NEW POLICE SITE: The Miami-Dade County Commission has voted unanimously to purchase 9.35 acres at 799 NW 81st St. for $6.315 million from Arcola Partners Ltd. to build a $10 million police station on 4 acres, a regional Head Start facility for more than 200 children on 2 acres and a library on 2 acres. The land was offered at $6.45 million, but two appraisals put the value at $6.3 million and $6.315 million. Miami Lincoln-Mercury Inc. and Cingular Wireless Corp. are to remain at the site until the end of the year. The police station will replace one at 2950 NW 83rd St.
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NIGHTY KNIGHT: Miami's Department of Public Facilities is asking City Manager Joe Arriola today (4/6) to negotiate a contract with Staubach Company Northeast Inc. for real estate and financial services in connection with the potential sale of the city's downtown James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave. "The primary goal is to have a real estate and financial advisory firm review all the agreements governing the site and the marketability of the site," said Lori Billberry, city director of public facilities, "to make recommendations on the possible disposition of the center and whether it be disposed of in parts or as a whole."
SPORTS ON ROPES: The future of Miami's Sports and Exhibition Authority remains up in the air after a meeting scheduled for March 28 was cancelled until May 23. The meeting to discuss the authority's future was rescheduled after Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, authority chairman, said he was not able to attend. The authority was created in 1982 to promote sports, conventions and exhibitions in the city and lure sports franchises.
FORGING AHEAD: Jackson Residences LLC has won permission from Miami commissioners to close an alleyway at Northwest 13th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues to build a 173-unit, 11-story development in Overtown. Developers still need to apply for building permits. Commissioners granted the alley closure after developers contacted the Spring Garden Civic Association - as the commission had requested.
UPPING THE ANTE: Miami's Department of Public Works is asking City Manager Joe Arriola to amend a contract with Metro Express Inc. for construction on the city's Citywide Pedestrian Routes Improvement Project from $400,000 to $674,394. Fallen trees destroyed sidewalks and curbs during Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Metro Express was hired in May 2005.
HOME A LOAN: Mayor Manny Diaz is proposing today (4/6) to transfer $2.5 million from Miami's affordable-housing trust fund to its Department of Community Development for administration of the Employees Workforce Housing Down Payment Assistance Program. The program is to allow a minimum loan of $25,000 to city employees who work but don't live in Miami for a down payment on a Miami home or condo that costs less than $300,000. City employees who rent in the city may also apply.
MARKETERS MERGE: Miami advertising, marketing and public-relations firm Kelley Swofford Roy Inc. has acquired Flywheel Branding, a Fort Lauderdale marketing strategy and branding agency. Susan Kelley becomes chairman and CEO, Adam Kustin of Flywheel president and Bill Roy senior partner.
RAIL DETAILS: A weeklong series of workshops will give residents around the proposed Metrorail North station at Ali-Baba Avenue and Northwest 119th Street in Opa-locka an opportunity to comment on early plans for the 9.5-mile extension to the Metrorail system. The April 22-27 sessions will be in the MJ Taylor Lounge of Miami Dade College's North Campus, 11380 NW 27th Ave. Details: (305) 375-4625.
ETHICS STANDARDS: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez last week sent a memorandum regarding his proposed amendments to the county's ethics ordinance to commission chairman Joe Martinez, who has been at the center of reports about receiving free labor at his residence. The memo, dated March 31, invites Mr. Martinez to meet the mayor to discuss the proposed changes to the county's Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics ordinance - which would place a greater onus on commissioners to make financial disclosures to, in Mr. Alvarez's words, "guarantee the highest levels of transparency in government." The mayor had asked Mr. Martinez in an earlier memo to sponsor the changes. Mr. Martinez returns to county government today (4/6) after a two-day trip to Tallahassee.
CUT OUT: Miami often makes Top 10 lists but didn't make the cut in a HarrisInteractive survey for the Open Doors Organization on the 10 most popular destinations for the disabled. Eric Lipp, executive director of the Chicago non-profit, said the disabled can't easily navigate Miami's beaches. He said South Beach has parking problems and inaccessible restaurant restrooms and lacks audible crosswalk signals. "People with disabilities tend to make travel very meaningful when we do travel, so New York and DC are great places for touring and visiting landmarks while Miami may be more of a leisure spot with less to see under somewhat difficult conditions," he said. New York, Washington and Chicago topped the list and Orlando tied for fourth with Las Vegas and Los Angeles, followed by San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas and San Diego. Details: www.opendoorsnfp.org.
MIAMI-MADRID MONTAGE: Film officials in Miami-Dade County and Spain shook hands last week on a deal that will see them starring together. While in Madrid on a trade mission, Mayor's Office of Film and Entertainment director Jeff Peel signed an agreement of collaboration with representatives of the Spanish Film Commission for promotion of filming projects. Mr. Peel also made presentations about filming opportunities in the Spanish capital and Barcelona during the trip organized by the Beacon Council.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services Inc. is to honor Lani Kahn Drody as its Champion for Children at the agency's dinner April 15 at the Sonesta Beach Resort Key Biscayne. A $25,000 donation by United Capital Markets and John and Selene Devaney will help fund the evening.
OWNERSHIP TRANSFER: Lindsay Goldberg & Bessemer, a New York investment partnership, agreed to acquire the majority of Intermex Wire Transfer, a Miami processor of money-transfer services focused on Latin America. "Partnering with Lindsay Goldberg & Bessemer will give us the opportunity to accelerate our growth in our existing Latin American markets and potentially expand into other fast-growth segments of this market," said Intermex President Carlos Rincon. With more than 230 employees worldwide, Intermex is licensed in 26 states and 17 Latin American nations. Terms were not disclosed.
HEALTHY FIGURES: Health Foundation of South Florida awarded grants ranging from $22,500 to $280,950 to 21 health-care organizations in Miami-Dade. "Supporting the essential efforts of nonprofits working to improve the health of underserved individuals and South Florida is at the core of our mission," said Sheldon D. Dagen, foundation chairman. Larger grants include $280,950 to Baptist Health South Florida to improve end-of-life care for ethnically diverse populations; $200,000 to the City of Miami to buy automatic external defibrillators; $245,800 to the Economic Opportunity Family Health System to expand its electronic health records system; $122,000 to the American Red Cross to upgrade computer systems; and $230,000 to the Nursing Shortage Consortium of South Florida to support a regional nursing-school clinical placement program. The non-profit foundation works to expand access to affordable health care for underserved individuals. Details: (305) 374-7200 or www.hfsf.org.
VICE SQUAD: The last episode of "Miami Vice" aired 25 years ago and the upcoming movie is set to reignite the fervor. So it's not surprising that a media contingent from the UK is to begin making the rounds today of sites where both the TV series and the movie were filmed. They represent Reveal, a 345,502-circulation weekly celebrity news magazine; Grazia, the UK's first weekly glossy magazine with a circulation of 170,783; Metro, a 1 million-circulation daily national newspaper aimed at commuters in key metropolitan areas; Closer (the UK's top-selling celebrity weekly magazine, with circulation of 578,337; and the 409,616-circulation Women's Own.
MANSIONS EXTRA: A reporter and film crew from "Extra!" were in town last week filming celebrity angles on Miami hotels, real estate, restaurants and nightlife for an upcoming special, "Mansions & Millionaires: South Beach." The show's daily viewership is estimated at 3.5 million. CORRECTION: Jeff Koenreich's job title was incorrectly reported in a caption accompanying last week's story headlined, "Playhouse honors media triumvirate to mark 50th birthday." He is chief development officer for the Coconut Grove Playhouse.