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Written by on October 12, 2006

FYI

Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead

of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.

   CONSTRUCTION COURTESY: Coral Gables commissioners said Tuesday they want the height of new development in parts of Miami adjoining Coral Gables to be more in line with Coral Gables standards. To that end, they voted to ask Miami officials to notify Coral Gables’ city manager and planning director of requests for height variances in new, adjacent developments. The commissioners voted after Miami recently received applications for adjacent developments with adjustments to the permitted height limits. "This commission intends to extend the same courtesy to the City of Miami," Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick said at the meeting.

   DOUGH FOR DOCUMENTS: Coral Gables’ city manager’s office offered a resolution Tuesday — which the commission passed — establishing fees for licenses, permits, services and penalties and identifying the types of documents subject to a recently approved $1-per-page filing fee. The document fee applies to all occupational licenses, certain building permits, certain electrical permits, certain plumbing permits, planning department documents such as site plans, and others. The commission two weeks ago established a special revenue fund providing for management of public records through the filing fee. Applicable documents are identified as "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 last month. At Tuesday’s meeting, Assistant City Manager Dona Lubin, who compiled the list of documents and fees, said, "We’re not the most expensive, but compared to other municipalities, I don’t think we’re the least expensive — so we’re right in there with everyone else."

   VIRGINIA KEY ARCHITECTS: Miami’s Department of Capital Improvements is to ask the City Commission today (10/12) to approval recommendations by City Manager Pete Hernandez and the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust that Bea International/Huff and Gooden Architects LLC be retained to design the historical Virginia Key Beach Park Museum. Virginia Key Beach Park was established in June 1945 as the county’s sole "colored-only" beach. In 1982 the park was transferred to the city and closed that year. City commissioners formed the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust in 1999 to oversee park development. The trust has been working to reopen the park and on a master plan to redevelop Virginia Key Beach.

   

   RENT BREAK: Miami plans to allow Partnership For Recovery Inc. to operate in the Overtown Shopping Center, 1490 NW Third Ave., at a cost of $1. The non-for-profit organization created the No Blue Roofs Campaign that assists low-income families with roof repair damage from Hurricane Wilma. City commissioners are to vote today (10/12) to allow the organization 1,167 square feet of office space for up to six months.

   CELLULAR BAN: Miami Commissioner Tomás Regalado is asking Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature to ban cell phone use by drivers in school crossing zones anywhere in Florida. The resolution is to be read today (10/12) at city hall.

   VENEZUELAN VOTING SITE: The Orange Bowl may be used by Venezuelans voting for their president if Miami commissioners approve a resolution by Commissioner Angel González today (10/12) at city hall. The General Consulate of Venezuela is asking to use the Orange Bowl on Dec. 3 for the 2006 National Referendum. Mr. Gonzalez is asking that all fees associated with use of the Orange Bowl be waived for the balloting. The 2004 National Referendum voting in Miami was at the Coconut Grove Expo Center.

   EDEN ROCKS: Ground was broken Tuesday for the new tower at the Eden Roc resort, beginning construction of 283 ocean-view guest rooms and 20 bungalow suites that will bring total rooms to more than 650 when the $110 million renovation is completed in 2008, said Suan Lightbourne, sales and marketing director. "This hotel is already a legendary property, so this will make it a top destination and resort," he said. The event, he said, was to be "high-tech and interactive; not your father’s groundbreaking."

   SHOWTIME: The public can offer views on the future of the Jackie Gleason Theatre at a community meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the theater, 1700 Washington Ave. Miami Beach officials are weighing whether to turn the venue into a permanent Cirque du Soleil facility or hand it over to AEG Live or Live Nation, which book their own shows. The City Commission is to make proposals public Friday in preparation for a vote at 5 p.m. Oct. 18, but the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is urging that the decision be delayed to leave time for public discussion of competing plans.

   LOAN PLAN ON HOLD: The Miami-Dade Department of Business Development’s reception to kick off its new loan program for Community Small Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise firms, scheduled for Oct. 11, has been indefinitely postponed. Details: (305) 375-3121.

   BEST OF MIAMI: In conjunction with the opening of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau was to host seven journalists to explore the best of the city’s art, culture, shopping and nightlife. The writers represent publications ranging from upscale travel magazines to daily newspapers in France, England, Brazil, Mexico and Canada, reaching a combined circulation of about 1.9 million readers.

   WEIGHTY MATTERS: Globally known researchers are to make presentations at the Nutrition, Fitness and Global Health meeting, the second edition of the Italy-Americas Medical Congress, to begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 11 at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. "Eight out of 10 Americans have a weight management problem and the obesity epidemic is affecting an increasing number of children. This conference will bring together scientists, clinicians and community leaders in an event that will catalyze new initiatives and a better coordination of disease prevention," said Camillo Ricordi, director of UM’s Diabetes Research Institute. Details: info@iacc-miami.com.

   PHILANTHROPY IN FOCUS: 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. today (10/12) at Northern Trust Bank, 700 Brickell Ave. Panelists will be Marguerite H. Griffin, senior vice president and national director of philanthropic services for the Northern Trust Co.; Scot Marken, president and chief executive officer of the Donors Forum; Harve Mogul, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Miami-Dade; and Janet T. Munn, president of Lawyers for Children America. The program is sponsored by Northern Trust and Miami Today. To reserve: Jannina Roman, (305) 358-2663.

   ALL ABOARD? Miami and the Florida Department of Transportation are hosting the final hearing on a proposed Miami streetcar system before it heads to the City Commission Nov. 9 for a decision. The hearing is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 18 at Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave. If the commission approves, the $200 million project would head to the Metropolitan Planning Organization for endorsement in December. The 10.13-mile circulator would travel on existing roads beginning in July 2010.

   ATTENTION TARGET SHOPPERS: Target at the Shops at Midtown Miami opened Oct. 4 as the first of several big-box retailers planned for Midtown Miami, a 56-acre, 18- block project under construction in Wynwood that’s to include 3,000 condos, 900 rental apartments, 560,193 square feet of retail and 59,000 square feet of offices. Besides restaurants and specialty shops, Midtown Miami is to house Circuit City, Linens ‘N Things, Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, Petsmart and OfficeMax. The area is bounded by Florida East Coast Railway tracks, North Miami Avenue, Northeast 36th Street and Northeast 29th Street at the former Buena Vista Rail Yard. The north end of Midtown Miami is to include most of the big-box retailers while the middle section is to include a courtyard with small shops and restaurants.

   PLAYHOUSE GARAGE: As 80-year-old Coconut Grove Playhouse struggles with a $4 million debt, the Miami Parking Authority isn’t giving up on a garage next door at 3500 Main Highway though "there are no plans in the works for a feasibility study right now," said Art Noriega, authority executive director. In July the parking board voted down a memorandum of understanding with the playhouse to explore a garage. Plans to build a garage began with a 1986 contract between the two. In 1996, the Florida Department of State sued for the right to build a garage there but dropped the suit two years later. Playhouse officials later negotiated a contract with developer Playhouse Associates for 40,000 square feet of retail, a 125-room hotel and a 500-space garage, but firm owner Manuel Alonso-Poch sued the playhouse in 2002 after failing to reach an agreement. The suit was resolved a year later.

   JACKSON-PARKWAY MARRIAGE: The county’s Jackson Health System was expected to announce Wednesday (10/11) acquisition of Parkway Regional Hospital, following a special meeting of the Public Health Trust’s governing board earlier that day. Parkway, with about 400 beds, is an acute care hospital that opened in 1961 at 160 NW 170th St. in North Miami and became part of Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 1997. Its specialized centers include the Wound Care Center, the Center for Mental Health, Hospice Unit and the Pain & Spine Institute. It is also affiliated with Nova Southeastern University in orthopedics and podiatry.

   FINAL BOW: Stanley Arkin said Tuesday he will announce his retirement as head of the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts Trust’s construction committee and as a member of that board. "Sixteen years is enough," he said. "It was a spectacular opening,’" he said, referring to last week’s grand opening of the arts center, and he said he was especially honored to be the person who introduced Cesar Pelli, the center’s architect, to the audience.

   HOUSING MAGIC: The Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, a joint venture of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and basketball superstar-turned-urban entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson, is partnering with Miami’s mFm Construction Corp. on a Little Havana mixed-use development that’s to include workforce housing. The Morrison, formally known as Intown Village, on Southwest Flagler Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, is to have 395 units from the mid-$200,000s to mid-$300,000s when it opens in spring 2009. It’s also to have 30,000 square feet of retail, 34,000 square feet of offices and 667 parking spaces. Developers are working with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami to provide down payment aid and fixed-interest mortgages. Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund is the nation’s largest private realty fund focused on developing urban properties in underserved neighborhoods. 

   AHOY, MATEY: "Pirates Mutiny," a European comedic drama and stunt show, is to make its US debut in Bicentennial Park on Dec. 1. The two-hour show features acrobats and dancers from around the world as well as music and special effects. It will be performed in a five-story tent in a 25,000-square-foot theater holding the 50-foot Hispañola, a ship custom-designed and constructed in Mallorca, Spain, for the show. The climate-controlled big top, which will seat 1,583, will rise at 1075 Biscayne Blvd. "Pirates Mutiny" is to run through January and perhaps longer, depending on ticket sales, promoters say.

   DECO DINER TO STAY: The $184 million Urbana Tower, to rise at 1741, 1753 and 1773 NE Second Ave. and 221 and 231 NE 17th Terrace, is up for a major use special permit. The permit would be for a 37-story, 100-unit condo project with 120,102 square feet of offices, 9,846 square feet of retail and 592 parking spaces. The project is to go before the Miami City Commission Oct. 26. The S&S Diner, a 1938 Art Deco eatery, would retain its home in front of the tower. Simon Elbaz, S&S owner for seven years, said developers Urbana Development Associates have promised him a new state-of-the-art kitchen instead of demolishing the kitchen as previously planned.

   

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