Written by Miami Today on June 22, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
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AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The Human Resource Coalition is hosting discussions on the Miami-Dade affordable-housing shortage 2-7 p.m. today (6/22) and 8 a.m.-noon Friday at the Radisson Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. Cynthia W. Curry, housing advisor to the county manager, is to speak.
HOMICIDES FALL: FBI statistics show Miami had the greatest drop in homicides last year among major American cities. Overall crime fell 5% and violent crime 8%, the FBI says. Miami’s 22% drop in homicides came amid a nationwide rise in homicides of 4.8%, the statistics show.
BIG DAY FOR PROJECTS: 2121 Biscayne Boulevard LLC is going before the Miami City Commission today (6/22) for a major use special permit to build 2121 Biscayne, a 222-foot, 16-story residential project with 147 units, 46,400 square feet of office space, 6,682 square feet of retail and 376 parking spaces. Also, Brickell Flatiron LLC is going before the commission for a major use special building permit for Brickell Flatiron, a 794-foot, 70-story tower with 554 units, 254,043 square feet of offices, 30,316 square feet of retail, 16,913 square feet of restaurant space and 820 parking spaces. Brickell Flatiron is planned for 1001, 1015, 1023, 1101 and 1121 S Miami Ave.
ON HER OWN: Jeannett Slesnick, wife of Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick, has left her long-time sales base at Esslinger Wooten Maxwell and opened a realty boutique, Slesnick and Associates. She has more than 30 years of real estate experience and has served on the boards of the Junior Orange Bowl Committee, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Actors’ Playhouse and the Coral Gables Museum. She said her goals are to continue selling more than 50 homes a year in the Coral Gables area and donate much of her earnings to the community. Details: www.slesnick.net.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Miami-Dade officials seek applicants to join the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust, which oversees the People’s Transportation Plan funded by a half-percent sales tax. There are three vacancies for four-year terms, but applications will be accepted for all posts on the 15-member board. Deadline is July 10. Details: (305) 375-1357.
SPREADING STUDENTS: The Miami-Dade County School Board approved three land acquisitions and three construction projects to ease overcrowding. Doral will get 27 acres to relieve Eugenia B. Thomas and John I. Smith elementary schools and Doral Middle School. A third parcel at Northwest 17th Street and 137th Avenue has been designated for a new senior high to ease overcrowding at Miami Coral Park, Braddock and Doral/Ronald Reagan senior highs. Jasco Construction Co. is to build Early Childhood Center Prototype, an elementary at Southwest 47th Street and 167th Avenue. The other projects involve renovations to Miami Central Senior High and Holmes Elementary.
CSI HIGH: The Miami-Dade County School Board voted to build a 500-seat school specializing in forensic science, law and homeland security that may be housed in the City of Miami Police College training facility, which is being designed. The school is a response to a federal campaign to add training in criminal justice. The school board allocated $12 million to build the school for opening in fall 2008.
TOLL LEADER UNTOLD: The field has been whittled to three in the search to replace Servando Parapar, retiring executive director of the 13-board-member Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. Finalists Ysela Llort, assistant secretary for intermodal systems development at the Florida Department of Transportation; Art Noriega, executive director of the Miami Parking Authority; and Alan Wulkan, senior vice president with Parsons Brinckerhoff engineering firm in Phoenix, must wait until July for the outcome. The authority board will make its choice at a special meeting at which final interviews will be held. The position pays around $190,000 annually and requires daily control of the toll-road agency.
A LOT OF DOUGH: The good times are still rolling for the wealthiest Americans, including the well-heeled in Miami, according to recent surveys. The 10th-anniversary edition of the World Wealth Report, released this week by investment firms Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, shows that the number of US residents with a net worth of $1 million or more increased 6.8% in 2005. On the downside, the rate of increase was lowest in the past three years, a circumstance Capgemini says could be related to the failure of millionaires in the US to focus sufficiently on international markets. "As a result, US high net-worth individuals are missing out on the full benefit of gains posted overseas," says Bertrand LavayssiËre, managing director, Global Financial Services, Capgemini. Meanwhile, look for more high net worth people in Miami, says Claritas, a market research firm. Claritas says out of 1,544,551 households in Miami, 44,464 have more than $1 million in assets. And, says the firm, the number of millionaires is expected to increase significantly over the next five years.
MORE FINANCE JOBS: A Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index report predicts hiring of accountants and financial experts will jump in the third quarter. Of chief financial officers who participated, 11% plan to add staff and 4% expect a staff cut. The net increase is 3% higher than the US average. Data come from 200 CFOs from South Florida companies with at least 20 employees.
BACK TO NEW ORLEANS: John Otis, provost at the New World School of the Arts, is leaving after two years to return to his hometown, New Orleans. Mr. Otis, whose contract expires at month’s end, said he plans to lead initiatives to help post-Katrina rebuilding and spend time with family and friends. Mercedes Quirogu, dean of the college division at New World, is to become interim provost July 1.
TRAFFIC CALMING: The federal Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development and Judiciary Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2007 includes $2.4 million for South Florida. Money targets the Miami Beach Atlantic Corridor Greenway Network ($500,000), Miami-Dade County Seventh Avenue Transit Hub ($600,000), Miami Lakes Transit Program ($500,000) and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Smart Card ($800,000). "These funds will help alleviate the traffic congestion that Miami-Dade County faces and in the process it will help the South Florida economy by creating jobs," said US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami.
BEAUTIFUL CATCH: Science and Nature Cosmetics, a French cosmetics distributor specializing in lotions, creams and serums, plans to open a US office and distribution center in Doral, the Beacon Council announced Tuesday. Within three years, Science and Nature Cosmetics plans to hire five full-time employees and make a capital investment of $250,000. The company is to establish the office and distribution center at the Miami Free Zone, where it will introduce its latest brand, QEI+, to the US market. The Beacon Council assisted with site selection and research.
INTEGRATOR: Florida East Coast Industries of St. Augustine named Edward Manno Shumsky executive vice president and human-resource officer to manage the corporation’s organizational operations and oversee human-resources integration of recently acquired Codina Group Inc. He will report to Chairman, President and CEO Adolfo Henriques. Mr. Shumsky had spent 16 years with the Watson Wyatt Worldwide human capital and financial management consulting firm, since 1998 as managing consultant in Miami.
GABLES CHAMBER ELECTS: The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce elected Carolina Rendeiro of Business Centers International to serve as chairman-elect for 2006-07, after Sergio Barrera becomes chairman. Pedro Gonzalez of BankUnited was chosen secretary/treasurer.