Written by Miami Today on September 9, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
PLAN WRECKING: Days after it swept over South Florida, Hurricane Frances prevented the swearing-in ceremony of Miami City Attorney Jorge Fernandez. The City Commission was due to swear in Mr. Fernandez on Tuesday. The new city attorney moved from Sarasota to take the Miami job. The city postponed a special commission meeting and plans to hold the ceremony today (9/9).
HOMECOMING: When he takes office this month as Miami city attorney, Mr. Fernandez will occupy the post for the second time in about 16 years. He most recently was county attorney in Sarasota but was Miami City attorney from 1988 to ’91. He is to return to the post today (9/9), after a 13-year stint in Sarasota.
GRANT MONEY SHIFTS: The Miami City Commission today (9/9) is to discuss transferring $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the Small Business Opportunity Center Inc. District 3 and $45,000 from District 4. The commission is also discussing allocating block grant funds to a loan fund run by Camacol, the Latin chamber of commerce, for the purpose of managing a small-business loan program.
STATUE REPAIR: Miami city commissioners today (9/9) are to consider repairing statues at Bayfront Park and at the Torch of Friendship plaza – including the statues of Claude Pepper, Simon Bolivar and Ponce De Leon – as well as several medallions and plaques. The proposal was approved by the Bayfront Park Management Trust.
LITTLE HAITI FUNDS: The Miami City Commission today (9/9) is to discuss shifting $150,000 in Community Development Block Grants from Neptune & Son Restaurant and Beauty Shop Corp. to the Little Haiti job creation pilot project to spur economic development work.
FEEDING THE LINE: Margate-based Party Caterers, with Florida Power & Light contracts in hand, is feeding almost 2,000 people three times a day from the Pompano Park Racetrack parking lot, said caterer Michael Schott. The site is the Broward County hub for linesmen brought to South Florida to restore electricity in hurricane-ravaged areas. Mr. Schott, David Balikos and Nick Sand, partners in Party Caterers, and their staff are working around-the-clock to feed the electric and tree-removal workers. They start about 3 a.m. and work until after midnight. "FP&L is strict on what they want," Mr. Schott said. "They want hearty food. The guys need to eat so they don’t get hurt." Typical meals include chicken and pork chops for dinner. Crews take boxed lunches with large sandwiches, water and soda to the field, he said, and return to the racetrack for evening meals.
HURRICANE HARBOR: Colonial Bank has a found a way to aid hurricane victims while adding clients. It’s offering special certificates of deposit to Broward and Palm Beach County residents on three- and five-month certificates from $500 to $500,000, providing a secure place to deposit insurance funds. Colonial raised the yield on its three-month CD to 1.8% and on its five-month to 2%. The offer lasts until Oct. 15.
LAND BUY: Rockefeller Group Development Corp. has bought 42 acres with a quarter-mile strip fronting Interstate 75 in Miramar from trustee Arthur D. Weiss. Rockefeller plans include a 300,000-square-foot office facility at Southwest 145th Avenue and Pembroke Road. "This land acquisition fits in well with our corporate strategy of investing in growth markets such as Florida," said Leslie E. Smith Jr., Rockefeller executive vice president of development.
NEW LOFTS: Miami-based Art Construction Co. is converting a former three-story Art Deco-style industrial building at 1560 Lenox Ave. in Miami Beach to Industry Lofts and marketing units from $300,000 to more than $1 million. Completion is due in spring. The project is 40% sold, developers say. "Industry Lofts brings the authentic SoHo lofts of New York City to South Beach," said Scott Greenwald, managing partner at J. Max Developments.
BUILDING LINKS: Hotel InterContinental is building 10 hotels in places such as Argentina, Brazil and Central America – using Miami as a springboard to the south. "In economic terms, 2004 has been a turnaround year for us, especially in regards to expansion," said Alvaro Diago, the company’s president for Latin America, based in Miami. The chain brought 19 executives from its Latin American affiliates here to stress the importance of Southeast Florida. "We emphasized to our executives the importance of Miami as a true gateway of Latin America," he said. "We want to make sure they go back to their countries to promote our city."
PUERTO RICO-BOUND: The Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau is expanding into Puerto Rico. It’s running a six- to 12-month membership drive before opening a San Juan office, expected next summer. "We promote and encourage best business practices, a role that is currently not being filled in Puerto Rico," said Brodie White, bureau president and CEO. The non-profit bureau, funded by businesses, monitors advertising and business practices, resolves complaints, provides arbitration and offers consumer tips. The Southeast Florida bureau has more than 4,000 members. Details: (800) 834-1267.
CHAMBER EXPO: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is putting on a full-scale business-to-business exposition at Radisson Downtown Miami, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., 1:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 6, sponsored by Office Depot. Exhibit packages range from $549 to $1,799, and sponsorship packages start at $500. An onsite seminar will offer buyers and sellers the opportunity to network and market face to face. Details: (954) 563-0714 or www.mybizexpo.com.
SISTERLY ART: Miami-Dade County’s Sister Cities program and Miami Dade College will host the second annual Miami Dade Celebrates the Art of Its Sister Cities. The free international exhibit will be at Miami Dade College Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday through Sept. 26. The art sale will showcase works by local and international artists. Proceeds will benefit the Miami Dade Sister Cities Student Exchange Scholarship Program. Details: (305) 275-2850.
TRADE LEADER: Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa will lead a trade mission to the Dominican Republic on Sept. 15 to increase two-way trade. The county exports $2 billion a year in goods to that nation and imports $2.1 billion, a county press release stated. The Dominican Republic, the county’s second-largest trading partner after Brazil, has had a Sister Cities relationship with Miami-Dade since 1975. Details: (305) 267-6377.
LIBRARY ADDED: A library will open at 10 a.m. Friday in West Dade in a public ceremony. The 3,000-square-foot branch at 3882 SW 112th Ave. is the third of eight that will open as part of the county library system’s capital plan. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays. Details: (305) 207-1344.