Written by Miami Today on December 8, 2005
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
STILL WAITING: Much-anticipated agenda items were pulled from Miami’s planning and zoning meeting last week. A commission vote on whether to appeal or affirm the Historical and Environmental Preservation Board’s decision to designate the Coconut Grove Playhouse historic was pulled before commissioners began the meeting Dec. 1. Also in limbo is a neighborhood effort in the Morningside area to prevent permitting of a 105-unit mixed-use development. Morningside residents and Morningside Development LLC are disputing use of land at 5301-5501 Biscayne Blvd. where developers want twin 92-foot, nine-story condo towers with 11,994 square feet of office space. Both items should be heard Dec. 15.
POLES APART: In its Global Metropolitan Condominium Home Price Comparison Study conducted between July and October, Coldwell Banker found the most expensive metropolitan city, with an average apartment price of $1.4 million, was New York. Miami’s average was $443,750. The study looked at 34 metropolitan markets worldwide for condo apartments 1,400 square feet in size featuring two bedrooms and 21/2 bathrooms. The buildings had to be at least 10 stories and have a doorman. The lowest price was Warsaw, Poland, at $123,257.
HEALTHY CHOICE: The Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County is leasing 33,000 square feet of office space at the historic Alfred I. Dupont Building downtown. The Dupont Building, 169 E. Flagler St., opened in 1939 and is Miami’s only Art Deco skyscraper. The county signed a 10-year lease, which covers two floors of the 17-story building and has a total value of $6.5 million. Continental Real Estate Co. closed the deal with the county.
PENSION REFORM: The Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce will host a luncheon conference with Jose Pinera, founder and president of the International Center for Pension Reform. The conference will focus on how Chile reinvented social security 25 years ago and its global importance today. The conference will begin at noon Dec. 9 at the Bankers Club, 1 Biscayne Tower, 14th floor. The cost is $29 per person. RSVP: (305) 365-7247.
LOFTY ACHIEVEMENT: New York-style lofts have found a home in South Beach. The Montclair, a collection of 41 industrial-style lofts off Lincoln Road, sold out at prices from $360,000 and up with 1,050 to 2,300 square feet of space.
COURTLY EVENT: The Nasdaq-100 Open and Brickell Tennis Club are teaming for a holiday tennis exhibition. Tennis greats Jim Courier and Gabriela Sabatini will attend the holiday party to celebrate the 2006 Nasdaq-100 Open, coming in March. The 5-7 p.m. event Dec. 9 is at the Brickell Tennis Club, 601 S Miami Ave. Details: (305) 858-3375.
AIRPORT APPROVALS: Retail stores, flight schools and skydiving activities are featured in an expanded list of commercial aviation uses Miami-Dade County commissioners approved Tuesday for Opa-locka Airport. The county’s aviation department has broadened the scope of activities to include hotels and car-rental centers as well as parking and ground transportation services. The county also relaxed non-aviation uses for land next to the airport. Opa-locka has one of the longest runways in the country at more than 8,000 feet.
TOUR AFTER DUTY: Discovery Cruise Lines is offering a round-trip cruise to Grand Bahama Islands for all military personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The offer, valid until Dec. 31, 2007, includes cost of all meals on board, all service charges, taxes and Bahamian departure fees. You can register a friend or family member online and Discovery will mail you a request and a holiday card to pass on to the service man or woman. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-93-SHIPS.
DEVELOPING PLANS: The Brickell Area Association plans to reschedule its Developers Forum, blown away by Hurricane Wilma, now that hurricane season is finally over. A new date is expected next year, said Gloria Konsler, association executive administrator, but a date has not been set. The forum was designed for developers to discuss new projects for Brickell and West Brickell.
CAPITAL IDEA: The Bank of Coral Gables is preparing to open at 95 Merrick Way in the first quarter of next year after the final stages in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approval. "The offering to raise capital should be finished by mid-December," said Terry Best, bank president and CEO. Mr. Best, a former CFO at Bank of Florida in Fort Lauderdale, said the bank is raising $10 million to $20 million.
FOCUS ON CHILE: The Governor’s Office of International Affairs is hosting a forum on the US Chile Free Trade Agreement at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Panelists include Tony Villamil, chairman of Gov. Jeb Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors; Chilean Consul General in Miami Jorge Dupouy; John Murphy, vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce; and Patricio Cervantes, president of the Chile-US Chamber of Commerce in Miami. Welcoming remarks will be by Jorge Arrizurieta, president of Florida FTAA Inc. Keynote speaker is Hector Morales, US executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank. RSVP: www.myflorida.com/rsvp, event code R3004.
NO LEGS FOR SNAKE PROPOSAL: Miami-Dade County commissioners recoiled Tuesday from considering a proposal that would have required commercial animal establishments to tag pythons. The proposal would require that the snakes be tagged with a microchip or other tracking device and has a bite – a $200 fine for failure to prove a snake had been tagged. The commission has referred the item to its Community Outreach, Safety and Healthcare Administrative Committee for consideration Jan. 18.
HEALTH AWARDS: John W. Walsh of Alpha-1 Foundation and David Mitchell of Chef David’s Kids each received a $25,000 check at the Concern 2005 Awards recognition lunch Friday presented by the Health Foundation of South Florida at the JW Marriott on Brickell Avenue. Mr. Walsh was honored from among nominees representing health-related organizations with operating budgets of more than $1 million. Mr. Mitchell was honored in the under-$1 million category. A total of 69 persons were considered by a panel of community judges for the awards.
OPEN HOUSE: Art Miami is celebrating its 16th year by providing free admission on its opening day. The contemporary art show, which runs for four days at the Miami Beach Convention Center, will have free admission 2-10 p.m. Jan. 6. Fair director Ilana Vardy told Miami-Dade County commissioners Tuesday to expect an opening-night crowd of about 6,000. It is Ms. Vardy’s sixth year in charge of the show, which next year is to attract 125 exhibitors.
CORRECTION: In the Nov. 24 article "Hurricane hype shouldn’t hurt Miami hotels," the meeting planning firm is Advantage Destination & Meeting Services Inc. Quoted in the same article, Lauren Halpern is president of the South Florida chapter of Meeting Professionals International.