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Front Page » FYI Miami » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by on December 1, 2005


Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead

of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.

   WORKFORCE HOUSING: The Miami-Dade County Commission’s Infrastructure and Land Use Committee on Dec. 13 is to hold a hearing on a sweeping effort to fund workforce housing in the county. The proposed ordinance targets housing for persons earning from 65% to 140% of the county’s median income, citing studies showing that more than half of the county’s new labor force will require moderately priced housing. The ordinance would regulate land use to achieve its ends and set up a workforce housing trust fund that would receive payments from developers that don’t develop units in the workforce housing price range within their projects. The commission adopted the ordinance 12-0 on first reading Nov. 15.

   MANUFACTURING DECLINES: Even as Florida’s manufacturing employment continues a recovery that began last year, adding jobs at a 1.5% annual rate in October, Miami’s remains in freefall. Miami-Dade, which had 75,000 persons employed in manufacturing a decade ago, had just 49,600 manufacturing workers in October, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, with those jobs now declining about 1.4% per year.

   THE EXTRA MILE: The City of Miami is holding a deferred planning and zoning meeting today (12/1) at city hall, 3500 Pan American Dr. One issue: whether the City Commission will appeal or affirm the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board’s decision to designate the Coconut Grove Playhouse historic. The commission is also to decide whether to grant MILE, a mixed-use development project, a major use special permit along Coral Way.

   TICKETED EVENT: The Miami Parking Authority planned an invitation-only 50th-anniversary party for Wednesday (11/30) at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts downtown. The authority, which manages all public parking facilities in Miami, was created in 1955 by the Legislature and was incorporated into the city charter in 1968.

   DOWNTOWN UPDATE: A City of Doral workshop Dec. 14 on proposed downtown projects includes a briefing on Codina Realty Services’ office developments that are in the approval process. "Developers will be updating on where they are in their projects," said city council member Robert Van Name. The 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 8300 NW 53rd St., is followed at 7 p.m. by a city council meeting.

   LOWER AVENTURA SKYLINE? Aventura’s city commission today (12/1) will discuss limiting the maximum height of buildings to 25 stories and reducing allowable residential units per acre in some areas. "There are several possible changes," said City Manager Erik Soroka. "Current regulation allows buildings to be 40 stories high. We want to limit to 25." Proposals also seek to reduce the maximum height of commercial buildings on Biscayne Boulevard from 20 stories to 7. The workshop is at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 19200 W. Country Club Dr.

   IT’S LIVE: NONRADIOMUSIC Concerts of New York will host musical performances here Sunday through Dec. 12. The group creates events that allow artists to bring their work to different audiences. Derin Young and Thierry DeJean will perform at the Artcenter, 800 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave.; the Oxygen Lounge, 2911 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove; and the Wallflower Gallery, 10 NE Third St. Details: (917) 603-4913.

   COLLEGE OPERATIONS HEAD: The executive vice president of Wayne State University in Detroit has been hired as provost for operations at Miami Dade College, replacing 36-year college employee Kathie Sigler, who retires Dec. 16. Meredith Ellen Gibbs, who once held positions in Maryland state government and began her career as a practicing attorney, assumes her new job Jan. 3, overseeing day-to-day operations of the college including facilities and fiscal operations, human resources, master development issues and expansion and capital projects.

   TOP PROF: A 1974 graduate of Miami Dade College who now is a professor in business studies at the college’s Wolfson Campus downtown was named Florida professor of the year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Ana M. Cruz, known for creating methods of teaching, worked her way up locally. She received her bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, a master’s from St. Thomas of Villanova University and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

   CHICAGO-BOUND: Sherry Barrat, who joined Northern Trust Bank in Miami as managing executive of its Key Biscayne office in 1990, this week was elected executive vice president of Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago and president of personal financial services, co-leading the personal business of Northern Trust with veteran Miami banker William L. Morrison. Both will serve on Northern Trust’s Management Committee. Ms. Barrat had been chairman and CEO of Northern Trust Bank in California since 1999 after running the bank’s Palm Beach Region.

   BRAZILIAN COMPANY LEASES: Design Place Trading, the distribution and logistics unit of Brazil-based Artefacto Furniture, has leased a 47,000-square-foot warehouse at 3545 NW 112th St. in Seaboard Industrial Park. Artefacto manufactures home furnishings and retails them in its own stores, including one at 4440 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables.

   TURNABOUTS: The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce will cross the bay to Brickell Avenue and former Beach mayor Neisen Kasdin will turn the tables to question newspaper owners Michael Lewis and Carmen Betancourt-Lewis of Miami Today when the Power of the Pen Luncheon examines the challenges journalists face in covering the metropolitan Miami-Dade business community at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Ave. "We’re very excited about this opportunity to strengthen the ties between Miami Beach and the downtown Miami business communities," said Beach chamber CEO Wendy Kallergis. The luncheon is $50. RSVP:

   TAKING OFFICE: The City of Miami swears in re-elected Mayor Manny Diaz, Commissioner Joe Sanchez and the winner of this week’s District 5 runoff election between Richard P. Dunn II and Michelle Spence-Jones at noon Friday at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive.

   INTERWOVEN USERS MEET: Interwoven Inc. expects about 1,200 information-technology leaders to attend its GearUp’06 Miami conference April 3-5 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood. Customers of its Enterprise Content Management solutions include nearly 3,400 law firms, enterprises and professional service organizations. Details: (408) 530-7043 or

   LIBRARY CHECKOUT: Every child who shows up between 5 and 7 p.m. today (12/1) at the West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way, can choose a book to keep, courtesy of school board member Marta PÈrez. Children will also see a chess tournament and walk away from the annual Holiday Book Giveaway with six bicycles, two DVD players, three portable CD players and two digital cameras.

   INTERNET DATING: A business conference on Internet dating services is being held on Miami Beach in February, focusing on ways to increase revenue and improve customer retention for the online dating industry. The Feb. 2-3 Online Dating Conference at the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort produced by Ticonderoga Ventures Inc. will focus on mobile dating, cultural marketing, event planning, metrics, advertising strategies and software. The company plans related conferences in 2006 in Hong Kong in May and Amsterdam in September. Details: (212) 722-1744, ext. 71, or

   HOTELS AND HOTELIER: The Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association is launching "Woggles and Cheese Holes: The Story of Miami Beaches’ Hotels," a book by historian Howard Kleinberg, Dec. 8 to tell the history of the lodging industry in Miami Beach. On the same evening, the association is commemorating President Stuart Blumberg’s 50 years of service to the industry. Mr. Blumberg began his career working at the Americana Hotel, later named the Sheraton Bal Harbour. The event is 5-8 p.m. at the Loews Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave. Details and RSVP: (305) 531-3553.

   BEST EXPANSION: Best Beach Real Estate plans to open its second South Beach office and third in Miami-Dade County. The Miami Beach company’s new office at Alton Road and 12th Street is to open this month. It also has offices at Collins Avenue and 13th Street in South Beach and at Collins and 71st Street in North Miami Beach. Best Beach owns more than 1,000 rental apartments in Miami Beach.

   SCHOOL CHOICE FAIRS: Miami-Dade County Public Schools will sponsor information fairs the next two weekends where students and their parents can learn about and apply for school choice programs for 2006-07. The fairs are slated for 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday at Mall of the Americas, 7795 W. Flagler St., and Robert Morgan Education Center, 18180 SW 122nd Ave., and Dec. 10 at Booker T. Washington High School, 1200 NW Sixth Ave. School choice programs provide instruction in special areas of study.

   DOMINICAN VISITORS: The Florida Foreign Trade Association will sponsor a business luncheon Monday with delegates from the Dominican Republic here to meet with manufacturers, exporters, suppliers and distributors. Featured speakers at the luncheon – scheduled for noon at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 950 NW LeJeune Rd. – will be Dennis A. Simmons, commercial attachÈ with the Dominican Republic’s US Embassy, and William Mallamuh, executive director of the Dominican-American Chamber of Commerce. Registration deadline is Friday. Details: (305) 471-0737.

   THIRD LEADERSHIP ROLE: William Kerdyk Jr., president of Kerdyk Real Estate who is serving his third term as a Coral Gables city commissioner, has been named chairman of the Bank of Coral Gables, which is now in organization, the bank’s directors announced Tuesday. The bank said in a statement that it expects to complete its initial stock offering this month and to win regulatory approvals to operate early next year. Fellow city commissioner Wayne "Chip" Withers also is on the bank’s 11-member board.

   BANKING ON GROWTH: An older Coral Gables bank, 25-year-old Commercebank, cut the ribbon Tuesday on a Tamiami branch at 13650 SW 131st St. It’s the bank’s 10th South Florida location.

   FILL’ER UP: Miami-Dade’s 85%-plus hotel occupancy the first three weeks of November was more than 13% ahead of the same period last year while average room rates rose more than 19% to $134.12, according to Smith Travel Research. The figures, said the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, put "Miami on pace to have one of the most successful Novembers ever."

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