DIGGING DEEPER: Firms hoping to build and operate a $1 billion tunnel at the Port of Miami have until April 12 to submit proposals. The previously announced deadline was March 31. Project spokesman Ric Katz said the state extended the deadline after several potential bidders said they needed more time to form partnerships for the project. "As we have encouraged local and international bidders to assemble teams, it has become clear that they need more time to do so," he said. The tunnel, a project of the Florida Department of Transportation, is to create an alternate route from the port to Watson Island to reduce downtown traffic congestion. Details: www.portofmiami.com or (305) 470-5404.
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MORE DOWNTOWN CONDOS: The developers of three high-rise projects on the north edge of downtown to include 1,645 residential units are to go before Miami commissioners today (3/23) seeking major-use permits. Baypoint Office Tower Inc. and Biscayne Investment Corp. want to build 1490 Biscayne, two towers of 619 and 657 feet with 850 units, 108,543 square feet of offices, 43,540 square feet of retail and 1,204 parking spaces at 1400 Biscayne Blvd. Developer 1550 The Chelsea LLC wants to build the Chelsea Project, a 649-foot, 53-story tower with 365 units, 79,956 square feet of offices, 5,139 square feet of retail, 4,981 square feet of restaurant space and 519 parking spaces at 1550 Biscayne Blvd. Eagle Garage LLC is asking to build at 111 NE 11th St. a 425-foot, 42-story structure with 430 residential units, 26,732 square feet of retail, 2,500 square feet of restaurant space and 508 parking spots.
BIRD ROAD TOWER: Planning and zoning items before Miami commissioners today (3/23) would allow a major-use special permit for a 197-foot, 17-story tower to rise at 3760 Bird Rd. with 254 residential units, 67,800 square feet of office space, 19,600 square feet of retail and 631 parking spaces. Bird Ventures LLC and H&H Development Co. are asking commissioners to amend the city's master plan to change the site from general commercial to restricted commercial use. Developers also want a change in zoning from liberal commercial to restricted commercial.
BRICKELL GOING NORTH? Southeast Second Avenue between Southeast Second Street and the Miami River would be renamed Brickell Avenue if Miami commissioners pass an ordinance today (3/23). Officials from the Department of Public Works have received requests from property owners to change the name to link corporate and financial areas on both sides of the river.
PARKS WORKSHOP: A workshop on Miami's Parks and Public Spaces Master Plan is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave. City of Miami officials and park designers are to answer questions and take comments from residents on how to improve parks, green space and public spaces. Goody Clancy & Associates, a Boston planner the city hired to create the parks master plan, seeks input before wrapping up its study. Details: (305) 416-1341 or www.miamiparksplan.org.
CLEANER KEY: Miami's Department of Parks and Recreation is asking city commissioners today (3/23) to pass a resolution to hire nonprofit Citizens For A Better South Florida to provide environmental education, coastal cleanup, native reforestation and plant species oversight at Virginia Key Park. The department is also asking City Manager Joe Arriola to execute a grant agreement with the nonprofit for up to $21,380 from Feb. 1 to Sept. 30.
RIVER DAY: Free riverboat tours, water-taxi rides, live music and children's activities set for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday will mark Miami's celebration of the 10th annual Miami Riverday Festival at Jose Marti Park, 351 SW Fourth St. Details: (305) 644-0544.
LITTLE HAVANA TOWERS: Little Havana Associates LLC, Amefra Corp. and New Rabar Corp. seek a major use special permit to build two 202-foot, 19-story towers with 395 residential units, 33,000 square feet of retail, 34,000 square feet of commercial space and 660 parking spaces for the Intown Village project, at 45 SW Eighth Ave.; 715, 717, 727 and 735 SW First St.; and 702 and 720 W. Flagler St. Developers are asking Miami commissioners today (3/23) for permission to build.
OVERTOWN RESIDENCES: Jackson Residences LLC is returning to Miami city hall today (3/23) after city commissioners asked the developer to contact a civic association near Highland Park before the city will grant closure of an alley at Northwest 13th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. The developer wants to close the alley to unite a site for Jackson Residences, a 173-unit, 11-story structure in Overtown.
FRONT AND CENTER: Jeremy Chestler, Art Center/South Florida's managing director since October 2004, has been named managing director, replacing interim director Richard Shack. Before joining the center, Mr. Chestler was managing director of public and membership programs for six years for the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.
POOLING PAYS: Drivers who carry two or more passengers to the Dadeland North Metrorail station will get preferential parking on the station garage's second floor in a six-month test. Only 10 spaces are reserved for carpools, but Miami-Dade Transit and South Florida Commuter Services say they may add more spaces at more stations if the test works.
MAKING TRACKS: Plans for rapid transit in Kendall will be aired in open houses conducted by the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization. The corridor studied for rapid transit is bounded by State Road 836 to the north, Southwest 152nd Street to the south, US 1 to the east and Southwest 157th Avenue to the west. April 5 meetings are slated for 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Civic Pavilion at Kendall Village Center, 8625 SW 124th Ave. The April 6 meeting is set for 7-9 p.m. at the West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way. Details: (305) 375-4507.
ILL WIND BLOWS GOOD: When Hurricane Wilma battered AAAA World Import-Export Inc.'s 280,000-square-foot warehouse in Gratigny Central Industrial Park at 11400 NW 32nd Ave., the company planned to find temporary space. That proved unsatisfactory, so AAAA just sold its building for $16.5 million to AMB Property Corp. of San Francisco and bought a 248,000-square-foot Class A warehouse at 11150 NW 92nd Terrace for $17.9 million from W.P. Carey of New York. Brian Smith, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield, and his partners handled the deals. He represents both AAAA and AMB Property in leasing space at their buildings.
PARENTAL CONTROL: If you spy more French-speaking Canadians showing their older parents around Miami, credit the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau staff, which last week was assisting a writer from La Presse, a 268,000-circulation French-language daily in Montreal, who is writing an article on where to take retired parents. Bureau staff members were busy hosting writers from France, the United Kingdom and Holland among others, so look for Miami to continue exhibiting its international appeal.
SAVING AUGUST: With the start of the legislative session in Tallahassee, the newly formed Florida Hotel and Lodging Legislative Coalition is urging lawmakers to pass a bill ensuring that schools do not start earlier than seven days before Labor Day. According to the coalition, the hotel industry and attractions stand to lose the entire month of August if schools continue to start earlier each year. The coalition, headed by Stuart L. Blumberg, president and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, includes the Greater Fort Lauderdale Lodging & Hospitality Association, the Palm Beach County Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel Motel Association of Volusia County.
MAKING HIS PITCH: Paul White, regional director of SCI Real Estate Investments in South Florida, is seeking real estate professionals to play in the Commercial Real Estate Softball League Reunion, planned for early May. Veterans like Mr. White who played in the original league and newcomers are welcome. "We're getting the old players together, but a lot of the brokers want to play as well," he said. Both genders are needed, as "there is a requirement that at least two ladies must be in the lineup at all times." All the major real estate companies were represented in the league from 1982 to '92, which he called a wonderful networking opportunity. Details (305) 279-1111.
DOUBLING UP: Miami Dade College on Tuesday took another step up the ladder of four-year degree programs as the Florida Board of Education unanimously approved a bachelor of applied science program in public safety for the college. It's the two-year college's second baccalaureate-degree program. The first, a bachelor of science in education program, began in 2003 and produced its first graduates in 2005. The new program's 10 areas of specialization will include emergency management, security, probation and parole, law enforcement and crime-scene investigation.
HURRICANE IMPACT: As some Brickell-area office towers continue to undergo repairs from last year's hurricane season, the Brickell Area Association and the Continental Group are offering a program, Hurricane Impact: Mitigation through Collaboration. The moderator will be Kate Hale, who directed the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The 8 a.m. April 6 seminar is scheduled for Skyline on Brickell, 2101 Brickell Ave. Admission is $15 in advance through the Brickell Area Association, 600 Brickell Ave., Suite 800, Miami, 33131.
CORRECTION: The boundaries for the Omni Redevelopment Agency were incorrectly reported March 16. The correct boundaries are Interstate 395 to the south, Northeast 20th Street to the north, Biscayne Bay to the east and the FEC railway tracks to the west.