Written by Miami Today on July 6, 2006
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FLYING SOLO: As costs for the $1.94 billion North Terminal at Miami International Airport soar, the county commission’s regional transportation committee’s chairman, Carlos Gimenez, proposes giving County Manager George Burgess far-flung latitude on terminal contracts. He’s asking today (7/6) to let Mr. Burgess unilaterally modify contracts up to 15% or $10 million with contracts over $150 million limited to 10% modification. Mr. Burgess could also waive competitive bids up to $1 million, extend contracts and waive damages for failure to meet deadlines. The county last summer took over construction management from American Airlines. The proposal cites need for the contracts to meet Florida law and standard county contract terms, establish allowance accounts and "address field conditions."
29TH AMENDMENT: The county’s Aviation Department is asking commissioners today to amend a contract with H.J. Ross Inc. for design of the North Terminal. American Airlines awarded the contract for $4.9 million and turned it over to the county last year at $6.2 million. The proposal would add another $3.5 million for a total of $9.7 million as well as extend the contract five years. Mr. Burgess’ memo to commissioners cites numerous project scope changes and notes that while this is the county’s first amendment to the contract, there were 28 under the stewardship of American Airlines since the project began in 1998.
MORE AIRPORT BONDS: To pay for all of the airport’s $5.2 billion total capital improvement program, the county commission today (7/6) is being asked to approve issuing $600 million more airport revenue bonds. To date, $4.3 billion has been authorized and $2.9 billion actually issued.
DIGGING DEEPER: Miami officials are hailing the earmarking of $500,000 for planning and engineering studies of a $157 million project to deepen the Port of Miami to accommodate 1,000-foot Super Panamax-class ships. "The commencement of the Phase III Dredging Project is critical to the long-term economic viability of the Port of Miami," said County Manager George Burgess. "This accomplishment is good for business, good for residents and good for Miami-Dade." The bill still requires a congressional vote, hopefully before October, start of the 2007 fiscal year, said Andria Muñiz, a port spokeswoman.
PARK AND SHOP: The Miami Parking Authority, in a public-private partnership with the City of Miami Community Development Department and Goodwill Industries of South Florida, has unveiled a $6.3 million parking and retail plaza serving the Allapattah neighborhood. The Allapattah Parking Plaza, 2090 NW 21st Terrace, includes 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space along with a 317-space garage that will serve area shoppers as well as employees of Goodwill Industries of South Florida next door.
CONVENTION BONANZA: More than 4,000 participants are expected at the International Parkinson’s Conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center Dec. 13-17, 2009. Loews Miami Beach will be hotel headquarters. The conference, booked through Kenes International, is expected to have a local economic impact of more than $3.5 million.
IN UK SPOTLIGHT: A group of United Kingdom media were to take an "Off the Beaten Track" tour of the area, including stops at Key Biscayne, the Everglades, Sunny Isles and South Dade attractions. Among them: Press Association, UK’s national news agency; Homes and Holidays, the Sunday Mirror’s Sunday supplement; The Scotsman, Scotland’s daily national newspaper; Profile, a bimonthly men’s lifestyle magazine; 4Homes, a monthly interiors magazine; and Grand Designs, a monthly inspirational interiors magazine. The group’s total circulation is near 2.5 million. Separately, Matt Hampton, features editor of UK newspaper Travel Weekly, was to visit to research a destination feature, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau reports.
GERMANY, TOO: Eva-Beate Soller, author of German travel guide From Fort Myers to Miami, was to return to Miami to research the second volume, From Miami to the Keys. The German-language guide is to contain 30 pages devoted to Miami-Dade. The book is targeted to an older audience looking for destinations off the beaten path.
RED CROSS LEADER: Miamian Victoria Diaz Cummock, whose husband was one of 270 passengers killed in a 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan Am plane over Scotland, has been appointed to the American Red Cross National Board of Governors. Since her husband’s death, she has responded to air disasters, acts of terrorism and hurricanes in work with the Red Cross and has testified before 23 congressional committees involving terrorism and air passenger security.
BAR ROLE: Michael Chesal of Miami law firm Kluger Peretz Kaplan & Berlin will be chairman of the Florida Bar Business Law Section’s Continuing Legal Education Committee. "We’re proud of Michael’s appointment to the Continuing Legal Education Committee," said Howard Berlin, firm managing partner. Mr. Chesal previously headed the Florida Bar’s Intellectual Property Law Committee and most recently spearheaded a task force to update Florida’s Trademark Act to respond to changes in federal law and to expand the protections afforded owners of Florida trademark registrations.
AIR PARKING SPECIAL: A 600-space economy park-and-ride lot at Miami International Airport has opened for summer use at Northwest 45th Avenue between Northwest 13th and 15th streets. It can be accessed from LeJeune or Perimeter roads through Labor Day weekend, said airport spokesman Greg Chin. "Our parking garages approach capacity, especially during the summer holiday weekends, when we average more than 100,000 passengers per day," he said. Weekends are also busier due to cruise departures, he noted. Rates at the lot are $3 for the first hour, $3 for the second and $2 for the third and beyond – a maximum of $8 per day. Long-term parking at the airport’s Dolphin or Flamingo garages hits a $12 daily maximum.
VIVA DEVELOPERS: A crew from E! Entertainment Latin American’s "VIVA Florida" was in Miami recently to film an episode featuring South Florida developers, businessmen and politicians. Those interviewed included Edgardo Defortuna, CEO of Fortune International; Jorge Perez, CEO of the Related Group of Florida; Jacobo Cababie of Cabi Developers; Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, CEO of Related Cervera Realty Services; and Diego Lowenstein of the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, where the show was taped.
ORANGE PICKS: The Orange Bowl Committee, host of the FedEx Orange Bowl and Orange Bowl Festival, has promoted Mitch Morrall to vice president of events and David Murphey to vice president of sales. Mr. Morrall, a 14-year veteran of event marketing and management, was director of events for the 2005-06 Orange Bowl Festival. Mr. Murphey, who is entering his 10th year with the committee, was director of sales. He previously was marketing and promotions coordinator and ticket sales manager.
GOING GREEN: The Miami-Dade County Commission approved a resolution sponsored by Katy Sorenson to grant $60,000 to the Village of Palmetto Bay to "green" the library being built. The grant offsets the cost of constructing a sustainable building, which is to reduce electric and water bills.
UPLIFTING NEWS: Another addition to Miami’s skyline has received final permitting approval from the City of Miami and US Army Corps of Engineers. This one is to rise several hundred feet, and for a small fee, you can join in the ascent. Coral Gables company Skylift Holding has won permitting approval from the city and Corps of Engineers to launch a helium-tethered balloon at downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park. "The balloon will go 500 feet in the air and will be a great attraction to the park," said Tim Schmand, Bayfront Park Management Trust executive director. The company expects to begin construction this month. Skylift ordered a balloon for $1 million and plans to charge $14 for adults and $7 for children to ride for 15 minutes. The sky ride can hold up to 30 people at once.