Written by Miami Today on May 26, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
NEW HEIGHTS: Tom Chigoy, who has been general manager of Wyndham Miami Beach Resort for four years, will leave at the end of this month to become general manager of the cliff-top Wyndham El Conquistador Resort, Hotel & Golden Door Spa in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
VACANCY SIGN: Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group/TCN Worldwide said it is eyeing financial and legal firms to fill 18,000 square feet of vacant space in a Brickell Avenue office building. Touting proximity to hotels, restaurants and Metromover, the company said rent at 1428 Brickell starts at $22 per square foot. The 68,000-square-foot, nine-story building offers concierge and security services, onsite banking and signage availability. Bill Cutler, senior commercial associate, said a $150,000 renovation should be completed in two to three months.
HOME PRICES SOAR: The median sales price of existing single-family homes in Miami jumped 27% to $333,600 in April from $262,000 a year earlier, the Florida Association of Realtors reports. High demand, low mortgage rates and a tight supply of homes on the market continue to push prices upward, the association said. The number of homes sold in Miami last month was 1,215, down 4% from 1,262 last year. Statewide, the median sales price soared to $218,600, up 26% from $172,900 a year ago. Naples led metropolitan statistical areas at $477,100. A total of 23,537 homes were sold in Florida in April, with Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater posting the most sales, 5,105.
SEVEN TOWERS ADVANCE: Miami’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board has recommended that the city commission approve two projects with almost 3,000 housing units in the Flagami area. Five 20-story buildings in Miami River Rapids at 1851 Delaware Parkway include 2,252 residences, 38,960 square feet of retail and 3,527 parking spaces. The second project, Coastal on the River, is two 11-story buildings at 2215 NW 14th St. with 645 residences, 1,080 parking spaces and 632,658 total square feet. Luciana L. Gonzalez, special-projects coordinator for the city planning department, said all applications for certificates of appropriateness "for ground-disturbing activity pursuant to the archaeological management plans" have been approved.
LEASING OPA-LOCKA: Miami-Dade County commissioners have OK’d a 35-year lease for development on 21 acres at Opa-locka Airport by Miami Executive Aviation, a fixed-base operator. The company is to build a hangar and expand its services, said Hilda Hernandez, a county spokeswoman. The decision could lead to controversy because some of the acreage was taken from a 90-year lease the county had previously signed with Opa-locka Aviation Group. Opa-locka is one of Miami-Dade’s three general aviation airports.
AIRPORT RATES RISING: Rental rates for commercial space at Miami-Dade’s three general aviation airports – Opa-locka, Kendall-Tamiami Executive and Homestead General – will rise. Commissioners approved the increases May 17 but instructed officials to enact the increases over three years, Ms. Hernandez said.
SMALL AND CHAMPION: The South Florida district of the US Small Business Administration has named Annette Taddeo, president of LanguageSpeak Inc., as South Florida minority small-business champion of the year. LanguageSpeak, 5975 Sunset Dr. in South Miami, does Web site translations, language instruction and interpretation in more than 100 languages. According to the association, Ms. Taddeo is being honored for her achievements in supporting minority entrepreneurship in South Florida.
BIG DONOR: The University of Miami’s cancer-research division has received $3.3 million from a Deerfield Beach nonprofit. The Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research announced the donation to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on Monday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. It has contributed $7.5 million to the UM operation in three years.
MILITARY DINNER: The City of Doral is sponsoring a fundraising dinner to assist military members and their families tonight (5/26) at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, 4400 NW 87th Ave. "This is the least we can do for the men and women who are putting their lives on the line every day for us," said Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez. Proceeds are to be distributed through the Dade Community Foundation to charities that directly aid military families and survivors. Details: Jessica Sotelo, (305) 593-6725.
ZOO VENDOR: Service Systems Associates of Denver became Miami Metrozoo’s exclusive food and gift vendor May 17, said Carol Kruse, assistant zoo director. "They provided the best resources through competitive elimination," she said. The Toucan Trader gift shop at the zoo includes new displays, wildlife-related products and merchandise that will be available by July. Renovation of the store’s exterior is to begin in September. The company has serviced 19 zoos nationwide.
FLYING HIGHER: A Miami-Dade Aviation Department manager has been elected president of a national airport organization for two years. Teresita Wagner of the department’s Landside Operations Division is to head the Airport Ground Transportation Association, dedicated to improving interdepartmental communications. She has been in ground-transportation management for 20 years and is the first airport representative to take the presidency.
STAR HOTEL GUEST: Actor Jamie Foxx joined about 300 guests at a party to mark completion of a $5 million makeover of the Doubletree Grand Hotel on Biscayne Bay. Mr. Foxx attended the event May 19 ahead of filming for "Miami Vice," expected to begin June 20. The 152-room hotel, part of the 42-story Grand Condomium and Commercial Center at 1717 N Bayshore Drive, remained open during refurbishment.
CENTURY MARK: U.S. Century Bank of Miami will open a branch in the core area Friday in 2,500 square feet at 848 Brickell Ave. "We have been wanting to come to Brickell for a long time. It is the county’s banking and financial center," said President Octavio Hernandez. U.S. Century, with $537 million in assets and $90 million in equity capital, is considering expanding into downtown and plans to move into a new seven-story headquarters in Doral by year’s end.
RAIL STUDY TO ROLL: A 24-month study of a passenger railway system along the 82-mile Florida East Coast Railway corridor through Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is expected to be started by July, said Carlos M. Cejas, vice president and regional office manager of Gannett Flemming. His firm will look at bringing passenger railways closer to the East Coast, he said. The metropolitan planning organizations of the three counties are funding the study.
DEALING WITH INDIA: The Miami Free Zone in Doral will host the Outlook India 2005 seminar on business opportunities in India. India Consul General Skand Tayali and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood are to be present. The session, followed by cocktails and dinner, will begin at 6 p.m. July 12 at the Free Zone, Northwest 25th Street and 107th Avenue. Details: Bhairavi Nadgonde, (888) 229-2031.
ROAD WORKERS: The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, created by the state and Miami-Dade County in 1994 to run five state highways, has appointed four members to its 13-member board. They are former Miami mayor Maurice FerrÈ; Maritza Gutierrez, owner of Creative Ideas advertising agency; attorney Robert Holland; and Yvonne Soler-McKinley, executive director of the Miami Bayside Foundation. The authority operates State Road 836 (Dolphin Expressway), State Road 112 (Airport Expressway), State Road 874 (Don Shula Expressway), State Road 878 (Snapper Creek) and State Road 924 (Gratigny Parkway).
INTERNET AD KING: A Miami advertising agency has won three awards for an Internet campaign devised for Burger King Corp. titled Subservient Chicken. Coconut Grove agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky won two gold awards and a Grand Clio for Best of Show at a ceremony at the Jackie Gleason Theater May 23 that was part of the 46th Clio Festival. Miami Ad School Europe won an award in the student category.