX ADDS: Miami pharmaceutical manufacturer IVAX Corp. announced Tuesday that it has added Miamians Paul Cejas, CEO of PLC Investments and former ambassador to Belgium, and Bruce Greer, attorney and partner in housing developer Carlisle Group, to its board of directors.
BRICKELL TO BRICKELL: Rockefeller Group Development Corp. this week announced the relocation of its Florida headquarters from 1111 Brickell Ave. to Four Seasons Hotel & Tower, 1441 Brickell Ave. The firm is set up on the 10th floor of the 70-story mixed-use tower. Edgar C. Jones Jr., director of Florida operations, called the site a logical choice. "We felt," he said, "it was important to maintain a presence on Brickell." Rockefeller walked away from what it said was a $1 million investment marketing Homestead Park of Commerce in April. Area operations now include office space in Broward County, where it recently built a 50,000-square-foot reservations center for Delta Airlines in Miramar, and the Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone at the Palm Beach Park of Commerce. Details: (305) 579-9966 or rockgroupdevelopment.com.
UNION GROWTH: Union Bank is expanding into the residential real-estate market by opening Union Bank Mortgage Corp. The subsidiary will offer 227 loans ranging from first-time to multimillion-dollar home loans, the bank’s chief lending officer, Russ Holland, said. He said the new division should bring in more than $50 million in the first year. Union Bank, based in Sunrise, has 18 branches in South Florida and has been a commercial lender for 34 years.
TOUR OF SUCCESS: Entrepreneur Russell Simmons, chief executive of Rush Communications, the 2002 Black Enterprise Company of the Year, is to speak at the Global Diversity Group Business Exchange: 2003 Tour for Success at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at Hyatt Regency Miami. Seminars connected with the event, which typically draws 1,000 minority business owners, will begin at 9 a.m. Seminars and speeches are free with registration at www.hot105fm.com or by calling (888) 265-6480.
HISTORIC HUNT: Coral Gables has been awarded a $20,000 matching grant by the Florida Department of State for a survey to identify historic properties. City officials said they will use the money to evaluate historic resources in the Flagler Street section north of Southwest Eighth Street, where most structures were built in the late 1940s to house World War II veterans, and south of Southwest Eighth, where many buildings appear to have been constructed from the 1920s to the 1940s in such styles as Masonry Vernacular, Mediterranean, Mission, Colonial Revival, Art Moderne, Art Deco and International.
HOME ON THE FARM: Developer Cornerstone Group has completed Baywind Apartments at 11900 NE 116th Ave. in North Miami. The 208-residence rental complex features a restored 1907 historic clubhouse that was a farmhouse built by the Burr family, the site’s former owners.
SPANISH FIRM BUYS: A 1985 office building at 5959 Blue Lagoon Drive was sold for $8.88 million to MM Real Estate LLC, a large insurance company in Spain. MM will consolidate several local offices at the 75,266-square-foot, four-story site.