Written by Miami Today on February 5, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
NO MOVEMENT: Miami-Dade County’s office market was stagnant last year, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s year-end report, with the vacancy rate lingering at 18%. An increase in lease transactions was countered by thousands of square feet in new space, leaving little room for an overall vacancy change, the report said. More than 500,000 square feet came online last year with completion of the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower, the Lincoln in Miami Beach and Harbour Centre at Aventura. Areas with the highest vacancy rate included Miami Beach, 28.1%, and East Airport, 28.8%. The lowest rates were in South Miami, 7.3%, and Kendall, 6.4%.
FILM TICKETS ROLLING: Twenty-two of the 66 films at the Miami International Film Festival have sold out, and organizers expected to be out of tickets for at least 20 more by today (2/5). Officials at Miami-Dade College say record sales bode well for the festival, which runs through Sunday. The festival left former sponsor Florida International University with an $800,000 debt. M-DC assumed management of the event last fall. Details: www.miamifilmfestival.com.
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 Street, 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.
TOP SMALL BUSINESS: Southwest Miami Best Equipment and Repair has been named South Florida’s best small business by the Small Business Administration. In the past 10 years, Southwest, 12390 SW 131st Ave., has grown from a two-man, home-garage repair service into one of the largest power-equipment rental dealers in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The SBA’s regional director selected Southwest and made the award last week at the administration’s 50th-anniversary lunch.
MEXICO TRADE: Trade between Florida and Mexico grew 50% from 1998 to 2000, but Miami-Dade County’s business with Mexico rose only 5% in that time, according to Mexico’s consul general in Miami, Jorge LomÛnaco. Mr. LomÛnaco, guest speaker at meeting of the Miami chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade, will discuss opportunities for trade between US and Mexico at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at Omni Colonnade, 180 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables. Details: email@example.com.
BEACH CENTENNIAL IMAGES: To help Miami Beach mark its 100th anniversary, the Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive is holding nine free screenings of film images of the city that predate its incorporation March 26, 1915. The series starts at 11 a.m. Feb. 14 in the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave. The first showing will include a presentation by Dan Hackel, CNN anchor and reporter. The program of home movies, tourism films and TV news shots from the archive is also scheduled for Feb. 15 and 26 and March 6, 13, 20, 21 and 25. Publicists said most materials were restored recently and are being shown for the first time. The project is sponsored in part by the Miami Beach Cultural Arts Council. Details: (305) 375-1505.
TRUTHFUL TALK: Harvey Siegel, chairman of the philosophy department at UM, is to speak under the banner "Science, Religion & Truth" 7:30-8:30 p.m. today (2/5) in the Miami Museum of Science, 3280 S. Miami Ave. The program, which publicists say has to do with the nature of truth and the abilities of science and religion to reveal or discover it, includes free wine and cheese starting at 7 p.m. Cost is $10. Details: (305) 773-8408.
CONRAD DELAYS OPENING: Conrad Miami, a brand of Hilton, has postponed opening its 203-room hotel until May 1. The hotel had been scheduled to open April 1. The 225,000-square-foot hotel is Conrad’s first newly built property and is part of the luxury brand’s US expansion. Room rates in the seven-floor hotel begin at $325. Conrad Miami is a tenant in the $180 million Espirito Santo Plaza, 1395 Brickell Ave.
AN INTER HOTEL: Hotel InterContinental Miami has reopened its top floors as the Upper Continental, a renovated area that will act as a top-level hotel within the hotel. It’s a response to competition from the community’s new four- and five-star hotels, executives said. Guests in the upper levels will check in and out in the Club Lounge on the 29th floor, with check-in as early as 8 a.m. The Upper Continental offers 67 deluxe rooms and 34 luxury suites, all offering business travelers fax-copier-printer machines, computer data ports, dual-line speaker phones and voice mail, wireless Internet access and an oversized desk. The entire 34-story hotel has 641 rooms. Club Lounge has a complimentary continental breakfast and refreshments throughout the day.
GO WEST, YOUNG BANK: An operations center, the first of two Beach Bank extensions planned for this year, opened this week on Northwest 25th Street off Palmetto Expressway. The 5,500-square-foot center houses bookkeeping, accounting, computer operations, loan services and customer information. The bank, which opened in 2000 at 555 Arthur Godfrey Road in Miami Beach, opened a South Miami branch in January at 6655 S. Dixie Highway with early-bird hours for commuters starting at 7:30 a.m. A third branch is scheduled to open this summer in South Beach. The bank plans branches in West Miami and Aventura next year.
PROFITABLE VOYAGE: An overnight gala aboard the new Queen Mary 2 cruise ship raised more than $1.5 million for the Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony last weekend. The 1,800 guests who boarded the vessel at Port Everglades and cruised for eight hours paid a total of $1.5 million for the privilege, organizers announced during a live auction that raised an additional $77,000 for the two organizations. Still more was raised during a silent auction of 25 items whose values ranged from $800 to $7,195.
COUNTY VET TO RETIRE: In preparation for the retirement of David Morris, director of the Office of Strategic Business Management, Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess has appointed Jennifer Glazer-Moon director-designate. Ms. Glazer-Moon worked for the county before leaving in 2002 to become director of administrative services for the 11th Judicial Circuit. Mr. Morris will be eligible for retirement next year after 29 years with the county. After his retirement, Ms. Glazer-Moon will oversee the county’s $5 billion budget.
GABLES CHAMBER CHANGES: Directors of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce named Nancy Barreto Hogan, district manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Inc., chairwoman-elect. She will continue as vice chairwoman of the business and economic-affairs division. She replaces Millar Wilson, president and CEO of Commercebank, who resigned because of scheduling conflicts.
CORRECTION: The Miami-Dade Land Acquisition and Facilities Maintenance Operations Advisory Board, a seven-member, state-appointed oversight board, voted in December and again in January to effectively release about $38.6 million in state construction funds to Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Miami Today last week incorrectly reported the outcome of the vote. In what was a 5-2 vote, the board clarified language to make it more technically accurate for state officials, said Marie Bell, board executive director.