Written by Miami Today on May 5, 2005
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OPUS FIVE: A possible state land buy near the Miami Performing Arts Center caused the Miami City Commission to delay a development hearing Thursday. Action on Opus, a proposed 408-unit, 58-story condo next to Interstate 395 at 1237 Biscayne Blvd., was delayed for two months – its fifth delay since July. The city requested the first three to correct a defect in plans, and the developer sought the next two. "The justifiable reason is we may not have to have a hearing because the state may buy the property. So why go through an entire lengthy hearing when we don’t have to?" said Lucia Dougherty, Greenberg Traurig attorney representing Opus. Developers have been negotiating with Florida Department of Transportation officials, who fear Opus would disrupt efforts to improve I-395.
HOME FREE: A bid to limit a proposed Home Depot at US 1 and Southwest 32nd Avenue to 70,000 square feet fizzled at the Miami City Commission meeting Thursday. "We don’t want to put lipstick on the pig," said Commissioner Joe Sanchez, "but the law is the law, and we must obey it whether we like or not." Commissioner Tomas Regalado questioned the size – the original plan was for a 133,000-square-foot store to replace Milam’s, a grocery that still holds a four-year lease. "In the American economy, money talks," responded City Attorney Jorge Fernandez. "If it doesn’t fit, they have to quit, like the famous O.J. Simpson trial." Meanwhile, city officials are to meet with Coconut Grove activist attorney Tucker Gibbs to find ways to limit the size of future big-box stores in the Grove – but not Home Depot.
LAND NEEDED: Miami-Dade single-family housing starts fell 17% in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2004, says data provider Metrostudy. Demand is outpacing new supply in a number of areas in South Florida, said Metrostudy office director Bradley F. Hunter. In Miami-Dade, he said, the depletion of land approved for housing has ignited a heated discussion regarding moving the urban service boundary westward.
KOREA TRADE: Eleven Korean businessmen are due here Tuesday to talk trade with small and midsize companies. "Koreans want to find business partners who can distribute products in the US and Latin America," said Rafael Martinez, spokesman for the Korean Trade Center, which is sponsoring the 9 a.m.-5 p.m. talks at Hotel InterContinental Doral. The center is setting up a June 27-July 2 trade mission to the Far East. Details: (305) 374-4648 or email@example.com.
HEALTH HIRE: Janet Perkins is to begin work Monday as executive director of Miami-Dade County’s Office of Countywide Healthcare Planning. Ms. Perkins, who has about 20 years’ experience, is to pinpoint needs for health-care services and work to meet the needs of consumers, including the county’s 590,000 uninsured residents. She was most recently a professor and community planner for Howard University’s Public Health Program in Washington. "The office is well-positioned to help identify and implement effective strategies," she said, "that will truly make a difference in Miami-Dade residents’ health."
NEW HOME BASE: A South Florida landowner with $1.5 billion in projects in the pipeline has moved its office from New York to Miami to be closer to its developments. Leviev Boymelgreen has moved to the seventh floor of 3050 Biscayne Blvd., 19 blocks north of its 306-unit Marquis condo project that is to replace the Port of Miami Hotel. Residential developments Soleil and Vitri are to add a further 354 units to Miami and Miami Beach. The company, which owns $130 million of completed construction in the region, has interests in New York, Las Vegas and Toronto.
DESIGNING DUBAI: Architect Reinaldo Borges of Borges & Associates, a Brickell designer of several projects in South Florida and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, said the two markets, though distanced, are similar. More than 50,000 housing units are under construction in Dubai, he said, leading to questions of speculative buying and a bubble. Borges & Associates in late 2003 formed an alliance with a 25-person office in Dubai. Borges acts as design architect on projects with local architects doing the technical production.
PARK AND SHOP: The Miami Parking Authority is seeking proposals to lease about 20,000 square feet of retail space in a garage that it is to open this year between Northwest 21st Street and 21st Terrace. The authority expects the garage and retail space to create about 300 jobs in the area. Potential tenants must submit a letter of intent to authority executive director Arthur Noriega by 4 p.m. May 13. Details: miamiparking.com.INVESTING IN MIAMI: A British investment company that manages assets of more than $1.3 billion worldwide opens a US office this week in Miami. London & Capital officials said they considered New York and Washington before choosing South Florida after seeing 40% growth in assets across the Americas and the Caribbean in the past year. The Isle of Man-registered business with offices in London and Mauritius employs 77 worldwide, four of whom will be based on Brickell Key. Investment Director Tony McLoughlin, who heads the office, said he hopes to expand the business to up to 20 employees by the end of 2006. Offices in the Northeast and on the West Coast figure in the company’s five-year plan.
ALL THAT JAZZ: A curator of jazz programming joined the staff of the Miami Performing Arts Center on Monday. Fernando Gonzalez, a former music critic for the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, is to work with artistic director Justin Macdonnell on scheduling for the center, slated to be completed Aug. 4, 2006. Mr. Gonzalez is an Emmy winner for his Public Broadcasting Service production "Notes from the Mambo Inn: The Story of Mario Bauza."
MANAGEMENT KUDOS: A Florida International University professor has won the Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management. Mary Ann Von Glinow, director of the university’s Center for International Business Education and Research, is to receive her award in Honolulu in August. She has written more than 100 journal articles and 11 books that include "Organizational Learning Capability," 2002 winner of the Gold Book Award from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan.
FILM GOES BEGGING: A South Florida filmmaker is in talks to sell distribution rights to a film about a man’s escape from Cuba to Miami though he’s had trouble finding audiences here. Victor Barron of West Palm Beach said a large studio expressed interest in "Freedom Flight," a comedy depicting Cuban President Fidel Castro, but neither the Miami International Film Festival nor the Latin Film Festival would show it. "I think it’s political," said Mr. Barron, who received a $50,000 gift from Universal Studios toward the five-day project, "but it shows he doesn’t know how to fly an airplane, much like he doesn’t know how to run a country." Coral Gables resident Armando Roblan plays Castro. Details: www.freedomflightthemovie.com.
BRAND AID: Cantor Media Research and the International Advertising Association are to unveil a study on the most-known brands in Latin America – including Visa International, Nokia, Smirnoff, Sony and Hewlett Packard – at an 8:45 a.m. breakfast Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel, 1435 Brickell Ave. Speakers include Ana Cristina Abella, Visa Latin America vice president of brand management; Martha Krawczik, Sony marketing manager; and Cesar Keller, Nokia marketing vice president. Details: Muriel Sommers, (305) 529-5006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EUREKA: University of Miami and Florida International University officials are to join representatives of 10 other Florida universities to discuss new patents at the Florida Tech Transfer Conference May 18-19 at the Hilton Walt Disney World. Patents issued to Florida’s university system rose 7% from 119 in 2003 to 127 last year, according to a survey of the 12 schools by the Technology Transfer Office at Florida State University. Details: www.flatechtransfer.org.
CORRECTION: Miami Parking Authority Executive Director Art Noriega was misquoted in an April 21 story about the Gusman Theater. It should have been reported that Mr. Gusman said, "The Friends of Gusman has been dormant for a long time," referring to an organization that helped form theater policy, set programming and raised funds.
CORRECTION: In an April 28 report on downtown retail, Cynthia Cohen of Strategic Mindshare should have been quoted as saying that downtown Miami has had national chains such as Sports Authority. According to Robert Geitner of the Downtown Miami Partnership, the downtown Sports Authority was closed in fall 2003 after the company was acquired by Gart Sports Co.