Written by Miami Today on November 17, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
RESALES DIP, PRICES SOAR: Resales of single-family homes in the third quarter dipped 2% in Miami from the third quarter of 2004 while prices rose 27%, the Florida Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. The decline in sales was more marked in Fort Lauderdale, 20%, and the price rise steeper, 30%. In Miami, 3,070 homes were resold at a median price of $363,300. In Fort Lauderdale, 2,972 were resold at a median price of $383,900. Statewide, resales rose 7% and prices climbed 31%.
AT CONDO BUILDING, WE’RE TOPS: Miami ranks first in the nation in the number of residential condominiums under construction, according to a Wall Street Journal report last week. The paper lists 6,390 units rising, significantly ahead of No. 2 New York, with 3,607. The paper says Miami had 3,999 units under construction a year ago. The Journal says condo prices here have gained 122% in the past five years – good for No. 20 nationally in percentage increase.
CORAL WAY RISING: 3,527 residential housing units in 32 buildings are in the pipeline along Coral Way west of Third Avenue in Miami, according to city statistics. Integra Realty Resources estimates 1,000 units are being built and marketed, said Managing Director Michael Cannon. The rest are in various planning stages or awaiting City Commission approval, he said. If all the units are completed, more than 8,000 residents will be added to the city’s population, according to 2000 US Census data that reports an average 2.4 people per multifamily structure in the area. However, the estimate would fall, Miami-Dade County planning and zoning officials said, if more units than usual are second or seasonal homes.
UNIVERSITY ADDS TRUSTEES: Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens has added four new trustees – Clyde Rucker, senior vice president of global communications and external affairs at Burger King; Roberta Kressel, executive vice president of human resources at BankUnited; Horace Hord Jr., regional vice president for Caribbean government and industry relations with Royal Caribbean International Celebrity Cruises; and the Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee. The historically black institution offers 41 undergraduate and three graduate programs. Details: (305) 626-3624.
BRANCHING OUT: Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union, the state’s largest credit union, has signed a lease for a 2,300-square-foot branch at 296 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables. Eastern Financial has more than $2 billion in assets and 204,000 members nationwide.
HOW ABOUT DOUGHNUTS? Miami city commissioners are to vote today (11/17) to contribute $10,000 to the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police executive board’s meeting in mid-December to cover ballroom, food and beverages. The city’s police department, as part of its membership, hosts the event, attended by 300 members of 60 local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies.
‘DOZER DOLLARS: Miami’s Department of Community Development could receive $200,000 from the Building Department if city commissioners approve during a meeting today (11/17). The money would be used to demolish unsafe structures throughout the city.
ECONOMIC STRATEGY: Forty community leaders this week are to participate in Idearaiser at the Coral Gables County Club, mulling strategies to create a South Florida Workforce Plan and achieve economic development goals for Miami-Dade. County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Next In Line, a Miami networking organization for young professionals, are sponsors. Details: (305) 305-0300.
ON THE PAY RULE: Construction workers hired for Miami-Dade County contracts worth at least $100,000 are to receive a guaranteed minimum hourly wage following commission approval Nov. 3. The ordinance does not set an hourly rate but requires that contractors honor the base hourly rate set out in their contracts rather than promising to provide the balance in benefits. Future payments must be by check or money order rather than in cash for the purpose of verification. Besides providing back pay, first-time offenders must add 10% of the underpayment, second-time offenders 20% and third-time offenders 30%. A fourth offense will lead to a company ban from county work for three years.
SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH: Miami Dade College this week broke ground on a $25 million, 73,384-square-foot science complex on its north campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave. It’s to be the first new science facility on the campus since the 1960s, to include in its three stories labs, classrooms, offices and a greenhouse. Details: (305) 237-1141.
VISITOR PROGRAMS FUNDED: The Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority has awarded $450,000 in its Tourism Advancement Grants Program, the first of three funding periods for the fiscal year. The nine funded projects include the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon, Art Basel Miami Beach, the FedEx Orange Bowl, the Miami Beach Visitors Center and the Tourist Hospitality Center. The next funding period is Feb. 1-May 31. Details: (305) 673-7050 or www.miamibeachvca.com.
SALARY TALKS: The salary of Timothy Schmand, Bayfront Park Management Trust executive director, is to be a topic at a Miami City Commission meeting today (11/17). Commissioners are to vote on a $106,000 salary, already approved by trust board members. The city created the trust to manage Bayfront Park.
CONDO BOOM OUTLOOK: International aspects of Miami’s condo boom – including trends and the impact of recent hurricanes – will be the topic of Miami Today’s International Roundtable as it opens its 20th season Dec. 1. The roundtable, sponsored by Swire Realty, will include panelists Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell realtors; Dario Moreno, director of the Metropolitan Center of Florida International University; Brian Street, principal of Boca Developers; and Megan Kelly, vice president of Swire Properties. The free program begins at 5 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key. RSVP: Ivonne Nuñez, (305) 358-2663.
STAGING GROUND AVAILABLE: Teatro Marti, the East Little Havana landmark that was once the stage for Latin artists and a local headquarters to the Ku Klux Klan, is still available for developers interested in tearing down the theater at 400-420 SW Eighth Ave. and building a mixed-use development. The City of Miami’s Economic Development Department has not requested new proposals after development company Amco Holdings lost a bid to redevelop the theater back in September. Investors Research Associates & Quinlivan Appraisals set the property’s value at $2.1 million.
ANOTHER UNUSED STAGE: The future of Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key is in the hands of EDSA Inc., the company the City of Miami hired to create a master plan for the island at a cost of $775,000. The stadium has been closed since Hurricane Andrew swept through South Florida in 1992. "We won’t know what the future holds for the stadium until we get the master plan back from EDSE," said Alicia Cuervo Schreiber, chief of operations at the city manager’s office. The plan is to take eight to 12 months.
AND ALSO ON STAGE…: The Friends of Gusman Taskforce is still brainstorming ideas for the 80th anniversary celebration set to take place next year at the city-owned Gusman Center downtown. A meeting held Tuesday to discuss the birthday celebration of the theater made no concrete plans. Members are to meet again at 4 p.m. Nov. 29 at the theater. "The goal is to get 1,700 people in these doors and make them have fun," said Susan Atwater, president of Atwater Creative, which is marketing the Gusman.
THANKS MUCH: Incoming grants on the Miami City Commission agenda today (11/17): the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, geared to help steer youth against gang violence, is to receive $85,000 from the State Department of Justice; the School Resource Officer Project is to receive $49,879 from the Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services to maintain the program, which utilizes a police presence in targeted elementary schools; and the Victims of Crime Act is receiving $35,450 from the state Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
FEE WAIVER: The Miami City Commission is to vote today (11/17) whether to waive $15,000 in fees for the World AIDS Day Conference at the Coconut Grove Expo Center, 2700 S Bayshore Drive, Dec. 1 and 2. The demonstration is to include 21 local, state and international organizations along with the Miami-Dade County Health Department. Details: (305) 688-6441.
GARDEN GROWING BACK: The Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden now is open on Watson Island by appointment only after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma damaged it. A perimeter wall helped save plants, but work remains to be done. The garden was opened in 1961 when Kiyoshi Ichimura donated it to the city. "We have an annual open house every April 29 in celebration of the national Japanese holiday Green Day," said Meredith Nation, senior project representative for Miami’s economic development agency. Details and appointments: (305) 960-4639.
KICKING OFF A WALK: The American Cancer Society Relay For Life has scheduled a kickoff party for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Homewood Suites, 5200 Blue Lagoon Dr. Relay For Life is the signature event of the American Cancer Society, in which teams of eight to 15 gather with tents and sleeping bags to participate in the nation’s largest fundraising walk. Details: (305) 779-2860.
GROUNDBREAKING BUSINESS: Florida International University is to break ground Nov. 18 on a $45 million business complex to house the Alvah H. Chapman Jr. Graduate School of Business and some programs in the R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School of Business. Details: (305) 348-6631.
DISASTER LOANS: The Jamaican Chamber of Commerce, the US Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Center are hosting workshops on disaster loan assistance to help small businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters get hurricane-related low-interest loans. The first workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m.-noon Saturday in Miami Gardens. Details: (305) 576-7888. The second is set for Dec. 14 at the Minority Business Development Center, 3050 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 201. Details: (786) 316-0888.
CUTTING EDGE TV: The International Arthroplasty Symposium scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Mercy Hospital and the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables will showcase the latest techniques and implants for knee and hip replacements, demonstrated via live television from Mercy’s operating rooms. Orthopaedic surgeon Carlos Lavernia, medical director of the Orthopaedic Institute at Mercy Hospital, will lecture to visiting surgeons from 14 nations.