Written by Miami Today on August 6, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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HOTELS EXCEL: Hotel occupancy and rates in Miami-Dade County rose July 18-24 to above national and state averages, according to Smith Travel Research. Rooms were 75% occupied, above state and national levels of 74%. The average room cost $90.32, compared to $84.23 in Florida and $87.06 in the US. Hotels in Miami Beach and Bal Harbour led the area in both categories, 82% occupied at an average $104.79. Occupancy here the first three weeks of July was 69%, trailing a statewide 71% and national 72%, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
SCHOOL-YEAR OPENER: Superintendent Rudolph Crew plans to give his schools-opening address Friday to principals and other education administrators. The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at Miami Edison Middle School, 6101 NW Second Ave. Miami-Dade County Public Schools are scheduled to reopen Aug.16. Details: (305) 995-1126.
GET YOUR DEPOSIT READY: Twelve information packages have been sold to parties interested in bidding for Miami Arena, 701 Arena Blvd. Bidders must review the $280 package and submit a $3 million deposit before the auction Tuesday. Fisher Auction Co. is to auction the arena to the highest bidder for the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority, the arena’s operator. Registration for bidders begins at noon. The auction starts at 1 p.m. Details: (800) 331-6620.
ARENA SALE: The 347,000-square-foot Miami Arena is former home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the University of Miami’s men’s basketball team. "This arena has a lot of history in this city and is the key to what brought pro basketball and hockey to South Florida," said Jim Jenkins, the sports authority’s executive director. Prospective buyers include Hank Sopher, a New York businessman and president of Quik Park of Florida, a parking-lot company with properties in Miami. Mr. Sopher set the opening bid with a $25 million offer. City officials plan to use proceeds from the sale to help fund a new baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins.
NEW AIR ROUTES: American Airlines will fly from Miami International Airport to Manchester, United Kingdom, and St. Lucia, West Indies, beginning Nov. 1. Each route will have one daily flight, with the Manchester flight leaving at 6:30 p.m. and arriving in Manchester at 7:55 a.m. The St. Lucia flight will leave Miami at 10 a.m. and arrive at 2:25 p.m. Details: www.miami-airport.com.
HEALTHY INCOME: Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation sold 10.4 acres at 1099 Ives Dairy Road to residential developer Lewis Swezy for $1.7 million. The site, on California Club Golf Course, is suitable for multifamily development. Mr. Swezy intends to develop the property after zoning is changed from agricultural to multifamily use, said Kelly Smith, a senior commercial associate with Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group. Mr. Smith, who represented the hospital foundation, said Mr. Swezy should have no problem changing the zoning because it is designated for multifamily development in the development’s master plan.
FAST COMPANY: Four Dogs Inc., an import and export firm, signed a five-year lease for 22,393 square feet of warehouse space at 13901 NW 58th Court in Miami Lakes Business Park East. The company, which redistributes end-of-the-line products, also leased a 2,150-square-foot furnished suburban mid-rise Class A unit at 8100 Oak Lane in Miami Lakes Business Park West, said a spokesman for the Graham Cos., developer of Miami Lakes. "The client needed both office and warehouse space very quickly," said Steve Style, vice president of marketing for Graham. "We agreed on economic terms, signed the leases and gave them the keys in the span of three days. And the day I gave them the keys, they started moving their product into the warehouse."
PREMIO LEASE: Premio Computer Inc., an electronics sales and distribution company, has signed a $150,000 lease for warehouse space in the Americas Gateway Center, according to real estate company CB Richard Ellis. The two-year deal is for 11,210 square feet at 8740 NW 18th Terrace in the industrialized Airport West area.
CAPITAL CONCERNS: Twelve Florida companies got $50.4 million in venture capital in the second quarter, making the state the 19th in the US, according to the MoneyTree Survey, a quarterly study of venture-capital investment activity by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association. Four South Florida businesses got venture funding in the quarter – including Siegent, a Boca Raton collector of demographic data, $5 million; and NetByTel, a Boca provider of voice programs for online commerce, $2 million. Nationwide, venture capital increased in the quarter with $5.6 billion going to 761 companies, up from $5 billion in the first quarter. Details: www.pwcmoneytree.com.
BIOTECH LEADS VC: The life-sciences sector, which includes biotechnology and medical devices, led all industries nationally in new venture capital for the eighth consecutive quarter, according to the MoneyTree Survey. Investments in the sector totaled $1.41 billion, 25% of all venture capital raised, keeping life-sciences investing near historic highs. Biotechnology accounted for $923 million, 17% of all investing, while medical devices represented $485 million, 9% of all capital. A total of 85 biotechnology and 70 medical-device companies were funded nationwide during the quarter. Details: www.ventureeconomics.com.
UM-CANADIAN TIE: The University of Miami and McGill University, a Canadian research university, signed a strategic alliance last week that will include faculty and student exchanges between engineering and information-technology departments. As part of the faculty exchange, UM and McGill will write joint proposals to international funding agencies to improve research initiatives and increase the economic impact in their communities. In addition, students at both schools can participate in study-abroad programs, international internships and student-exchange programs between the US and Canada. Details: (305) 284-1601.
NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD: The Coconut Grove Park Neighborhood Association is seeking volunteers for a new eight- to 10-member board of directors that would meet the third Tuesday of every second month. Members are to meet the end of this month. Details: Maggie Rossi, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CULTURAL GRANTS: Coral Gables is asking local nonprofits to apply for its Cultural Grants Program. Last year, the city awarded $165,000 to 42 groups such as the Tropical Baroque Music Festival, the Children’s Library Dance Series and the Beaux Arts Festival of the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum. The maximum is $15,000 for cultural development, $10,000 for festivals and special events and $5,000 for community projects. Apply at the Coral Gables Development Department by Aug. 27. Details: www.coralgables.com.
FLEXIBLE MBA: More MBA candidates are using the University of Phoenix-Fort Lauderdale’s FlexNet courses, which combine online classes and classroom meetings, said Jamie Spellacy, campus director. The students meet with an instructor and go through the curriculum in the first week of a semester and attend class the final night for presentations, she said, but meet online for all other classes. "FlexNet is great for students who don’t like taking classes completely online … but don’t have the time to attend class every week," she said. Details: http://univ.phoenix.edu.