Written by Miami Today on June 30, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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AIR FIRM MAY LAND HERE: Latecoere, a French airplane parts and components manufacturer, could be searching for a plant in Miami-Dade County. Arriving from a visit to the Paris Air Show, Beacon Council President Frank Nero said the Toulouse-based company, which already has a representative office for exports on Brickell Avenue, can be a supplier to Airbus in the county. Airbus has a 110,000-square-foot training center here employing 100. "Airbus is a Latecoere client," he said, "so there is potential for tremendous opportunities."
FRENCH FIRM EYES GABLES: Eaux de Marseille, a French water management company, is considering opening an office in Miami-Dade County as a base for the company’s Latin American and Caribbean operations. A possible location is Coral Gables: the company already has signed a cooperative agreement to do consulting work for the City of Coral Gables, according to French Consul General Cristophe Bouchard. "They are one of the largest companies in the world. They are still feeling out the stage," said Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick, who is expecting a visit from a Eaux de Marseille contingent this fall.
G. O. BEACH: City and county officials descended on Miami’s Virginia Key Beach Park Tuesday to launch the first project by a beneficiary of $2.9 billion in General Obligation Bond funds approved in November. County Manager George Burgess and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez were among them. The park project, including construction of a museum and cultural center, is to receive $1 million – funds that should clear July 21 after the first bond offering of $250 million July 7.
NEW WORKFORCE HEAD: Former Miami-Dade commissioner Larry Hawkins is new chair of the South Florida Workforce. Elected Friday by directors for a one-year term, he replaces Don Marx, who is no longer a board member. One of his tasks is to try to help diminish unemployment in Miami-Dade, which has the highest rate in the state at 4.3%, according to the latest federal statistics. "We have to better understand what needs are to train our workforce for jobs in partnership with business community," Mr. Hawkins said. "We can’t train someone in aerospace technology if we don’t have that type of industry here." Despite high unemployment, nonagricultural employment in Miami-Dade increased 1.6%, adding 16,200 jobs over the year.
FAIN HEADS UNITED WAY: The United Way of Miami-Dade elected a new chair to its board of trustees Tuesday. Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, replaces Cesar Alvarez, president and CEO of Greenberg Traurig, who served two years. Mr. Fain took the helm at the Radisson Miami Hotel at the annual meeting.
HIGH-SPEED UNIVERSITIES: The University of Miami has joined forces with nine other educational establishments across Florida to create a high-speed data network. After two years of preparation, the Florida Lambda Rail Network is slated to be ready for use by all 10 participants today (6/30). The other private and public participants are the universities of Central, West and North Florida; Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State and Nova Southeastern universities; the University of Florida and the Florida Institute of Technology. The network is part of the National Lambda Rail initiative designed to network academic institutions.
DORAL HOLDING GROWTH: Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez is considering extending the city’s building moratorium for three months. Implemented Feb. 1, the six-month restriction ends July 31. If extended the building stoppage would remain until Oct. 31. Mayor Bermudez said he may propose extending the moratorium because he says the city needs more time to work on its comprehensive master plan. The meeting today (6/30) starts at 6 p.m. at Fire Rescue Headquarters, 9300 NW 41st St.
BEAUTIFUL DEAL: A New York-based company has bought what it says is the last parcel of oceanfront land in Miami Beach from First Ocean Estates Realty for an undisclosed sum. PMG Collins, a subsidiary of Property Markets Group, plans to build a 21-story, 135-unit condominium on the 1.75 acres at 5875 Collins Ave. PMG Collins borrowed $98 million to finance the deal and plans to price units from $1 million to more than $2 million. The development is to be called Mei, meaning beauty in Mandarin.
FAMED AT FILM FEST: Director Spike Lee is to be among the cast of characters at the American Black Film Festival to be staged on South Beach next month. The New York University alum is to host a filmmakers’ workshop July 14. The festival that is in its ninth year, its fourth in Miami Beach, runs July 13-17. This year’s lineup includes rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube, who appeared in county-based production "All About the Benjamins," and director Mario Van Peebles, who played Malcolm X in "Ali," part of which was shot at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach. Details: www.abff.com.
REDHEAD GETS BRONZE: A chamber of commerce chief who spent a year in Iraq has been awarded a medal for her services to the military. Col. Lettie Bien, president and CEO of the Coral Gables chamber, traveled to the Pentagon in Washington on Friday to pick up the Bronze Star Medal – a military decoration awarded for heroic or meritorious service that doesn’t involve aerial flights. The 350th Civil Affairs Command in Pensacola called reservist Ms. Bien back to active duty in December 2003. She returned to her role at the chamber Jan. 3 after acting as a senior advisor and consultant to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry & Minerals.
GABLES TOWER SOLD: A 145,000-square-foot office building at 2801 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables has been sold for an undisclosed price. Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group/TCN Worldwide, which brokered the transaction, said the 12-story office building owned by the Prahl family was sold to Ralph Sanchez with Ponce Circle.
GENERAL SPEAKS: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s board of governor and trustees luncheon July 6 features US Army Gen./Commander of US Southern Command John Craddock and the chamber’s Service Person of the Year awards. The lunch is at Radisson Downtown Miami, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Details: email@example.com.
HIGH ROADS: Miami-Dade County Transit plans to begin a study in July on special-use bus lanes on major roads and expressways. The plan aims to improve traffic flow during peak hours. Jose Luis Mesa, director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Miami-Dade County, said building a stronger bus transit area is pertinent because future county expressway expansion will be minimal.
CUTTING EDGE: The first Independent Fashion Trade Show, to run July 19-20 in Miami Beach, is seeking designers. The show is to be held at the Sanctuary Hotel at 1745 James Ave. Fashion hopefuls should supply line sheets with wholesale prices, a biography, a press kit or press coverage together with lists of preferred accounts and of samples to IF Trade Show, 180 Northwest 25th St., Miami 33127. Up to 25 booths are available at $700. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.iftradeshow.com.
MIAMI’S FUTURE: Miami 21, a project designed to provide a vision for the future of City of Miami, will host a public involvement workshop on economics, transportation, zoning, and parks at 8:30 a.m. July 9 at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center, 300 NE Second Ave. Details: Miami 21 hotline, (305) 416-2121.
CORRECTION: A June 23 article, "New residents, construction explosion have banks expanding," inaccurately reported the number of Commercebank branches in Miami-Dade County. The bank has seven branches in the county.