Written by Miami Today on January 8, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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NAPLES BY AIR: Miami International Airport is adding four daily direct flights to Naples this week via Cape Air. The flights on the airline’s nine-seat, twin-engine plane will leave Miami at 7:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily. While the drive typically takes about two hours from Miami, the flight promises to get visitors and commuters there in 45 minutes. Tickets for the flight listed this week on Web sites are going for $175 round-trip.
RAIL-LINE BIDS: Miami-Dade Transit is accepting bids for planning and engineering on an east-west Metrorail extension. The proposed line would take Metrorail east to Port of Miami and west to Florida International University and is expected to open in 2011. Bids are due by noon Jan. 16. In 1998, a consulting firm studied the east-west extension, but because the county did not immediately acquire the property along the line, several structures were built in the pathway, forcing the county to redesign the route. Details: www.trafficrelief.com.
ARTS CENTER INAUGURATION: More than a year away from completion, the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami will open next week – for one small performance of sorts. The Performing Arts Center Trust, which will run the center, will hold its monthly meeting at 4 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Carnival Symphony Hall. Those attending won’t be able to wear their fancy attire, as this occasion requires attendees to don flat shoes, long pants and safety goggles.
PROGRAMMING PROGRESSES: Construction delays at the arts center are not slowing programming plans, center officials said. Current projections put the center’s opening at fall 2005, spokeswoman Jodi Paradise said, but until then, officials plan to schedule performances at schools and museums to increase awareness about the center. In February, the construction team is expected to reach a revised schedule to account for work delays.
WHAT IS GOOD GOVERNMENT? Miami-Dade County will host a series of forums to open communication with citizens on what the county is and should be doing to be more accountable and responsive. The seminars will run through June, with the first at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 in the auditorium of the Miami-Dade Public Library, 101 W. Flagler St. County Manager George Burgess is to take questions and outline his plan to revamp the county administration.
PENALTY PUT OFF: The City of Miami probably won’t penalize a pair of Spanish-cuisine restaurants that missed a deadline to open Dec. 31 in the former Firehouse Four building. Owner Larry Harris, principal of New Spanish Concepts in Delaware and founder of Pollo Tropical, plans a soft opening this month. He purchased the rights to operate in the 80-year-old former fire station and has met his $6,949 rent payments, said Laura Billberry, the city’s assistant director for economic development.
FEWER JOBLESS: Paralleling statewide trends, Miami’s unemployment rate continued its decline in November, falling to 6.6%. A month earlier, Miami unemployment was 6.8% and a year earlier, it was 7.4%. Fort Lauderdale’s unemployment in November fell to 5.1% from 5.4% in October and 5.9% in November 2002, federal statisticians reported last week. Statewide, November unemployment was 4.7%, down from 5.3% a year earlier. Miami had 1.1 million persons at work in November and 72,500 unemployed.
LEADERSHIP NOMINATIONS: Miami Today is accepting nominations for its fifth annual Gold Medal Awards to recognize people and organizations who excel in their fields. All entrants should have received a leadership award from another organization in 2003. Contest rules and application forms are available from Miami Today, and all entries must reach the paper by Jan. 23. Winners will appear in Miami Today’s special Gold Medal Awards edition on April 15. Details: (305) 358-2663.
GLOBAL REALTY INVESTMENT: Miami Today’s International Roundtable will focus on trends in global real estate development and investment in Miami at a 7:45 a.m. breakfast session Jan. 29 in the lobby of sponsoring BankUnited, 1111 Brickell Ave. Reservations: Claudia Fernandez, (305) 358-1008.
SORRY, SEMINOLE: University of Miami alumnus and Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas won’t be forced to don apparel from rival school Florida State University at the next county commission meeting, but Tallahassee Mayor John Marks isn’t as lucky. The two mayors made a friendly wager last week that the mayor whose home team lost the FedEx Orange Bowl football game last week would have to wear the rival team’s gear to his respective government’s next meeting. UM beat Florida State University 16-14.
BEACON AWARD: Armando Codina, CEO of Codina Group Inc., is to receive the Jay Malina Award, the Beacon Council’s most prestigious prize, Jan. 29. The award, named for the founder of the One Community One Goal project, is given to the business executive who contributes most to the growth and industry of Miami-Dade County. A judges’ award will be presented to County Commissioner Jose Diaz. Also to get honors are Florida International University, American Sales & Management Organization Corp., IVAX, Ryder System Inc., the Florida Marlins, Stanford Financial Group of Companies, Mercy Hospital, Alienware Corp., Cisneros Group of Companies and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. presentation at JW Marriott Miami, 1109 Brickell Ave., cost $175 for Beacon Council members, $200 for others. Details: (305) 579-1382.
BAYWALK BASH: Miami’s proposal for a Baywalk will get its first major public meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Miami Children’s Museum on Watson Island. "We’ve been talking about it for so long, everybody just assume there is a plan in place," said Ernie Martin, chairman of the city’s Waterfront Advisory Board. The hearing – co-hosted by Mr. Martin’s board, the city’s Parks Advisory Board and the Bayfront Park Management Trust – is expected to bring many property owners along the bay under one roof, including hotel owners, developers, The Heat Group and Rouse Co. The city hopes to create a walkway from Margaret Pace Park to the mouth of the Miami River, where it would connect to Miami’s planned riverwalk.
INDUSTRIAL STATE: The Industrial Association of Dade County is holding a breakfast roundtable to present the organization’s annual report on the state of the county’s industrial real estate market at 8 a.m. Friday in the Hilton Miami Airport & Towers, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive. Tom Dixon of Thomas J. Dixon Inc., chairman of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami & the Beaches, and Ed Lyden of CB Richard Ellis are to speak. Copies of the report will be available at the meeting. Cost is $40, $20 for members. Reservations are recommended. Details: Nick Kallergis, (305) 639-9970.
PROPERTY DEAL: Dade County Federal Credit Union purchased a 30,492-square-foot lot and a 1,403-square-foot building at 20645 NW Second Ave. The property, formerly owned by Samkle Automotive Inc., was sold for $850,000. Samkle had owned the property since July 1994, when it bought it for $325,000. Steven Wasserman and Nick Wigoda of Colliers International negotiated the deal.
HEALTH-CARE CONFERENCE: Nova Southeastern University will host its third annual health-care access conference Friday and Saturday in the Health Professions Division Complex, 3200 University Drive, Davie. Keynote speaker will be Lisa Simpson, former deputy secretary for the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Ken Pruitt, chairman of the state Senate’s Appropriations Committee, will also speak. The conference will address obesity, mental health, wellness, fitness, purchasing medication over the Internet and importing prescription drugs from Canada. Details: Karen Perez, (954) 262-1501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.