Written by Miami Today on June 29, 2006
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FINANCE ROLE VACANT: Nobody has been designated chief financial officer for Miami, a city spokesman said. Commissioners last week tapped CFO Linda Haskins to fill the seat of Johnny Winton, who was suspended by Gov. Jeb Bush after the commissioner was charged in an altercation with police. Ms. Haskins, a Coconut Grove resident who had worked for the city for six years, is to hold the commission post until Mr. Winton returns or an election is held in November. The spokesman said City Manager Joe Arriola, who would appoint a new financial chief, is away on vacation.
NEW JOBS HIGH: Miami-Dade County’s employment level has set another record, growing 43,402 jobs in a year to 1,108,692 in May, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The number of jobs grew 4.1% from May 2005, outpacing the 3.3% one-year growth in the county’s labor force, according to bureau statistics. In the same period, unemployment here fell from 4.2% to 3.5%. It was the county’s second consecutive record month for jobs, up from 1,091,272 in April.
FLAMINGO FLINGS RETAIL NET: The developer of Flamingo South Beach is seeking retailers to serve the estimated 3,000 persons who will live in the 1,700-unit condo conversion. "Flamingo South Beach offers the perfect demographic for any retailer," said David Goldberg, managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, which will spearhead efforts to lease more than 20,000 total square feet, with individual shops ranging from 200 to 3,100 square feet at rents of $25 to $50 per square foot triple net. Tenants such as a coffee shop, high-end convenience store, dry cleaner, spa, pet-supply store, deli, poolside food operator, florist and newsstand are sought. The project is believed to be among the largest condo conversions in the US.
HOUSING PRICES KEEP RISING: Miami-Dade’s housing figures continued to flout the law of supply and demand because even though the number of sales fell, prices nudged upward slightly in May, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. Sales of existing homes fell from 1,189 in May 2005 to 875, down 26%, the association reported Tuesday, but the median sales price rose 7% from $354,900 to $379,700. Existing condos sold better with a 9% drop from the sales of 1,214 units from May 2005 to 1,101. Prices rose 8%, from $233,200 to $250,900.
MORE KENDALL TOWERS: Downtown Kendall is about to get a boost with the announcement of Park Towers at Colonnade, a sister project to Lennar Developer Inc.’s Colonnade development. The project includes two 10-story towers with one-, two- and three-bedroom residences. The self-contained residential enclave is to be encircled by landscaped gardens, colonnaded sidewalks, tree-lined pedestrian walkways, a park and a retail street of shops. Corwil Architects Inc. is project architect. Details: www.colonnadecondos.com.
COMEBACK: Coral Gables officials say they are concluding a deal to restore Pay by Cell Phone parking in July, two months after it was suspended. A parking department spokesman said talks with a new vendor should wrap up in a week. The US Conference of Mayors this month awarded the now-inactive program honorable mention in its City Livability Awards for cities smaller than 100,000 people. When introduced last year using PayMint software from Canada’s Mint Technology Corp., the wireless-payment service for the city’s 4,900 parking spaces was the first program of its kind in the US. But it was suspended suddenly when city officials said they learned that an undetermined number of customers were being overcharged by the software.
MOM & POP MONEY: Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa reached out to local small-business vendors by issuing 83 Mom & Pop grants in District 6. The grants of $1,000 to $3,000 are administered by the county’s Office of Community Economic Development and Neighbors and Neighbors, formed in 1997 to create a public-private partnership to build financially stable urban communities. Recipients had to be in business for at least one year and employ no more than seven.
UM CITED: The University of Miami placed No. 2 on Computerworld magazine’s annual list of the top workplaces for information-technology professionals. The university is the only academic institution to make the top five and has done it five years in a row. The ranking system is determined by a questionnaire and a survey of information-technology employees.
"GILL MAN’ LAUDED: Ricou Browning, known for playing Gill Man in "Creature from the Black Lagoon," was to be honored for a lifetime of on-screen underwater performances this week at the inaugural Film Florida Legends Awards at the Moore Building, 191 NE 40th St. in Miami’s Design District. Mr. Browning’s credits include three "Creature" films, "Sea Hunt" and projects with Ivan Tors Studios. Film Florida, a non-profit corporation, promotes the state’s film and entertainment industries.
HEALTHY CONCERN: Miami-Dade officials are seeking applicants for five vacancies on the Public Health Trust, which governs the Jackson Health System. Unpaid trustees serve for three years. The county commission, upon recommendation of the Public Health Trust Nominating Council, makes appointments. Applications, available from the Office of the County Manager, 111 NW First St., Suite 2910, are due July 7.
LEADING THE BAR: Francisco "Frank" R. Angones is to become the Florida Bar Association’s first Cuba-born president when he takes the role in a year. He was sworn in as president-elect June 23 at the association’s annual convention in Boca Raton. He arrived here 45 years ago from Cuba via Operation Pedro Pan, which brought thousands of Cuban youths to this country. "This country opened its arms to me and many other Cuban Americans and many other immigrants," said Mr. Angones. He practices civil trial, personal injury defense, commercial torts and insurance litigation defense at the Miami firm he co-founded, Angones McClure & Garcia.
MIAMI SOUNDS: Miami is filling the airwaves in the US and Latin America. On Tuesday, Univision’s "Despierta America" will air a show taped at Bayside Marketplace. The morning show is seen by an estimated 40 million viewers in the US and Latin America. Last week, representatives of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted a beach party aired by New York show "Fox & Friends," seen by more than 2 million US viewers.
COOKING UP EXPOSURE: Executive chef Jean Paul DesMaison of La Cofradia restaurant in Coral Gables was to be featured on Telemundo’s "Noticas" last week. He was to cook live to promote Miami Spice Restaurant Month.
WOMEN’S GRANTS: The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade County is seeking $2,500 to $10,000 grants proposals to fund innovative programs serving women and girls. Special consideration will be given to projects that encourage more equitable social, political and economic systems; advance economic empowerment, financial literacy and financial assets; serve marginalized populations such as immigrants, the homeless, older women and lesbians; build capacity for new innovative programs; and provide skills and resources women and girls need to realize their full potential. Applications are due Sept. 8. Details: (305) 441-0506 or www.womensfundmiami.org.
THAT ’70s BUILDING: The 158-unit Palmetto Tower apartment complex was sold recently for $27.5 million, which at $174,367 per unit represents one of the highest prices paid for a 1970s property in Miami-Dade County, according to Peter Mekras, an associate with Aztec Group, Inc., which handled the sale. Completed in 1971, the property consists of two eight-story residential buildings on approximately 4.4 acres. It was purchased by Palmetto Towers Group from Jerob Properties. The property is near Dadeland Mall.
SOUTH BEACH SALE: A partnership including JOSS Real Estate and Andalax Group recently bought Lincoln Place, a $62 million Class A mixed-use office-retail building in South Beach. The building, which includes 139,887 rentable square feet, is made up of three components – 110,946 square feet of office space, 28,941 square feet of ground-floor retail space and a 534-space five-story parking garage. The seller was LNR Property Corp. The building will retain its current use, according to Christian R. Lee, executive vice president of CB Richard Ellis’ Institutional Group, which represented the seller.
HISPANIC HERITAGE: The Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee seeks nominees for Hispanic Heritage Month awards. Categories to be honored are educator, businessperson, public safety hero or provider, social services provider, artist and youth. Nominations are due Sept. 8. Details: (305) 604-2489 or http://miamibeachfl.gov/newcity/news/whats’new.asp.
BUZZ FOR VICE: The "Miami Vice" movie, slated for release next month, continues to generate worldwide buzz. Among media planning stories are the UK’s The Times, which is having columnist Will Hide seek out anything new and fashionable in the funky, cool and hip world of the movie.
SEXY SIDE: Media that blanket much of France and beyond took a Sexy in the City tour, checking into Miami-Dade’s sexiest venues including nightlife, dining and shopping. Participants included Metro, a daily distributed in 10 cities in France; First Class, a glossy magazine for international business and leisure travelers; Femmes en Ville & Hommes en Ville, a monthly distributed in top department stores; Printemps; Investissement Conseils, a financial monthly targeting financial institutions and wealthy individuals; Semper, a lifestyle magazine distributed throughout Belgium and Switzerland; Voyages de Luxe, a bimonthly glossy travel magazine; The Hundred Most Beautiful Hotels in the World, a travel guide in French to be published in October; and a TV crew from "Question Maison"/France 5, France’s most-viewed design show.
MS RESEARCHER: Howard Zwibel, medical director of the Baptist Healthy Doctors Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Center, was lead investigator in a research study published in the international journal Acta Neurologica Scaninavica that looked at the benefits of two medications and found Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) more effective in reducing relapses than Betaseron, another MS drug. The center is affiliated with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Copaxone is marketed by Teva Neuroscience Inc., headquartered in Israel, among the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world and the leading generic pharmaceutical company.
PLAYING FIELD LEVELER: In recognition of his company’s support of small and minority contractors in South Florida, Gilberto Neves, CEO of Odebrecht Construction, has received the Golden Hammer award, a top honor from the Contractor’s Resource Center, an advocacy organization for small and minority-owned contracting firms. The center facilitates construction opportunities, partnerships and joint ventures with large contractors.
CASH IN HAND: Construction financing is in place for ArTech, a nine-story, 232-unit waterfront condominium complex in Aventura. The project was given a $130 million construction loan by Corus Bank. "Corus is very pleased to be working with ArTech, which will be a landmark property for Aventura," said Brian Brodeur, the bank’s senior vice president. "The strong presales and excellent design allowed the bank to provide the loan on a non-recourse basis and without participants." The Fortune International and Shefaor Development project is slated for completion in late 2007.
NEW SENIOR VP FOR UBS: Federico J. Sanchez has been named senior vice president-investment at UBS Financial Services Inc. He joins the company from Fiduciary Trust International, where he was senior vice president and head of Florida new business and client services. He has more than 25 years of experience in wealth management and financial services at Northern Trust Bank of Florida and Southeast Bank/First Union/Wachovia in various senior management positions. He graduated from American University in Washington. He currently serves on the board of Mercy Hospital Foundation and the Zoological Society of Florida and is a Fellow at the Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.