Written by Miami Today on September 16, 2004
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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JOB PLANS SOFTEN: Area employers expect to hire at a modest pace during the fourth quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Of Miami-Dade companies interviewed, 27% plan to hire more, 20% intend to cut back, 44% expect to keep the status quo and 9% aren’t sure. "The employment outlook is weaker than the third-quarter forecast," said Manpower’s Luis Rodriguez. "Back then, 35% of the companies intended to take on more staff while 22% planned to decrease headcount." He said plans were similar to a year ago, when 16% expected added jobs and 9% saw cutbacks.
TOUGH PROBLEM: A group seeking ways to relieve overcrowding in Miami-Dade County Public Schools will meet twice more to iron out recommendations to the county commission and school board. It was to issue its final report last week but decided to take another look at the recommendations Sept. 24 and issue the final report Oct. 8, said Marta Perez, a school board member and co-chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Working Group on Public Schools Overcrowding Relief.
CONTENTIOUS STILL: At least two recommendations, Ms. Perez said, remain contentious: putting schools in airport flight paths and giving the school district a say in zoning and comprehensive plan decisions impacting its schools. Members of the working group include co-chairwoman Katy Sorenson, a county commissioner; and representatives of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, Miami-Dade League of Cities, Miami-Dade Land Acquisition and Facilities Maintenance Operations Advisory Board, Parent and Teacher Association, Builders Association of South Florida, Latin Builders Association of South Florida, NAACP, Spanish American League Against Discrimination and Black Business Association.
NEW VICE CHAIR: Rosa SugraÒes, chairwoman of Iberia Tiles Corp., replaced Alberto Ibarg¸en, publisher of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, as first vice chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s nominating committee chose Ms. SugraÒes after Mr. Ibarg¸en informed the chamber last month that he would step down, chamber officials said. The chamber’s board ratified the committee’s selection Sept. 1, said Barry Johnson, chamber executive vice president of marketing and communications. Mr. Ibarg¸en, who will remain on the chamber’s board, was unavailable for comment.
FUTURE CHAIR: As the first vice chairman, Ms. SugraÒes, who has served on the chamber’s executive committee and board, is to become chairman in 2006. Allen C. Harper, chairman and CEO of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors, is current chairman. Adolfo Henriques, chairman and CEO of Union Planters Bank of Florida, is to lead the chamber in 2005-06. "I’m very honored to be chairing the most important private business organization in South Florida," Ms. SugraÒes said. "The chamber has played and will play an important role in Miami’s growth." Details: www.greatermiami.com.
DOWNTOWN TOWER: The vice president of leasing and marketing for downtown Miami’s Bank of America Tower at International Place announced leases and renewals totaling more than 42,000 square feet. The largest were renewals of more than 13,000 square feet, or a full floor, by global consulting firm Vector Group and law firm Buchanan Ingersoll. Danet Linare said new tenants in the building’s Sky Lobby include Nishima, a sushi restaurant, and City Newsstand. The law firm Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin expanded by 3,185 square feet and HAW & Associates Inc. extended use of 6,197 square feet. Details: (305) 539-7100.
MEDICA MOVE: Holly Real Estate announced the signing of Medica Healthcare Plans Inc. to a 10-year lease for 22,000 square feet of office space in the 150,000-square-foot 4000 Ponce Building at Bird Road and Ponce de Leon Avenue, across from the Village of Merrick Park. In the transaction, William H. Holly represented the landlord, Collections Properties. Medica is moving from downtown Coral Gables. Mr. Holly said the lease, the largest in Coral Gables in the third quarter this year, brings occupancy in the building, a Ugo Colombo CMC Group project, to more than 90%.
GABLES PROJECT: Roger Development Group named Fullerton Diaz Architects to design a 10-story condominium and retail project, One Village Place, adjacent to the Village of Merrick Park on Bird Road between Salzedo and Altara streets, Coral Gables. Oscar Roger, president & CEO of Roger Development Group, said One Village Place would feature condominiums, two- and three-story lofts and penthouses from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet that would be priced from the $300,000s to the $600,000s. The plan also calls for a 28,000-square-foot retail center. Gables Premier Realty is sales agent. Details: (305) 446-2326 or villageplacecondos.com.
TRIP POSTPONED: The Beacon Council and Florida FTAA Inc. postponed a Sept. 9 business mission to the Bahamas due to Hurricane Frances. The trip will not be rescheduled until the Bahamian government can recover from the hurricane’s devastation, a Beacon Council spokesman said. "We are joining in solidarity to offer our assistance to the people of the Bahamas," said Frank Nero, council president and CEO. The Beacon Council’s executive committee and Florida FTAA planned to visit Nassau to strengthen business ties between the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and South Florida.
ISLAND SISTERS: Miami-Dade County has a new Sister City, St. Kitts and Nevis Islands. County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, chairman of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium, and Denzil L. Douglas, the islands’ prime minister, met at the Hilton Miami Airport Towers on Saturday to sign the agreement, followed by a celebration dinner that also commemorated St. Kitts and Nevis’ independence from Great Britain on Sept. 19, 1983. The islands, separated by a 2-mile channel, are in the Caribbean’s Northern Leeward Islands, a third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. Their 38,836 people live on 261 square miles – about one-eighth the land area used by Miami-Dade’s 2.3 million residents.
DIPLOMATIC GALA: International diplomats and the Sister Cities International Board of Directors will attend a diplomats’ black-tie gala Oct. 16 at the Marriott Marina in Fort Lauderdale. Sister Cities International, a Washington, DC non-profit citizen-diplomacy network, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and state business and civic leaders will welcome the officials to Fort Lauderdale, which will host next year’s meeting of the Organization of American States. The organization brings together the countries of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation and advance common interests. This year’s distinguished special honorees are Ambassadors Sue and Chuck Cobb. Details: (954) 491-8611.
TROLLEY EXPANSION: Coral Gables is expanding its express-loop commuter trolley service along Ponce de Leon Boulevard throughout the day and adding stops at the Biltmore Hotel to the Miracle Mile route. Both route expansions began this week. Express-loop trolleys run 7-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. along Ponce de Leon, said Ed Cox, Coral Gables trolley manager. Stops at the Biltmore, he said, will be daily every half-hour beginning at 1:30 p.m. Mr. Cox said more than 300,000 people have used the service since it was launched less than a year ago. "Ridership statistics clearly indicate that we need to implement new and efficient ways of meeting the transportation demands of our riders," he said.
SAVVY CITY: Coral Gables this month received two 2004 Savvy Awards from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association for best newsletter and trolley marketing campaign. The Washington-D.C. based association presents the annual awards to recognize local governments that achieve the highest ideals of public service through communications and marketing. "In the last 12 months our residents and businesses have benefited from a well-implemented strategic communications plan," said City Manager David L. Brown. Details: (305) 460-5205.
INFOCOM CONFERENCE: The IEEE Communications Society, a New York organization that promotes science, technology and communications applications, will sponsor Infocom 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Miami. The annual conference on computer communications, scheduled for March 13-17, will feature speakers on topics such as cellular networks, network management and Web performance. A workshop on research challenges in mobile and wireless network security and privacy will be held in conjunction with the conference. Details: www.ieee-infocom.org/2005.
YOUNG AND IN REAL ESTATE: Miami’s Association of Young Real Estate Professionals begins a season of networking events, meetings and educational programs with a hard-hat tour of the Miami Performing Arts Center at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 23. Then the group will meet at Gordon Biersch for a happy hour. The association, formed in April by four commercial real estate professionals, hosts events focused on improving the careers of young real estate professionals. "Since its inception, the contact list for (the association) has swelled to over 215 people," said Lori Adams, president and co-founder. "We are looking forward to a tremendous turnout for our September event." Details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEADING SPANISH TRADE: Belen Cristino replaced BegoÒa Cristeto as trade commissioner of Spain in Miami on Sept. 1, managing a team of 23 developing and promoting business relations and investments between Spain and the US. Ms. Cristino’s 15 years of experience include serving as general director for industrial development and sectorial policies at the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Spain. She also served as an alternate director for Spain and Mexico at the European Bank for reconstruction and development in London. Her offices are at 2655 LeJeune Road in Coral Gables. Details: (305) 446-4387.
HAITI GROUP: Gov. Jeb Bush appointed 17 Florida business and civic leaders to a Haiti advisory group to identify development initiatives that could improve that nation’s economy, education, environment and technology. In addition, the group is to encourage individuals from public and private sectors to contribute initiatives and resources. On Sept. 1, the group began receiving support from the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, a non-profit organization that encourages Floridians to improve the social and economic conditions in the Caribbean and Central America. Details: www.favaca.org.
LOCAL ADVISORS: The Haiti advisory group includes nine Miami-Dade countians: Marie S. Bell, executive director, the Miami-Dade Land Advisory Board; Jean-Michel G. Caffin, president and CEO, Bureau Veritas North America; Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale, president, St. Thomas University; Gary C. Eugene, commander, Miami Police Department; Adam M. Goldstein, executive vice president, Royal Caribbean Cruises; Ghislain Gouraige Jr., senior vice president, Bank of America Private Bank; Francois Leconte, president and CEO, Minority Development and Empowerment Inc.; Francis J. Mitchell, assistant director, City of Miami Public Works Department; and Rudolph G. Moise, president and CEO, Comprehensive Health Center Inc. Ms. Bell will head the group.
PRESSING BUSINESS: Saint Ives Avanti, a commercial printing firm, completed a $4 million-plus expansion in its Miami plant Monday. "The expansion ultimately will add 12 new jobs to the press alone and several other positions as the business expands," said General Manager Gary Davis in a press release. The company operates web and sheet-fed offset presses. The St. Ives plant is at 13449 NW 42nd Ave. Details: (800) 327-7486.
MADRID ON THE BEACH: The office of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and Feria de Madrid Institute is celebrating its first anniversary, postponed from March due to terrorist attacks in Spain, with a reception Oct. 4 at 1116 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach at the mansion formerly owned by Gianni Versace. The chamber helps Madrid-based companies do business in the US. Feria de Madrid, one of the biggest trade show organizers in Europe, helps US exhibitors obtain booths for conventions in Spain. "Spanish companies use Miami as their port of entry to the US," said office director Beatriz Machado. She said companies currently interested in investing in the US are in the food & beverage sector as well as software, fashion and publishing industries.
TOWER SALE: The 43,000-square-foot Tower Paint building, 620 W. 27th St., Hialeah, has been sold for nearly $1.3 million. Colliers International agent Ted Konigsberg, who represented seller Caribe Sales in the transaction, said the property includes 1.5 acres and has offices on two floors and a large fenced-in truck yard. He identified the buyer as Luis Labrador. Details: (305) 260-3645.