Written by Miami Today on November 13, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
PEACHY BID: Atlanta officially sent its letter of interest for the Free Trade Area of the Americas headquarters Monday afternoon to the negotiations’ co-chairs in the US and Brazil. Four members of lobbying group Hemisphere Inc. – Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Atlanta Mayor Shirley C. Franklin, Equifax Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Chapman and Executive Director JosÈ Ignacio Gonz·lez – signed the letter, which highlighted its airport, past hosting responsibilities (the 1996 Olympic Games, recent OAS General Assembly) and native sons President Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King, plus its roles as home to numerous Fortune 500 corporations. The letter ended with an invitation to come and visit "Atlanta, the emerging Gateway to the Americas."
HEATED COMPETITION: Atlanta lobbyists were to visit Santa Cruz, Bolivia, today (11/13) and Friday for an annual roundtable of the Ibero-American Heads of State and Government. The Atlanta delegation includes representatives of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism; and Turner Broadcasting System. The gathering is focusing on issues connecting Latin America with Spain and Portugal. This week, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that Atlanta would host Sumaq Summit 2004 in May – a business meeting among leaders of Ibero-American countries.
MORE HATS IN RING: Several more cities have officially expressed interest in being headquarters of the proposed FTAA – Chicago, Colorado Springs and Cancun, Mexico. They join Miami; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; and Puebla, Mexico. All had sent documents as of Friday, according to a spokesman in the office of the US Trade Representative in Washington. Houston also will enter the competition, according to a Nov. 5 report in the Houston Chronicle.
WAITING FOR THE DOUGH: Waiting for the bus is expected to get more stylish, safe and comfortable with 3,000 bus shelters on the way. The Art Deco shelters, lit at night by solar panels, will shield riders from sun and rain. In addition, the shelters will have route maps and up-to-date schedules – something the current 400 shelters lack, said Miami-Dade Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley. He said ads in the shelters will generate revenue for the county.
WALKING ON WATERS? Miami-Dade County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization will study the use of waterways for transit. The study was requested by the watchdog group that monitors the half-penny surtax revenue – the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust. Although the study was requested by the trust, it will be paid for with the planning organization’s money, Surface Transportation Manager Carlos Bonzon said. He also said water mass transit has shown to be too expensive.
DOWN TIME: With trade ministers from 34 countries and thousands of protestors expected in town, the Miami-Dade County Commission will not hold its Tuesday meeting because of the Americas Business Forum next week in downtown Miami. The meeting won’t be rescheduled. Commissioners plan to meet again Dec. 11. Many county employees also plan to be off during the trade ministerial meetings, which are expected to result in road closures and downtown congestion, one county official said.
FIU BIZ EXPO: Florida International University’s business school alumnus will host a business expo for networking and sharing company information. It will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Miami Airport Hilton, 5105 Blue Lagoon Drive. The public is welcome, but there is a $25 fee for non-alumni. Details: Monique Catoggio, (305) 348-4227.
ON TRACK: The newly formed South Florida Regional Transportation Authority will hold a workshop Nov. 21 to discuss its mission, goals and initiatives. Formerly called the Regional Transportation Authority, the new body has spent two months crafting bylaws and a mission statement and is ready for public feedback. The workshop begins at 9:30 at the authority’s headquarters, 800 NW 33rd St., Pompano Beach.
LOFTS RISING: Coscan Construction has begun work as general contractor for NoLA Lofts, under development by Urban Habitat. The 107-unit community at 313 NE Second St. in Fort Lauderdale is second project for Coscan, the construction arm of Coscan Homes. Completion is due in fall 2004 on the 11-story tower with a three-story garage. Residences are $185,000 to $400,000, penthouses $700,000.
SOTHEBY’S FORTUNE: Sotheby’s International Realty has made Fortune International Realty its exclusive affiliate in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Fortune will offer some clients access to Sotheby’s marketing and referral services, part of a network of 175 global brokerage firms.
FOOD ALERT: Companies that manufacture, package or hold food have until Dec. 12 to register with the federal Food and Drug Administration. The mandatory registration is part of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002 designed to help track outbreaks of food-borne illnesses and notify facilities that might have been affected.
BLOCK ON THE BEACH: Colonial Bank celebrated the opening of a second Miami Beach office at 1691 Michigan Ave. last week with a block party. "We ‘re proud of Colonial Bank’s 27th office in South Florida," said South Florida Region President & CEO Israel Velasco at the opening. "This branch highlights our community-oriented philosophy." Among 300 guests, he said, were senior executives from Colonial BancGroup’s headquarters in Alabama and Colonial Florida regional executives. The new 5,000-square-foot office is a block north of Lincoln Road.
LEADERS FOR READERS: The Miami Herald reported a daily circulation of 304,795 for the six months ending Sept. 30, second in Florida behind the St. Petersburg Times at 314,614.
FILM FESTIVAL BOOST: The Miami International Film Festival got $30,000 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation. The award, one of the largest of its kind given this year, is one of 17 totaling $250,000 that the academy gave to film festivals in the US. Miami becomes one of 78 festivals granted such funding since academy grants began six years ago, said Buffy Shutt of the foundation. Miami-Dade College assumed responsibility last month for the administration of the festival, heading into its 21st year. Festival staff are to use MDC ‘s Wolfson Campus to prepare next year’s program, scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb. 8. The University of Miami will be a partner in organizing film workshops and seminars for the event. "We all need to rally behind the film festival," said Barbara Carey-Shuler, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County commission. "In addition to being a precious South Florida cultural asset, it is an essential catalyst for the economic development of this area."
DOORS OF MISPERCEPTION: Members of the Performing Arts Center Trust spent a significant portion of Tuesday’s board meeting discussing a main construction flaw in the building – the reverb chamber doors. According to project officials, the surface of the 84 doors is too rough and will damage the $255 million facility’s acoustics. The flaws in the doors, worth $250,000, must be amended before construction moves further along so it would be possible to move the 10-by-20-foot doors around on all three levels of the center’s auditoriums. Meanwhile, the president of the company making the doors resigned.