Written by Miami Today on September 14, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
UNRANKED: Maefield Development must wait to find how the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Parkwest Community Redevelopment Agency views its request for $200 million to fund road work and a parking garage for City Square Retail Center and City Square Residential Towers on what is now Miami Herald parking land. Miami’s Department of Capital Improvements has yet to prioritize funding requests. The rankings were to be presented Sept. 5, but the agency cancelled the meeting after learning the ranking wasn’t ready. "Once the plan is formulated and ready for presentation, we will reschedule the community redevelopment agency meeting and present it at that time," said John De Pazos, the department’s project manager.
BATTLE FOR FUNDS: The Miami Department of Capital Improvements was asked to list top projects and get input from city departments as well as reach out to businesses and institutions requesting funding. The department is to coordinate with redevelopment agency committee members on which projects can get funding. Among projects competing for funding is renovation of the Freedom Tower. City commissioners, meanwhile, weren’t too keen on Maefield’s request for $200 million when the subject arose at their meeting last week. Mark Siffin, principal of Maefield, an Indiana company building City Square behind the east hall of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, contends the money is essential as a way to provide 1,500 parking spaces for the arts center.
NEW NEGOTIATOR: Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez says he’ll negotiate with Parrot Jungle Island officials on repaying millions in loans the attraction used for its move to Watson Island from Pinecrest. He said he’s taking on the task following a decision by the City Commission to take back responsibility for 80% of the loan. The county secured a $25 million loan from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to help fund the relocation. Parrot Jungle hadn’t made payments since August 2004 on its $4.7 million share. The county subsequently made a payment and set a 2012 deadline to be reimbursed by Parrot Jungle. The city paid its $1.35 million share to the county, 80% of a $1.7 million payment to HUD due Aug. 1. The next HUD payment is due in February. Relations between county and city officials soured after former city manager Joe Arriola revoked the city’s agreement with the county to pay off 70% of the HUD loan.
FIU RANKS HIGH: U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2007 ranks Florida International University’s business administration program seventh in the nation and number one in the state for undergrad programs focusing on international business. Details: (305) 348-6631.
NO ROOM AT THE INN-TERNET: The Miami-Dade County Commission was to vote Tuesday on a resolution sponsored by Chairman Joe Martinez demanding lawsuits against Internet providers who resell hotel rooms without paying taxes to the county. Some Internet providers have been renting rooms at discounted rates and reselling them at marked-up prices, county officials say, without paying Tourist and Convention Development Taxes, also known as bed taxes. The taxes — collected from people who stay for up to six months at lodgings — fund tourist attractions, help in development of the Cultural Affairs Department and pay debt for professional sports facilities.
VOICE OF HIGHWAYS: The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority hired Maggie Cortez Kirkpatrick to oversee communications, marketing and public relations. The authority is a state-sanctioned agency created in 1994 to help maintain five expressways.
FAIR GAME: The Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Inc. named Nelson Camilo Bellido, an attorney with Shook Hardy & Bacon, to its board. The group, which turns 56 next March, oversees operations of the 18-day fair and works with local schools to establish scholarship programs.
THIS OLD HOUSING: Coral Gables Development Director Cathy Swanson Rivenbark said she will submit a letter of intent to city commissioners Sept. 26 for construction of congregate senior housing at 45 and 50 Andalusia Ave. The plan had been to file the letter at the Aug. 22 meeting, she said, but city officials and developer The Palace Group both made conceptual revisions, which delayed things. Commissioners voted in July to negotiate a 99-year lease with the Palace Group for the land, on which are to rise 156 independent residences and 40 assisted-care units in two nine-story buildings.
NO PITCH: Miami Arena owner Glenn Straub said Monday that his property is not involved in discussions between Miami-Dade officials and Major League Baseball about a downtown site for a stadium for the Florida Marlins. Real estate and railroad company Florida East Coast Industries, he said, owns the land being considered south of the arena. Mr. Straub also said he was not aware of a reported deal to sell the arena to developer Scott Silver, who declined comment. Phone calls to Major League Baseball’s Jim Gallagher were not returned.
MAKING THEIR POINTS: Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce members returned Friday from three days of lobbying as part of the chamber’s Washington D.C. Initiative. Fourteen members promoted the Miami River dredging project to the South Florida delegation, spoke of the merits of international free trade with trade representatives and met with immigration and customs officials, said Jay Carmichael, chairman of the chamber’s federal advocacy committee. Chamber advocates, he said, will return to Washington early in 2007.
ARTS COMMITTEE CHAIRS: The 25-member Cultural Arts Neighborhood District Overlay, charged with carving out a cultural district in Miami Beach, has appointed its leaders. Nancy Liebman, president of the Urban Environmental League of Greater Miami, and Paul Woehrle, director of corporate, foundations and government relations of the New World Symphony, were appointed chair and vice chair, respectively, at the first meeting last week. "I am very pleased with today’s CANDO kickoff," said Mayor David Dermer. The next meeting is Oct. 12 at City Hall. The aim of the committee is to create a district that would include cultural attractions as well as affordable housing for artists.
A NATIONAL STAGE: Miami’s Melissa Shuffield, formerly US Sen. Mel Martinez’ deputy press secretary, is getting adjusted to an increased national platform as press secretary to US Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a post she assumed this month. "I’m just learning my way around, learning and knowing the issues. I really enjoyed working for Sen. Martinez, but I respect Sen. McCain a great deal as well," she said. She resisted entreaties to make any announcements about Sen. McCain’s presidential aspirations, preferring to stick to more low-key topics. She said one of her major challenges will be getting accustomed to "not being able to get back to Florida and having to deal with the cold weather here." Ms. Shuffield is the daughter of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell head Ron and Anita Shuffield.
UM ADDS RESEARCHER: The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine hired Eli Gilboa, a professor and researcher of therapies for cancer and HIV/AIDS at Duke University, to develop an Interdisciplinary Immunotherapy Institute to serve patients across the street from the campus. Dr. Gilboa has made breakthroughs in gene therapy at Duke, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Princeton University and holds six patents. He is to work with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Division of Hematology Oncology.
CABI HONORED: Cabi Developers officials will head to London in November to pick up their 2006 International Property Award for Best Florida Development, won by Capital at Brickell, their mixed-use, 834-unit residential condominium. The International Property Awards reviews entries from around the world. "It is a true honor to be acknowledged by a global organization," said Jacobo Cababie, Cabi CEO. Details: (305) 960-9998 or www.capitalatbrickell.com.
HOMESTEAD HOSPITAL CHIEF: The Homestead Hospital Board of Directors Executive Committee named Bill Duquette chief executive officer after former CEO Bo Boulenger was appointed CEO of Baptist Hospital of Miami. Mr. Duquette has 27 years’ experience in health-care administration and has been with Homestead Hospital, 160 NW 13th St., since 1991, most recently as vice president of operations. Construction of a new 300,000-square-foot facility is under way. It should open in the spring on Southwest 312th Street. "My goals are to maintain our excellent patient satisfaction and manage the move to our new hospital," Mr. Duquette said. "We have a huge number of patients coming into the emergency room, so we can use the space. It’s an exciting time for us."
KEYS TO AIR SAFETY: To help owners secure aircraft from unauthorized use, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department will provide free throttle locks to 350 pilots whose single-engine planes are based at Opa-locka Executive, Kendall-Tamiami Executive and Homestead General airports. Details: (305) 869-1660.
AT STARTING GATES: The Atrium at Aventura, a 192-unit waterfront condo with a private marina, is topping off both towers and is 90% sold, with completion due early next year, according to developer Gates McVey. It is the first Southeast Florida project for the company, said Tim Reidy, vice president of development. Details: (305) 937-7750.
DELTA MOVES, HIRES: Felix A. Peguero, a civil engineer with more than 30 years of experience, is new vice president at Delta Consulting Group, which recently moved to larger offices at 200 Ponce de Leon Blvd. in Coral Gables. Mr. Peguero is president of the Miami-Dade branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Details: www.delta-cgi.com.
GAY & LESBIAN HONORS: NAACP leader Julian Bond and Robert "Bob" Cole, a local travel agent, will be honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at the organization’s 10th annual Miami Recognition Dinner at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Mr. Bond will receive the 2006 Leadership Award and Mr. Cole the 2006 Humanitarian Award. Mr. Cole, a travel agent for 28 years, is being honored for his support of organizations on behalf of the gay and lesbian community. Details: (305) 571-1924.
INSURANCE SKULL SESSION: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Insurance Task Force Brainstorming Session for Business Leaders begins at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21 at chamber offices, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. The event, which was to be held last month, was rescheduled due to tropical storm Ernesto. Details: (305) 577-5489.
ROLLING THE DICE: South Beach replaces the coveted orange St. James Place slot on Monopoly: Here and Now, an updated version of the classic board game set to arrive on store shelves this week. The selection resulted from a poll on the game’s Web site in which fans cast ballots for legendary streets, neighborhoods and national monuments in 22 of "America’s greatest destination cities," including Miami. "We’re not surprised that Americans voted in droves for South Beach, but we’re thrilled by the honor," said William D. Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Since 1935, more than 250 million copies of Monopoly have been sold in 80 countries and 26 languages. More than 200 editions of the game exist.
PANAMA EXPOSURE: Journalists expected in town next week include a crew from Panama’s "Bon Voyage TV," which will film Miami shopping, culinary scene and boutique hotels Sept. 14-17. The travel show features seven segments including food, shopping, adventure, nightlife and hotels.
TELLING MIAMI’S STORY: Miami will be represented in Germany. A writer from Merian, the nation’s top travel magazine, is to be here for two weeks gathering information for a 12-page story on arts and culture.
PASSPORT MAGAZINE: Andrew Mersmann, editor-in-chief of Passport Magazine, is to be in Miami next week researching for a story. The magazine is intended for gay and lesbian readers who travel to international and domestic destinations. Details: www.passportmagazine.net.
ART MARKETING APPOINTMENT: George Neary, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau associate vice president of cultural tourism, has been appointed to the American Express Miami-Dade National Arts Marketing Project. Miami is among the 12 US cities in the program, which is to result in workshops, speakers, roundtable discussions, and development of a resource bank of marketing activities. Details: ArtsBizMiami.org.
BEACH LEADERSHIP: Registration is open for the Miami Beach Neighborhood Leadership Academy’s fall program. The free city program, which begins Sept. 18, is to provide Beach residents with information on how local government works. Details: (305) 604-2489.
HEALTH GRANTS: The University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine is among 17 nonprofit health organizations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties that received a total of $2.5 million from the Health Foundation of South Florida. The medical school will use its $299,510 to work with a community-based health center to improve treatment of mentally ill patients. Bay Point Schools, a private, non-profit school, will use its $53,500 to train staff, a foundation spokesperson said. Other county organizations included Borinquen Health Care Center, $274,879 to set up an electronic health record system; Children’s Bereavement Center, $104,050 to promote itself and expand services; Easter Seals of Miami-Dade, $222,000 to improve information management, and Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, $443,793 to provide dental care to children of low-income families. Details: (305) 374-7200 or www.hfsf.org.
WEB HOSTS: Ilse Media, one of the largest Internet publishers in the Netherlands, has signed a multiyear contract with Dedigate, a subsidiary of Terremark Worldwide Inc., to host its Web sites in the Netherlands. "We consider continuous availability the prime criterion when selecting a hosting partner," said Paul Molenaar, the company’s director. "We chose Dedigate for their experience in the hosting of infrastructures from which high-end Web sites are run." Miami-based Terremark operates integrated Tier-1 Internet exchanges and provides IT infrastructure solutions.
CALL TO WASHINGTON: University of Miami MBA Jovita Carranza, who was Miami-based president of the Americas Region of UPS from January 2001 to April 2003, was tapped last week by President George W. Bush to become deputy administrator of the US Small Business Administration. The formal nomination is pending. She was replaced by Stephen Flowers when she left Miami to become vice president of UPS air operations in Louisville, where she subsequently retired after 30 years with the company.
DIVINE DEAL: Words of Life Fellowship Church bought the neighboring Ives I-95 Business Center in North Miami Beach for $10 million last month. The church is holding the property — 100,000 square feet of multi-tenant offices, showrooms and warehouses — in hopes of expanding in the future, said John Steinbauer, president of Steinbauer Associates, the commercial and industrial real estate brokerage firm that will continue to lease and manage the business park, 20201 NE 15th Court. "It’s contiguous to our church property," said Steve Magenheimer, a church member and the real estate broker who represented Words of Life in the purchase. "We’re going to hold it as investment property for the foreseeable future." The church, which pastors Stan and Geri Moore started in their living room in 1982, now occupies a 53,000-square-foot building.
CORRECTION: An Aug. 31 article should have said the Miami-Dade County Commission’s Regional Transportation Committee is to meet Oct. 5.
CORRECTION: The name of author Edwidge Danticat was misspelled on last week’s front page.