Written by Miami Today on March 8, 2007
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
SHOW BOAT: Miami-Dade government officials pulled out all the stops last week to land a $26 million federal grant for the Miami River dredging project. Led by Miami River Commission chairman Irela Bague, a squadron of local officials took US Reps. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman Shultz on a riverboat tour on which business leaders pitched the importance of dredging the river to accommodate larger cargo ships and mega-yachts. After the tour, both legislators said they’d try to shake the money out of Washington, Ms. Bague said.
AIRPORT WEST DEAL: International investment firm TA Associates sold 122,280-square-foot Aviation Business Center, on four parcels spanning Northwest 75th street and 52nd and 54th avenues, to INVESCO for $11.8 million last month. Broker CB Richard Ellis facilitated the sale of the four two-story warehouse buildings in the Airport West industrial market, representing TA Associates. Details: www.cbre.com.
PROMOTING MUSEUM PARK: Ad agency Image Factory won honors for helping the Miami Science Museum launch a $100 million capital campaign to build in the planned Museum Park, part of Miami’s master plan for Bicentennial Park. Image Factory received eight Gold Addys from the Advertising Federation of Greater Miami for helping the museum create a corporate brand. The planned museum is to feature a three-story aquarium, planetarium and science theater. Details: www.miamisci.org.
GABLES OFFICE CONDO: Florida East Coast Realty plans 130,000 square feet of office-condominium space in downtown Coral Gables. The company obtained city permits to build 2020 Ponce at Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Minorca Avenue. Construction of the seven-story tower is to begin immediately and be done by year’s end, company officials say. Details: www.2020ponce.com.
DREDGING DOUGH: The Miami City Commission is to see a resolution today (3/8) calling on the city manager to apply for a state grant to help fund a $800,000 Dinner Key Marina dredging project designed to improve access for boaters. The city could receive up to $39,000 from the Florida Inland Navigation District Waterways Assistance Program. It would then use $410,000 in capital-improvement funds to match 51% of the grant.
GOING GREEN: The Miami City Commission is to discuss today (3/8) the possibility of establishing a fund for open green space at the request of Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. The action comes two weeks before the city’s Planning Advisory Board is to review its Parks and Public Spaces Master Plan unveiled last week. The Boston firm that drafted the plan identified 60 acres of possible park space in the city.
CONTRACTING CLAUSE: An ordinance to be considered by the Miami City Commission today (3/8) would restrict city directors or committee members for two years after leaving their posts from receiving compensation or employment from anyone involved in contracts they helped facilitate. The rule, designed to prevent conflicts of interest, would apply to any contracts of $500,000 or more.
PARK POSSIBILITY: Miami City Manager Pete Hernandez may receive permission from the City Commission today (3/8) to buy 6 acres — $8.35 million worth — of land at 2300 NW 14th St. to expand the city’s Fern Isle Park. The city established a special revenue fund in November allotting more than $650,000 from a grant from the Florida Communities Trust toward the project. The city would pay the difference.
CHARTER CHAT: Miami commissioners are to discuss today (3/8) the process for creating a charter-review committee. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff suggested last month that the city review its charter through a committee rather than examine each issue individually. It would be the first review since 2001. "If we can have an entire charter review, we should do it," he said. "The charter lacks a bill of rights. To me, we need an organic review and committee."
FOUR-WHEELIN’ AND DEALIN': A new bicycle company is to start assembly operations in 4,000 square feet of industrial space in Hialeah today (3/8). Caribbean Riders was established in November and expects to receive its first shipment of parts from China today to build two-seater, four-wheeled bikes. In the next three years, the company will hire up to 30 full-time employees, said Stephen Beatus, associate executive vice president for business expansion, recruitment and urban initiatives at the Beacon Council. The bikes will be distributed locally and internationally, said Guillermo de la Barcena, company president — most likely to groups looking to rent them for sightseeing or to residents in adult communities looking for more exercise than golf carts offer.
OFFICE GOES GREEN: A four-story office building in Miami Gardens is being converted to an environmentally friendly office-condo complex at 1111 Park Centre Blvd. N.R. Investments is overseeing the $2 million renovation and plans to incorporate green building principles into the 58,700-square-foot facility. Park Centre will be the region’s first office condo conversion to integrate a green building approach, company officials say. Details: www.1111parkcentre.com.
$6 MILLION-PLUS: Regalia Holdings LLC plans a 42-story luxury oceanfront condominium on the outskirts of Golden Beach at 19505 Collins Ave. The company got a $25 million loan from Minnesota bank Marshall BankFirst with hopes of starting construction by year’s end and finishing by 2009. Prices for the 7,600-square-foot condos begin at $6.2 million. Details: www.regalia.com.
BUSINESS SAVVY: Ann M. Holmes, a member of Commonwealth Institute South Florida’s advisory board, will discuss her new book, "There’s a Business in Every Woman," at the Business Rhythms Speakers Forum at noon March 29 at the Four Seasons Hotel-Miami. Details: (305) 799-6547.
SEA KNOWHOW: Cruise experts are to speak at the 23rd annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention Monday-March 15 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The global exhibition and conference is expected to draw more than 10,000 conferees and 1,000 exhibiting companies from more than 100 countries. Also featured will be the third annual International Superyacht Symposium, a two-day series of discussions. Details: (609) 759-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUTSTANDING WOMEN: World Trade Center Miami is honoring six female business leaders on International Women’s Day at a luncheon today (3/8) at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel. They are Marilyn Blanco-Reyes, managing director of Legal FedEX Express Latin America & Caribbean Division; Ines Calderon, director of operations at Florida FTAA Inc.; Remedios Diaz-Oliver, president of All American Containers Inc; Maria Sastre, vice president of international sales and marketing for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises; Susan Story, president and CEO of Gulf Power Co.; and Lauren Stover, Miami-Dade County assistant director of aviation security and communications.
RAIL’S ROAD: Planners on the Rail-Volution 2007 steering committee will meet 6-7 p.m. today (3/8) at the South Seas Hotel in Miami Beach to plan the organization’s Oct. 31-Nov. 3 national conference, expected to bring more than 1,200 to Miami Beach. Rail-Volution is a conference for transit-oriented development. The conference is designed to foster understanding of the principles of building livable communities around public transportation. Details: www.railvolution.com.
BIG DIG: Florida Department of Transportation officials were to unseal three competing consortiums’ proposals Wednesday (3/7) to build, finance and operate the $1.2 billion Port of Miami tunnel project. A final decision on the plans is months away, state officials say. The offerings are so detailed and complex, they were delivered Monday in cargo trucks, officials say. French tunnel giant Bouygues Travaux Publics SA and FCC/Morgan Stanley Construction and ACS Infrastructure/Dragados of Spain each lead a rival combine hoping to win a 35-year deal to operate a tunnel, designed to ease road traffic in downtown Miami.
BIG TROUBLE: Miami-Dade County commissioners voted Tuesday to oppose federal plans to take over the county’s scandal-scarred housing agency. But the action may be too little too late. Officials of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote a letter to Mayor Carlos Alvarez and commission chairman Bruno Barreiro Monday demanding control of the agency, which has been accused of misspending millions earmarked for low-income housing. The scandal has resulted in wholesale firings of county staffers and the indictment of at least two prominent developers. The county has 30 days to convince Uncle Sam to change his mind.