Written by Miami Today on March 31, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
CONDO QUASHES TOWER: Aventura-based CABI Developers has abandoned plans for a 192-unit residential project on the parking lot of 1408 Brickell Bay Dr. By state law, the 214 condo owners at 1408 Brickell Bay Tower had to unanimously approve. Some didn’t. "We got an opinion from our lawyers, and it is not feasible at this time," said Ted Slack, a condo association director. Some residents, he said, believed that having a tower rise in their backyard would be a nuisance. He said CABI never made an effort to negotiate. "They never really made an offer. We never went too far. Maybe some day."
TOWER ADVANCES: Paramount Bay at Edgewater Square, a $150 million project continued a month ago due to concerns from residents at nearby 2121 N. Bayshore Dr., won Miami City Commission support last week. The residential and retail project at Northeast 21st Street, 20th Terrace and Bayshore Drive is to include 355 condo units and 26,465 square feet of retail. Total square footage is 647,301. Adrienne F. Pardo, a Greenberg Traurig attorney representing developer Royal Palm Miami Holdings, said company representatives met with 2121 N. Bayshore residents for three hours and then again a week before the commission meeting and reported that residents don’t oppose the project. Allison Gillespie, condo association president, confirmed approval.
SLIMMED DOWN: Zoning and use change in the Paramount project reduced its size from 3.7 acres to 2.7; residential space from 614,588 square feet to 609,345; commercial from 45,781 square feet; units from 369; height from 503 feet to 496; and parking spaces from 501 to 452. Ms. Pardo said the project would return to the commission April 28 for a second reading, approval of a major-use special permit and an alley closure.
TRUE OPUS: City commission permitting for Opus, a 408-unit, 58-story condo project next to Interstate 395 at 1237 Biscayne Blvd., was pushed back another month Thursday at the developer’s request. The project, continued for the third time, is held up by negotiations with Florida Department of Transportation officials who fear it would disrupt highway improvements. "Lucia, does Opus want to break the record of the Performing Arts Center delay?" Commissioner Tomas Regalado asked Lucia Dougherty, a Greenberg Traurig attorney representing Opus. "I don’t think we could possibly do that," she replied. The issue is to go back to the commission April 28.
BOND WATCHERS: A proposal to form a bonds advisory committee is to be considered by Miami-Dade county commissioners Tuesday. Allocation of $2.9 billion in General Obligation Bonds revenue would then be subject to the scrutiny of a citizens advisory committee of 21 members, 13 of whom are to be chosen by commissioners, five by the county manager and three by the county mayor. Members would serve as long as their elector remains in office or they resign. Bond funds are to be distributed over the next 15 years.
MUSEUM AIDED: Funds to help build a new home for the Miami Art Museum of Dade County in Bicentennial Park won Miami City Commission approval last week. A grant of $700,000 will support development activities such as community planning, the work of consultants specializing in museum planning, financial feasibility and project management that are to cost a combined $1.4 million. The project is part of the Homeland Defense Improvement Bond Program voters approved in November 2001. Said Commissioner Johnny Winton: "This is part of the dream to create a museum park in downtown Miami."
UP IN THE AIR: The wait for Angela Gittens’ successor continues, with a meeting planned for next month to consider applicants to fill Miami-Dade County’s vacant position of aviation director. "Korn/Ferry is continuing its national search," said Corinne Brody, county special assistant for strategic management. "We expect to have a screening panel meeting in April where the group will be briefed on a list of potential candidates for interview." A spokesman at the executive search company’s Miami office said the county could expect to pay about $70,000 in its fee for the company’s help in filling the post, which carries an annual salary of more than $200,000.
HOTEL ROOM: The operator of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach wants to extend a building permit deadline six months because of a change in its setback, a city official said. Hotelerama Associates is developing the Sorrento Hotel, requiring an 87-foot setback from the road – an order the city decided last year was too onerous. "It received a variance a year ago," said Planning and Zoning Manager Richard Lorber. "The plan is to demolish the hotel and recreate on the southern portion. Setbacks are calculated in proportion to the size of a property, and the Fontainebleau is vast. It was considered a hardship and was adjusted to 15 feet, which was the degree of setback historically." The Board of Adjustment on Friday is to consider extending the time for building permit submission to Nov. 7.
ANGLING FOR APPROVAL: Architectural adjustments to a former haunt of Ernest Hemingway on South Beach are to be considered by city officials this week. Developer Gregg Covin has applied to Miami Beach for eight variances at the Angler’s Hotel, 632-642 Washington Ave., which are to be considered April 1. "I believe that these adjustments were approved a while ago," said Richard Lorber, city planning and zoning manager, "but they expired." The 1930s hotel sold for $5 million Jan. 21. The interior designer to late fashion designer Gianni Versace, J. Wallace Tutt, is to help in the restoration.
PREMIUM PLAN: An international insurance bill won unanimous approval Tuesday in the Florida House of Representatives’ Finance and Tax Committee. Geared to foreigners spending fewer than 120 days in the US, the bill would allow international insurance companies to enter the Florida market. According to a Beacon Council study, if the bill becomes law, $2.7 million could be injected into Miami-Dade’s economy, generating 50,000 jobs. The study is based on a projected sale of 1 million premiums during one to two years. The measure is sponsored by Sens. Rudy Garcia of Hialeah and Gwen Margolis of Miami Beach and Rep. Marcelo Llorente of Miami. The next step is the House’s commerce council, then the House floor.
BANKING ON MIAMI: United Kingdom-based Lloyds Bank TSB is applying to open a representative office in Miami, according to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation in Tallahassee. The new facility is to be downtown, a subsidiary of existing Lloyds Bank International, 2 S. Biscayne Blvd.
ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT: Corporate scandals may be fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among college graduates, according to a survey by recruitment firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. The average number of self-employed workers ages 24-34 increased from 1.4 million to 1.5 million from 2001 to 2004. Company officials said the increase may be explained by a 2002 Junior Achievement survey that found that 90% of 1,500 teens surveyed would not work for a company that has been accused of unethical behavior. The Securities and Exchange Commission had 2,929 investigations pending at the end of 2003, up from 1,966 in 1999.
CORRECTION: A March 17 article should have stated that Monica Neumann is vice president of operations for Regent International Hotels. She, not the company, is based in Fort Lauderdale.
CORRECTION: Last week’s article about Coral Gables retail should have said that Campaniello, a furniture store in the Design District, is opening a second store at 301 Miracle Mile.
CORRECTION: A March 10 article on affordable-housing units planned in Little Havana incorrectly stated that for every dollar pumped into housing projects in Little Havana Revitalization District, $8 was leveraged in federal and state money to build affordable units. The $8 actually is leveraged from private developers.