Written by Miami Today on September 2, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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SAFIRE NEARS TAKEOFF: Safire Aircraft officials are close to announcing the site of a $45 million plant to build the $1.4 million Safire jet. The Opa-locka jet manufacturer, which has been weighing offers from other sites in the US, had planned to decide before August. Officials declined to say when Safire will choose a site but said they’d make an announcement soon. In July, Camilo Salomon of Safire said the company would move out and build its plant elsewhere if Miami-Dade County didn’t make the best offer based on a formula that ranks sites on economic incentives and obstacles to doing business. Safire expects its jet to make its first flight this year and to be delivered in 2006.
MIDTOWN BOND: The developers of Midtown Miami have secured a $103.6 million tax-free municipal bond to build infrastructure for the 26-acre project at the former Buena Vista Rail Yard in Wynwood. Midtown Group says property taxes and a special assessment on residents would pay off the debt. Midtown is slated to have about 3,000 condominiums. Developers say the money will help generate about $350 million in private investment in Miami. Banc of America Securities of Winter Park, the deal’s underwriter, sold the bond to 20 large institutional investors.
RESTRUCTURING GOES ON: Restructuring of the Dante B. Fascell North-South Center, affiliated with the University of Miami, remains in progress, university officials said. The public-policy center, created in 1984 to analyze complex global problems with an emphasis on the Western Hemisphere, began restructuring in August 2003 and released its staff before year’s end, announcing a new affiliation with the Rand think tank. The university will release the center’s plans after Korn Ferry International, an executive recruitment firm, finds a new director, said Jerry Lewis, vice president for university communications. The center is at 1500 Monza Ave., Coral Gables.
HISTORIC RESTRICTIONS: The Coral Gables City Commission passed an ordinance Aug. 24 requiring 29 homeowners along North and South Greenway drives next to Granada Golf Course, in the Country Club of Coral Gables Historic District, to get approval for alterations, additions or demolitions from the Historic Preservation Board or the Historic Resources Department. "No one from the community showed up to dispute the ordinance," said Historical Resources Director Dona Lubin. "I guess people in the community understand the value of historic preservation." The ordinance will take effect Friday.
SISTER CITIES ART: Miami-Dade County’s Sister Cities Program and Miami Dade College will host Miami-Dade Celebrates the Art of Its Sister Cities, an international exhibit representing the more than 24 member countries in the program. The display will be Sept. 10-26 at 1508 SW Eighth St. The exhibit is part of the Sister Cities Program’s goal to create and strengthen partnerships between the county and international communities. Net proceeds will benefit the Miami-Dade Sister Cities Student Exchange Scholarship Program. Details: (30)5 275-2850.
IN TOP 10: Florida International University was rated the ninth-best undergraduate school for international business in US News and World Report’s Americas Best Colleges 2005 issue, released Aug. 30. Last year, the magazine ranked the program 14th. The program prepares graduates to meet changes in technology, cultural diversity in the workplace and globalization of business practices, required skills for top-level managers, said Joyce Elam, executive dean of FIU’s college of business. Earlier this year, the magazine ranked the FIU graduate international business programs among the top 25.
TECHNOLOGY AND AGE: The Center on Aging at the University of Miami School of Medicine has received $5 million from the National Institute on Aging for the school’s Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology, which aims to assess how older adults can integrate technology into their lives. The grant is to build on the findings. "The focus is more on translation research," says Sara Czaja, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine. "We attempt to take what we learned … and apply it in real-world settings for real-world tasks."
TOP DESTINATIONS: Assessing 30,000 hotel-room requests for Labor Day weekend, Priceline.com ranked Miami Beach 33rd-most popular. Bill Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he is confident of a strong weekend yet wary of Hurricane Frances. "We usually have a good Labor Day weekend, but it depends on the storm," he said. The Las Vegas strip is the top Labor Day destination. New York City won five of the top 10 spots – including Midtown Manhattan West, Midtown East, Upper Midtown, Midtown South and the Upper East Side. Others in the top 10 are downtown Chicago, Boston’s Back Bay, downtown Boston and downtown San Diego.
MINORITY BUSINESS: Minority Enterprise Development Week will recognize the work of South Florida minority businesses at the Miccosukee Resort and Conference Center Sept. 15-18. The US Department of Commerce’s annual session promotes minority entrepreneurs. It features one-on-one matchmaker appointments, corporate and government procurement forums, a 150-booth business exposition and an awards gala. Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, an architectural and engineering firm, will be keynote speaker. Details: (877) 532-2662.
CORAL GABLES-BOUND: Boston Consulting Group, a management-consulting company, and Pyramid Realty Capital, a commercial real estate consulting firm, are moving from separate Miami locations and have signed leases at Alhambra Towers, 121 Alhambra Plaza, Coral Gables. "These two tenants complement nicely our distinguished tenant roster of international banks and financial institutions," property manager and leasing agent Bill Bailey said in a press release. The Allen Morris Co. negotiated the agreement.
STRONG TALK: More than 500 business and society leaders are to discuss success-building strategies at the Second International Conference on Appreciative Inquiry, scheduled for Sept. 19-22 at Doral Golf Resort and Spa. Sessions will focus on using strengths and values instead of problem solving to achieve success, said Marlo Derksen, co-owner of AI Consulting. "It is an excellent approach for organizations looking for new ways to engage employees," he said, "or for organizations looking to implement programs that (failed) in the past." Details: www.aiconference.org.
BACK ON HIS OWN: Jones Lang LaSalle’s Florida regional leasing director is set to leave the firm this month to reopen his private brokerage company shut down about a year ago. Jay Perkins, who headed the firm’s local operations, says he missed the "entrepreneurial feel" of Perkins Realty Advisors. "I’ve been doing commercial real estate brokerage in South Florida for 17 years," he said. "This is just a continuation of those activities." Coral Gables-based Perkins is set to reopen in October. Details: (305) 663-3548.
BUILDING ITALY’S TIES: Italy’s ambassador to the US, Sergio Vento, seeks to stabilize Italy’s business foothold in Miami by maintaining a permanence of representation here, including a shared showroom for manufacturers, he told a luncheon at the Gunster Yoakley law firm downtown on Friday. His vision, he said, is to use a strong presence in Miami to build Italian business links throughout Central and South America, tying into Italian business communities throughout the Americas.
NOT THAT OLD: An article Aug. 26 incorrectly reported that US Century Bank is a 4-year-old institution. The bank is to celebrate its second anniversary in October.
CORRECT SALARY: An Aug. 26 article on Miami-Dade County commissioners’ salaries headlined "Raises, term limits for commissioners packaged on Tuesday ballot" should have quoted Robert Meyers, executive director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust, as saying commissioners are paid $6,000 a year for serving in their elected roles.