Written by Miami Today on June 2, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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GAS-TAX CUT: Gasoline taxes in Miami-Dade County would be reduced 2 cents a gallon effective Jan. 1 under a proposal to be heard by the county commission Tuesday. Commissioners Natacha Seijas and Rebeca Sosa are sponsoring the measure, which was deferred last month at a meeting. The measure would cut to 1 cent a capital-improvements gasoline tax the county created in 1993. The tax now is 3 cents.
WYNWOOD RULING APPEALED: The City of Miami has appealed a circuit court ruling extinguishing a $5.5 million debt and ordering it to pay $17,000 for breach of contract. In April, the court ruled in favor of Wynwood Community Economic Development Corp., finding the city had breached an agreement to apply for a $10 million loan on the corporation’s behalf. An attorney from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is assisting the Puerto Rican corporation in its claim, said particulars of the appeal hadn’t been disclosed. "The city filed a notice of appeal only May 4," said Jon Hooks. "Grounds for appeal are to follow." A federal action alleging discrimination on the basis of racial origin continues.
TOWER APPROVAL: Jade Beach Two received development approval with $21.2 million of land-acquisition financing in Sunny Isles Beach, said Manuel de Zarraga, executive managing director of real estate investment firm HFF LP. He said construction of the 252-unit luxury waterfront condominium tower is set to begin in February. The 52-story tower designed by Carlos Ott is at 17121 Collins Ave.
TOWER FINANCING: Jade Beach, meanwhile, gained $164 million in construction financing by HSBC Bank USA, Mr. Zarraga said. The 248-unit luxury waterfront condominium at 17001 Collins Ave. is expected to be completed in two years.
GROWING IN GROVE: Grove Garden, a 38-unit condominium, is to open in December, said Kim Liberty, vice president of sales and marketing. Located in Coconut Grove at 3540 Main Highway, the complex has units selling from $439,000 to $1.5 million, and townhouses start at $745,000. Ninety-five percent of the residences are sold, she said, with commercial tenants for the ground floor still being sought.
PARK WEST ON THE RISE: The Miami City Commission agreed last week to allow developers to build up to 2.5 times taller buildings on 280 acres of Park West. The area is bounded by Interstate 395 on the north, Northeast Second Avenue to the east, Northeast Fifth Street and Northeast Sixth Street to the south and Northwest First Avenue to the west. It consists primarily of low-rise commercial construction. "The administration didn’t want to discuss in detail the thinking behind it," said Commissioner Tomas Regalado, "but I still think there is something lined up."
BOND BENEFITS: How spending of General Obligation Bond revenues will affect the Brickell area will be the focus of a luncheon Wednesday (6/8) sponsored by the Brickell Area Association and Miami Today. County Manager George Burgess is to speak at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, 495 Brickell Ave. Association members $30, others $35. Details: (305) 375-0080.
MAKEOVER BEGINS: North Miami is on the verge of a major makeover. A groundbreaking June 9 for two 25-story towers in Biscayne Landing kicks off a mixed-use redevelopment that is to add 6,000 residential units. Four percent of the selling price of each unit will go to a fund to subsidize the city’s affordable-housing program, an initiative expected to add another 6,000 homes in the city. A joint effort of the City of North Miami, Boca Developers and Swerdlow Group, the project involves a 100,000-square-foot town center, a hotel and jogging and nature trails.
PROMOTING HAITI: The government of Haiti will sponsor the Haiti-US Tourism and Economic Empowerment Summit, scheduled for June 25, to promote economic development on the island. "We are trying to create a positive image of Haiti," said Magaly Prizeau, vice president of MWM Associates, coordinator of the event. "We are starting to dialogue with key Haitian government individuals to change the image of Haiti and hopefully attract investors." The event also aims to persuade Haitians living in Florida to visit their homeland. The 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. event will be at Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Details: (305) 249-6966.
EXPORTING TO EUROPE: A Miami Free Zone seminar, Europe & The CE Mark – A Marketing Strategy, at 8:30 a.m. June 17 will assess the European Union and its potential for US products. Also discussed will be assistance from the US Commercial Service and how to get a product-compliance declaration on relevant European health, safety and environmental protection legislation. Details: www.floridaexporter.com/events or Stephanie Heckel, (954) 356-6640.
INVESTOR SELLS AGAIN: A Northeast property group has made its sixth major property disposal in South Florida in seven months, its second in Coral Gables. A subsidiary of Brookwood Financial Partners of Boston sold Gables CitiTower for $20.9 million to 999 Ponce LLC in a deal that closed May 26. Earlier this year, another Brookwood company sold 2121 Ponce de Leon in Coral Gables for $27.1 million. Brookwood acquired Gables CitiTower, a 124,983 square foot, 11-story property at 999 Ponce de Leon Blvd., three years ago from UBS Realty Investors for $17 million.
AMBASSADOR TO SPEAK: Jean-David Levitte, ambassador of France to the US, will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Beacon Council and sponsored by Paul USA with the collaboration of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Florida, said Yann Battefort, vice consul of France in Miami. "He usually likes to come to Florida about three times a year," Mr. Battefort said. "The French community in South Florida is growing every year, and France is still a very important foreign investor in the Florida economy." The luncheon will be at noon today (6/2) at the Biltmore Hotel, Country Club Ballroom, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Tickets are $65. RSVP: (305) 579-1300.
MIRAMAR CAMPUS: The University of Phoenix plans to open a Miramar campus July 1, said Jamie Spellacy, director of the university’s main South Florida campus in Fort Lauderdale. The school’s facilities at 2400 SW 145th Ave. include 23,500 square feet of space with 13 classrooms. The university will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, nursing, health care, technology, criminal justice and education. The university also has learning centers in Plantation and Palm Beach Gardens.
MISSION TO MEXICO: Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private development partnership, plans an export mission Sept. 25-29 to Mexico, third-largest market for Florida-origin exports. The mission, limited to 15 participants, is to Mexico City and Monterrey. Enterprise Florida cites export opportunities ranging from electronic components to telecommunication equipment. Details: Julie Balzano, (305) 569-2650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORRECTION: A May 26 story, "Miami parking authority signs developer for old garage," inaccurately described the planned uses for the 46-year-old garage at 40 NW Third St. Once redeveloped, the structure is to include 12,500 square feet of retail, a garage with about 1,050 spaces and 401 condos.