Written by Miami Today on August 27, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
VOTING BEGINS: Miami-Dade voters can vote before Tuesday at 17 locations. Registered voters can vote on the ballot they would receive at the polling site listed on their voter ID cards. Interested voters can participate through Saturday at varying times at all 17 locations, posted at http://elections.miamidade.gov. All 17 locations except Hialeah Library will be open for voting Sunday. The Stephen P. Clark Center and Elections Department sites will be open Monday.
MIAMI ARENA TENANTS: The future of the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority as a tenant at Miami Arena is up in the air after Palm Beach businessman Glenn Straub made the highest bid Aug. 10 to buy the venue. The sports authority’s executive director and CEO, James Jenkins, said Tuesday that Miami City Manager Joe Arriola has indicated there would be space available at the Orange Bowl, but no action has been taken. "We had a preliminary discussion with Straub, but no decision has been made." Mr. Jenkins said the matter will be discussed in the next board meeting, Sept. 28.
REDUCING DELAYS: New procedures are speeding international-to-international connecting passengers through Miami International Airport. Holding rooms at Concourse D became pass-through facilities where federal inspections are held. Passengers now deplane and go to the new in-transit facilities for Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration processing before heading to departure gates. The changes cut delays 90%, said Luis Arce, terminal-operations supervisor. Miami is the only airport in the country with the concept, he said. "It’s a more secure and more efficient service."
REDUCING CONGESTION: The new airport procedures have reduced concourse congestion, Mr. Arce said. Under a Homeland Security program that began in 2002, international in-transit passengers had to go for immigration and Customs inspections in general terminal areas. That created crowd management problems and delays for airlines, he said. "A few thousand people a day who normally didn’t have to go through the process backed up everyone else." Under the new procedures, in-transit passengers remain separate.
AIRPORT GRANT: A $16.5 million federal grant will help build a south terminal at Miami International Airport. US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced the grant that will fund several projects, including construction of floors and sidewalks at the 1 million-square-foot terminal that will add 23 gates at the airport. Aviation authorities have set May 2007 as completion date for the project they say will better handle a rebounding travel industry.
HOUSING BOOM: Ignited by low mortgage rates, Florida’s real estate market keeps soaring. Single-family home resales in July were 15% above last year, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. Statewide, 23,554 homes sold in July, up from 20,503 in July 2003. Sales rose even though the state’s median value climbed to $186,700 from $162,600 a year ago. In the Miami area, the median rose 22% to $284,300, up from $232,700 last year. Fort Lauderdale prices rose 28% from $236,700 in July 2003 to $301,900. Naples had the state’s highest average, $346,500. Florida’s median is below the national level of $191,800 in June. The statewide median in California was $469,170, Maryland $300,355 and New York $250,000.
CHARLEY CONTRACT: Consul-Tech, a Miramar consortium of engineering firms, got a $9 million contract from the Florida Department of Transportation to repair and reconstruct roads damaged by Hurricane Charley. After Hurricane Andrew, the companies were hired by Miami-Dade County to monitor and supervise the removal of more than 18 million cubic yards of debris.
ON BANKERS BOARD: New directors of the Florida Bankers Association include four Miami executives. Robert L. Brookes Jr., president and CEO of Eagle National Bank of Miami; Athan F. Castiglia, president and CEO of Continental National Bank; and Mariano H. Fernandez of Ocean Bank are trust-division presidents for 2004-05. Octavio Hernandez, president and CEO of U.S. Century Bank, is an insurance-division president. Details: (850) 224-2265.
AGING CONFERENCE: The annual Florida Conference on Aging Monday through Sept. 2 at Hotel InterContinental, 100 Chopin Plaza, offers training and an exhibit. It’s presented by the Florida Council on Aging, the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The opening address will be Thomas Perls’ presentation, "Centenarians – A New Paradigm of Aging." Also featured will be a panel on advocacy conducted by Max Rothman, president of the Florida Council on Aging. Onsite registration will be available. Fees range from $80 for one day to $305 for four. Details: www.fcoa.org or (850) 222-8877.
TWO BY LAND: Two conferences by the Urban Land Institute will discuss construction trends and provide economic projections for next year. The first meeting, Sept. 14 at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel in Dania Beach, is the fourth annual architectural and design trends conference. On Dec.1, the group will meet for the South Florida economic and development outlook conference at Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale. Details: (954) 783-9504.
CONDO PURCHASE: Suffolk Construction Co. has purchased a 10,000-square-foot office condo at Latitude One, the office component of the 2.3-acre mixed-used project at 615 Southwest Second Ave. Suffolk expects to close the deal in early 2007. Suffolk was general contractor for the Latitude development, which is to include a 22-story office-condo building, a 44-story residential tower, retail space and a riverfront bistro.
BOXERS PUNCH UP: Carton Sales & Manufacturing is investing $4 million to upgrade its corrugator line, which transforms rolls of paper into cardboard and corrugated boxes. Carton supplies standard and specialty shipping cartons to fruit and vegetable growers, large industrial users, distillers and shippers in South Florida, the Caribbean and South America. The 200,000-square-foot Miami plant is at 3500 NW 110th St. For the new equipment, Carton is training 30 of its 165 Miami employees at headquarters in Hanover, PA. "We are very excited," said General Manager Gil Becker. The equipment is to be running Sept. 9.
FAR EASTERN OPPORTUNITIES: For businesspeople interested in seeking opportunities in the Far East, the Korea Trade Center is hosting the Cyber Meeting Trade Event Monday through Sept. 3. The event will be at One Biscayne Tower and feature Korean companies such as ABS Inc., Cell Biotech Co., Korea Power Engineering, KaonMedia, Allmedicus and Hanil Synthetic Fiber Co. Admission will be free. Details: (305) 374-4648 or fax (305) 375-9332.
RELATED DOLLARS: An article on Miami-Dade County’s top developers Aug. 12, "Related Group tops county developers in 2003 condo sales," should have quoted Roberto S. Rocha, Related’s executive vice president, as saying his company hopes to double its revenues to $2 billion this year.