Written by Miami Today on September 28, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
4 TOWERS PERMIT SOUGHT: Miami River Rapids, a four-building mixed-use development ranging from 115 to 143 feet tall with 1,590 residential units, 65,852 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 2,200 parking spaces, is to go before the Miami City Commission today (9/28) for a major-use special permit. The project is planned for 1701, 1801, 1825 and 1851 Delaware Parkway and 2990 NW South River Drive. Developer A+ Mini Storage Airport LLC is also asking permission to change the zoning and land usage to restricted commercial, C-1 restricted commercial, general commercial and C-2 Liberal Commercial.
PAYDAY: Coral Gables commissioners passed an ordinance on second reading Tuesday raising salaries to $32,000 for the mayor, $28,000 for the vice mayor and $26,000 for each commissioner. The mayor now gets about $30,000, the vice mayor about $21,500 and each commissioner about $19,000. The raise takes effect Oct. 1. The salaries were last set in 1986.
BRIDGE CLOSING AT NIGHT: Brickell Bridge northbound will be closed nights Oct. 2-6. The Florida Department of Transportation will halt traffic from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. to do resurfacing in a project to add a northbound lane into downtown by year’s end. Northbound cars will be detoured left at Southwest Seventh Street, then right at South Miami Avenue and right at Southeast Fourth Street on the north side of the river. The decade-old bridge is several feet higher than its 64-year-old predecessor, allowing more boat traffic to flow under it without frequent openings. Details: (305) 470-5349.
SQUARE DEAL: Citisquare Group LLC, developer of the 695,000-square-foot City Square Retail project that is to rise behind the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, is asking the Miami City Commission today (9/28) to close and vacate an easement of property between Northeast 13th and 15th streets, Herald Plaza and Northeast Bayshore Drive to unify the project’s site. The city’s planning and public works department approved the request along with the plat and street committee. The zoning board also approved 7-1 on June 26.
FLAGLER HOTELS: Florida-based Driftwood Hospitality Management has partnered with Cardel Hotels to acquire and manage two new hotels to be built at Flagler Station in west Miami-Dade County. The 127-room Courtyard by Marriott is to break ground in May 2007 at Northwest 105th Street and 112th Avenue and open in May 2008, while the 123-room Residence Inn is to break ground next door in May 2008 and open in May 2009. County commissioners approved both hotels in June.
MERRILL-STEVENS EXPANSION: A Miami-Dade County sub-committee approved a $40 million expansion of the Merrill-Stevens boatyard near the Northwest 12th Street Bridge at the Miami River. County commissioners are to decide whether to authorize County Manager George Burgess to negotiate a contract for the company, which has been based on the river since 1923, to take over 1.5 acres of county-owned land to accommodate 250-foot mega-yachts, build a training center for craftsmen and set up public walkways on both sides of the river. The project is expected to create up to 500 jobs.
HOUSING DIRECTOR SEARCH: The search for a director of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency is intensifying, as interviews with a short-list of candidates are scheduled for Oct. 4, said Cynthia Curry, who is serving as interim director. The agency engaged a national firm to help with the search, she said. County Manager George Burgess brought Ms. Curry aboard in February as a special advisor on housing issues.
STEPPING IN: Angel Medina Jr., Regions Bank president, Miami-Dade County, is to give his first address as chairman of the Beacon Council at the economic development organization’s annual meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 3. The council’s other new officers also will be installed: Pete Pizarro, CEO, Telefonica, USA, chair-elect; Alan Becker, shareholder, Becker & Poliakoff, treasurer; and Clyde Rucker, senior vice president, global communications & external affairs, Burger King Corp., secretary. A lifestyle auction will be held, with proceeds going to the Make IT Miami-Dade County marketing campaign. Tickets are $60 for council members, $75 for non-members. Details: (305) 579-1380 or www.beaconcouncil.com.
BOARD ROOM RULES: Miami commissioners are to vote today (9/28) to change the voting requirements for the city’s planning and zoning boards to a simple majority vote instead of the five votes now needed. Commissioners in July voted for the change 3-1 on first reading. Tomás Regalado, who voted no, said it was not the best time to change rules because of the number of projects requesting class II and major use building permits. A five-member quorum would remain intact for the boards, but under the proposal a majority vote of those present would be sufficient to approve comprehensive plan amendments, building permits and other matters.
DOCUMENTING DOCUMENTS: Business owners and residents must wait to see which documents will cost them $1 per page to file with the City of Coral Gables. The city commission voted on second reading Tuesday to establish a special revenue fund providing for the management of public records through a $1-per-page filing fee, but the resolution specifying applicable documents — to be written by the city manager’s office — won’t be available until Oct. 5, said Dona Lubin, assistant city manager. The charge will apply to "certain documents meeting necessary criteria," according to the ordinance. The documents will be "those that fall within a definitional standard of what is a public record and those that are to be filed by an agency that have a retention period," City Clerk Walter Foeman said earlier this month. "Rather than put the burden on the general taxpayer, we will put it on those who use the public records system."
HEADHUNTER HIRED: Miami city commissioners acting at a Community Redevelopment Agency meeting Monday agreed to have Colin Baenziger & Associates run a local search for an executive director for the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Parkwest Redevelopment Agencies. The agency will pay the company $25,000 to find the most qualified local candidates by Dec. 1. Jim Villacorta, an assistant city attorney, is in charge until an executive director is hired. Frank Rollason recently left the job to run for the city commission.
GIVING AND GIVERS: The nature of philanthropy in Miami and the demands on donors will be the topic of the first fall session of the International Roundtable at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at Northern Trust Bank, 700 Brickell Ave. Panelists will be Marguerite H. Griffin, senior vice president and national director of philanthropic services, the Northern Trust Co.; Scot Marken, president and chief executive officer, Donors Forum; Harve Mogul, president and chief executive officer, United Way of Miami-Dade; and Janet T. Munn, president, Lawyers for Children America. Michael Hayes, Miami Today’s international editor, will moderate. The program is sponsored by Northern Trust and Miami Today. To reserve: Jannina Roman, (305) 358-2663.
WATERFORD FEET: Although MetLife now owns eight of the 13 buildings in the Waterford at Blue Lagoon complex after buying the Atrium Building portfolio for $97.5 million, as reported Sept. 21, based on square footage the purchase leaves Metlife the second largest landlord in the business park. Teachers Insurance Annuity Association still owns about 1.1 million square feet in five remaining buildings compared to the 800,000 square feet Metlife has in the eight buildings. Teachers Insurance Annuity also owns about 50 acres of undeveloped land in the complex.