Written by Miami Today on December 16, 2004
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GOING, GOING …: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez has signed documents that will clear the way for the City of Miami to sell the 16-year-old Miami Arena to Palm Beach County businessman Glenn Straub for $28 million, City Attorney Olga Ramirez-Seijas said Tuesday. She said the contract between the city and county was on its way to her office as she spoke. The city plans to use the funds to renovate the Orange Bowl and help build an adjacent stadium for the Florida Marlins. The sale contract was to close Wednesday (12/15).
CANARY FLIGHT: The Jay Malina International Trade Consortium is spearheading a business-development mission to the Canary Islands, Spain, Jan. 23-28. The islands off the west coast of Africa, with 1.7 million residents, offer a wide range of tourism opportunities, according to officials. Florida companies interested in traveling to islands should contact Alejandro Sanz at (305) 375-5420 or visit www.canaryislands-usa.com.
TRUST MEETING: The Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust has set its next full meeting for 2 p.m. Dec. 29. The trust is charged with overseeing the county’s spending of a $17 billion transit-improvement plan funded by a half-cent sales tax. The meeting is to be in the County Commission Chambers at the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW First St. Details: (305) 375-3481.
KEEPING SCORE: Miami-Dade County is releasing a scorecard to track progress on its strategic plan. Officials began developing goals in 2001 after asking residents about how to allocate resources. In 2004, officials unveiled the plan and said an annual report would be out this month. The scorecard is to include results from a 2003 resident satisfaction survey, analysis by bond-rating agencies, details on how county departments are judged and information on how dollars were spent. The scorecard is to be available at www.miamidade.gov/stratplan or by calling (786) 331-5320.
DORAL SALE: Real Equity Leasing sold The Doral Building, a 25,000-square-foot office/warehouse at 9590 NW 25th St., to Natalie Baro for more than $2 million. Ms. Baro is to operate her advertising firm there, said a spokesman for ComReal Miami, a commercial real estate services firm that handled the sale. The building was previously occupied by a telecommunications business. Details: www.comrealmiami.com.
GIBSON UPGRADE: Gibson Park, 401 NW 12th St. in Overtown, is getting a $1.4 million yearlong series of capital improvements that include a new 1,100-square-foot, air-conditioned multiuse building and a new 300-square-foot concession building north of the existing swimming pool. Homeland Defense/Neighborhood Improvements bonds will be the major funding source.
ROYAL SALE: Falor Cos. signed an agreement to buy the 417-room Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, from R. Donahue Peebles. Falor President Robert Falor said the acquisition represents his company’s "largest hotel purchase to date." The deal is expected to close next month for an undisclosed price. Mr. Falor said his hospitality chain is seeking an operator for the hotel and a partial condominium-hotel conversion is planned. He said he expects to spend about $10 million on renovations and upgrades on the property, originally built to satisfy a city agreement to have an African American-owned hotel. The acquisition represents Falor’s sixth in South Florida. Others include a joint venture with Colony Capital to buy the Mayfair House Hotel in Coconut Grove, Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada and three other South Beach properties – the Tides, Breakwater and Edison hotels. Mr. Falor said he expects to announce more hospitality-industry buyouts in the area "within the next 60 days." Details: falorcompanies.com.
NEARBY, AT SHORECREST: Related to the Royal Palm transaction, the Miami Beach City Commission approved plans by Mr. Peebles to convert the adjoining Shorecrest property from 160 hotel rooms to condo-hotel units. Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer, in a written statement, praised Mr. Peebles’ work in reconstructing the two structures into a 417-room resort.
EXPANDING ALLIANCE: Property Concepts Commercial, which bills itself as Puerto Rico’s leading real estate services firm, has joined Cushman & Wakefield’s C&W Alliance. Property Concepts President Fernando Toro said his firm, which began operations in 1992, offers client services in industrial, office, hospitality and retail real estate. "Our local platform and expertise," he said, "will further benefit C&W clients entering" the Puerto Rican market. C&W Alliance Executive Managing Director David Lawton said Tere Blanca, C&W manager for Miami and Fort Lauderdale, "had done business with Property Concepts Commercial in the past and recommended them as a great addition to the alliance." He said the alliance has 16 members operating in the US, Puerto Rico, Caribbean and Central and South America. Details: (212) 841-7918 or cushmanwakefield.com.
442 MORE CONDOS: Little Havana mixed-use condo projects Capiro Tower and Urbanea, with construction costs totaling nearly $100 million, won major-use special permits from the Miami City Commission last week. Capiro Tower, 300 SW 12th Ave. in East Little Havana, is to include 328 condos. Urbanea, at Douglas Road and Southwest 16th Street in West Little Havana, is to have 114 condos. "Groundbreaking date is to be established by developers and contractors," said Pablo Canton, Neighborhood Enhancement Team administrator for East Little Havana who predicted development would begin early next year.
HIRING IFFY: Miami-area employers expect to hire at an unsteady pace during the first quarter of 2005, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Of employers interviewed, 20% expect to hire more people, 22% expect to cut payrolls through March, 45% expect to maintain current staff levels and 13% aren’t certain of hiring plans, said Manpower spokeswoman Kristen Nevils. According to the survey, employers in non-durable goods manufacturing and education plan to cut staffing while other industries have mixed intentions. Details: www.manpower.com.
STOP OR I’LL SHOOT: County Manager George Burgess had just told Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce trustees last week about the first steps in county infrastructure bond spending. Chamber chairman Allen Harper – introducing the next speaker, Miami Police Chief John Timoney – then said he was tired of negative comments about police use of taser weapons on children. Without missing a beat, Chief Timoney stepped to the podium: "I want to thank George for finishing on time. I told him if he didn’t, I’d taser him."
CHIEF SHOT 3 TIMES: Chief Timoney said the Miami Police Department had used tasers more than 300 times in the past two years. "The great majority of them are absolutely fine," he said. Sometimes the only alternative to taser use was "to shoot the individual." The chief said he knows the awful feeling of tasering – each officer must be shot with the weapon. Mr. Timoney said he had been shot with one three times.
ENTER MINTO: Minto Communities announced Tuesday its first venture into the Miami-Dade real estate market with the development of a 24-story, 70-unit condominium called LaVogue on Williams Island, Aventura. Minto Executive Vice President Harry L. Posin said the venture "signifies our ongoing commitment to a tri-county real estate market where we plan to develop a mixture of the highest-quality urban and suburban communities." Units at LaVogue, he said, are to be priced from $700,000 to more than $1 million. Mr. Posin said his company has built more than 18,000 residences since 1978 in Broward and Palm Beach counties. For LaVogue’s designs, he said Minto is retaining architectural firm Cohen Freedman Encinosa & Associates, interior designer Culpepper McAuliffe & Meaders and landscape architect Bradshaw & Associates. Details: (954) 973-4490, ext. 241, or mintofla.com.