Written by Miami Today on December 4, 2003
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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TRADE HEADQUARTERS: A Dec. 11 breakfast will focus on luring the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas to Miami. Panelists are Jerry Haar, director of the Inter-American Business and Labor program at the University of Miami’s North-South Center; Burton Landy, shareholder at law firm Akerman Senterfitt; and Manuel Mencia, Enterprise Florida director of international trade. The Miami Today International Roundtable panel is sponsored by Beacon Lakes, a development of the Codina Group and AMB Property Corp. It’s at 7:45 a.m. at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. To reserve: Claudia Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
DRUG CLEARS HURDLE: Miami-based IVAX Corp. received tentative approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its generic drug gabapentin, for treatment of epileptic seizures. It’s the equivalent of Warner-Lambert’s Neurontin, which had more than $2.2 billion in US sales in the year ended in June, IVAX said.
NORTH BEACH PLAN: North Beach Development Corp., a non-profit group dedicated to revitalizing Miami Beach from 63rd to 87th streets, will present its master plan at 6:30 tonight (12/4) at Radisson Deauville Resort Miami Beach, 6701 Collins Ave. Jeanne Tidy, executive director, said she wants to see the area designated for historic preservation because of its extensive examples of post-World War II architecture, dubbed MiMo, for Miami Modern.
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN: Citing the hospital’s "continued financial improvement brought about by good management practices," Fitch Ratings last week rated $107 million in forthcoming Mount Sinai Medical Center bonds "BB." The service cited the hospital’s "continued improvement in profitability" and noted that the "only full-service hospital provider on Miami Beach" had reduced its outstanding accounts receivable to 48.1 days Sept. 30 from a high of 89 days in 2000. Fitch
says the hospital has budgeted a $241,000 bottom line for fiscal 2004.
NEXT BUSINESS LEADERS: The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting BizFest Training Camp to teach entrepreneurial skills to Hispanic high school and undergraduate students. The program Friday and Saturday will help participants create business plans, identify investment opportunities and manage money. "We realize that the future of our communities lies in how we promote economy development, which is factored in most instances through the contributions of small businesses," said foundation President Frank Lopez. Expected to attract about 500 participants, BizFest will also feature a college fair and give students the opportunity for internships. Details: www.ushccfoundation.org or (202) 842-1212.
REPORTER TALLY: Miami-Dade County handed out credentials to 1,205 members of the media for last month’s Free Trade Area of the Americas events with journalists traveling from as far as Germany and Japan, reported county spokesman Hernando Vergara. That number exceeds the amount of media, about 600, for the 1994 Summit of the Americas, which brought 34 heads of state from all countries in the Western Hemisphere expect Cuba to Miami. Mr. Vergara said the FTAA talks received the largest number of news media in county history.
CONSTRUCTION KABOOM: Will Miami’s burgeoning real-estate bubble collapse in the coming years? How does South Florida’s residential market compare with the rest of the nation and world? Those questions and others will be addressed by economic experts including William Wheaton, director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Real Estate, 5-8 p.m. today (12/4) at The Bankers Club, One Biscayne Tower. Presented by MIT and the University of Miami School of Architecture, the panel discussion Boom or Bust? The Future of Real Estate Investing also features Lorenz Reibling, chairman of Taurus Investment Holdings, and Philip Blumberg, chief executive officer of American Ventures Corp. Details: (617) 253-4373.
NEW BRANDING: Choice Hotels International Inc. has added a South Beach hotel to its line. The Claridge Hotel, 3500 Collins Ave., will be the eighth property to operate under Choice Hotels’ Clarion Collection brand, which will officially launch in February, the company said. Claridge became part of the Clarion Collection on Nov. 17. The hotel, built in 1928, had a $4 million renovation in 2000. It won the City of Miami Beach Beautification Award that year and the Miami Design Preservation League Restoration Award in 2001.
LEADING ART: Former City of Miami assistant city manager Dena Bianchino has taken the helm at ArtCenter/South Florida in Miami Beach. Ms. Bianchino replaces former executive director Bill Farkas, who left at the end of last month. ArtCenter was started in 1984 on Lincoln Road by a small group of artists. Today, the non-profit group offers about 60,000 square feet of space for studios, galleries, classrooms and offices in three buildings.
CHARITABLE DEVELOPERS: The developers of a downtown condominium project, Ten Museum Park, donated $50,000 to the City of Miami Arts and Entertainment Department and $10,000 to the Miami International Film Festival. They presented the donations to Miami Mayor Manny Diaz Saturday during an event near the project site put on by Miami nightclub mogul Michael Capponi, a partner in the project. Ten Museum Park will be at 1040 Biscayne Blvd., across from Bicentennial Park.
COUNTY BUSINESS GRANTS: Small businesses have until Dec. 17 to tap into Miami-Dade County’s Mom and Pop Business Grant Program. To qualify for up to $10,000 in grants, businesses must be 2 years old, employ fewer than eight people, and neither be affiliated with a national chain nor have defaulted on a county loan or grant. Details: Commissioner Sally Heyman’s district office, at (305) 787-5999.
BRICKELL CLOSING: Groupe Pacific closed last week on a $73.02 million construction loan for Brickell on the River, a condominium with towers at 27 and 31 SE Fifth St. For the syndicated loan, AmSouth Bank, LaSalle Bank and Wachovia Bank joined Bank of America, which served as administrative agent. The closing is expected to trigger start of construction on the twin-tower, 42-story development designed by architectural firm Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates. Groupe Pacific said the project, scheduled for completion in 2005, is 85% pre-sold. Units are 757 to 1,512 square feet and priced from $220,000 to $700,000. Features include a two-story lobby with a water feature, a landscaped pool and a sundeck on the 11th floor overlooking the river, a riverfront clubroom, a waterfront pedestrian promenade and a business center. Details: (305) 381-9220 or brickellontheriver.com.
KEY BEACON LEASE: Key West Aloe Inc. leased 13,120 square feet of industrial space at 9955 NW 116th Way in Miami’s Beacon Station. Key West Aloe markets skin-care products and a line of tropical and classical fragrances. Each year, company publicists said, more than 100,000 people order products from the firm’s 36-page catalog. The company’s products have been developed and manufactured in Key West since 1971. In the lease transaction, Pedro J. Garcia and Stuart Gordon of Codina Realty Services/Oncor International represented landlord Flagler Development Co. Michael Sigerman of Lucky Commercial Realty represented the tenant. Terms and lease value were not released.