Written by Miami Today on February 2, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
FONTAINEBLEAU UP NEXT: The historic Fontainebleau hotel’s major renovation bid is to go before the Miami Beach Board of Adjustment on Friday. The board was to entertain the 10-variance request Jan. 5 but postponed it so hotel officials could take it first to the city’s Historic Preservation Board, which approved the plan in January. The preservation and adjustment boards have approved a request from Eden Roc, the Fontainebleau’s equally fabled neighbor. Eden Roc is to build a 20-story, 280-room tower next to the Fontainebleau’s new 20-story, 500-room tower. The hearing on the Fontainebleau’s plan is due at 9 a.m. in City Commission chambers.
RESERVE EARLY: It’s getting harder to get a hotel room in Miami-Dade. Last year, the county moved up from eighth to fifth place nationally in annual average occupancy, to 72.6% from 68.2% in 2004. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau credited improved market position during the summer and fall for the gains. Miami’s 6.5% growth exceeded the national 2.9% gain. The average daily hotel room rate rose from $115.10 to $128.53, exceeded only by New York and Hawaii’s Oahu Island. The national average rise was 5.3%.
VOTING PAYS: Miami Beach’s award-winning voter-registration program continues into this year. Registered voters can get a 10% discount at participating local restaurants and merchants by presenting their valid voter’s registration. Details: www.votemiamibeach.com or (305) 604-2489.
SAFER BEACH: Crime in Miami Beach continues to fall, nearly 11% last year, according to the city’s police. Violent crimes – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – were down 7.3% from 2004. Property crimes – burglary, larceny and auto theft – fell 11.2%. Overall, violent crime has fallen 25% in the past five years.
EXHIBIT IN MOTION: In Motion – The African-American Experience, an exhibit brought by Miami’s newest commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones, is on view at the Lyric Theater, 819 NW Second Ave., through May 31. The project, which comes to Miami from the Schomburg Center in Harlem, highlights 400 years of African Americans on the move from Africa to the Americas. The exhibit is sponsored by the Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida Inc., the City of Miami and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Details: www.schomburgcenter.org.
SNOW JOB: The 600 guests at the Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium’s Galaxy Gala on Saturday at the InterContinental Hotel had a chilling experience – literally – as illusionist Scott Bernard filled the ballroom with snow that fell and vanished within 90 seconds.
HONORS TO KEYES: Florida International University’s Institute for Family Business will honor Keyes Company Realtors and owners the Pappas family with the Albert Haar Family Business Award at a lunch Feb. 22 at the Doral Resort & Spa. Tickets are $65. Details: (305) 444-2181, Ext. 226, or www.entrepreneurship.fiu.edu/events.
ONE STOP 86,000 TIMES: The Web site created to accommodate one-stop permitting for the three film offices of Greater Miami drew 86,000 visitors and generated 2.8 million hits last year. Set up to simplify the process for filmmakers, filmiami.org provided a central portal for those hoping to shoot in Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach. Visitors spent on average almost 15 minutes on the site and accessed more than 1 million pages in all.
ARCHITECTS VIE: Seven of 10 architectural firms involved in a three-day charrette to design Biscayne Shores Village that finishes today (2/2) have offices in Miami-Dade County. Participants are evaluating options for a $400 million mixed-use complex for 14.5 acres between 112th and 115th streets and Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 14th Avenue. Input has come from county presences Allan T. Shulman Architect; Borges & Associates Architects; Chael Cooper & Associates; Civica; DB Lewis Architecture and Design; Rodriguez & Quiroga Architects Chartered; and SB Architects.
RUSSIAN INN: Fourteen travel agents from Russia are to visit this week. They’re to stay at the Fontainebleau Resort and Ocean Five Hotel and go to Everglades Safari Park, take an Island Queen Cruise and visit Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort, the South Beach Marriott and Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort. The trip was arranged by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau in conjunction with Vista Travel, a Russian tour operator based in Ekaterinburg.
TAXING VISITS: Tourism is booming, as Greater Miami Resort Tax collections show. The tax generated more than $40 million through November, compared to $35 million for 2004, up 15.9%, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
LOVE IT: If you’re making Valentine’s Day plans, don’t leave the area. You’re already here. Vacationspot.com listed Miami among its 10 most-popular destinations for romantic Valentine’s Day travel.
DOCTORING A HOSPITAL: Non-profit Pan American Hospital, which in December filed a pending plan for reorganization to emerge from bankruptcy, this week appointed Eneida O. Roldan president and CEO. Dr. Roldan, a bariatric doctor, resigned Tuesday from the 146-bed hospital’s board of directors to take the job. She had her own practice in Miami from 1989 to 2005.
CONVERSION DEAL: A 320-unit rental apartment project in Northwest Miami-Dade has been sold to partners who plan to market the units as affordable condominiums selling at less than $380,000. Noah Breakstone of Miami firm Breakstone Homes and Luis Machado of Renegade Investments bought The Pointe, 17460 NW 67th Court, from IMT Real Estate Group of Sherman Oaks, CA. There are 22 two-story apartment buildings and a clubhouse and leasing center in the cluster.
CORRECTION: A Jan. 12 report on a Federal Aviation Administration study showing that high-rise construction at the Mahi Shrine site along the Miami River would hinder incoming planes should have noted that it was Runway 9 that would be affected.