Written by Miami Today on May 10, 2007
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CARNIVAL CENTER PARKING: Miami-Dade officials received the go-ahead Tuesday from commissioners to continue negotiations for about 2,700 parking spaces in several locations for the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Staffers working for County Manager George Burgess are to try to move closer to a deal for a two-acre parcel owned by Maefield Holdings that could provide 1,600 spaces for center patrons, along with agreements for a 199-car garage south of the center’s opera house and about 900 spaces on separate properties owned by the Florida Department of Transportation. Commissioner Natacha Seijas, who voted against the measure, said she is frustrated that the county has to find parking for the fledgling Carnival Center. "I’m annoyed," she said, "that we are burdened with resolving this."
STADIUM STALL: Miami administrators and University of Miami officials were to have met last month to discuss the fate of the Orange Bowl, City Manager Pete Hernandez said in March. However, "we have not met with UM yet," Gilbert Cabrera, executive assistant to the city manager, said last week. The fate of the stadium and the school hang in the balance. "We want to keep UM in Miami, but I know if that doesn’t work, you’ll probably have officials saying, "Oh, here’s an opportunity,’" such as one to build a stadium for the Florida Marlins on the Orange Bowl site. "The university belongs in the Orange Bowl," Mr. Hernandez said. "But I have to be realistic and tell you that in the end, it will be a business decision."
GOALS GALORE: The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Goals Conference May 17-20 at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave. It is to precede the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Goals Conference June 1-2 at the Biltmore.
COMMUNITY BUILDER: United HomeCare Services has awarded Michael Aller, tourism and convention director and chief of protocol for Miami Beach, its Claude Pepper Memorial Award for Community Builder. The award is to be presented at 5:45 p.m. May 24 at the Hilton Airport hotel, 5101 Blue Lagoon Dr.
CHAIRMAN-ELECT: Gene Prescott, president of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and the Alexander All-Suite Ocean Front Resort in Miami Beach, has been voted chairman-elect of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. He is to become chairman in October, replacing Maria Sastre of Royal Caribbean International.
CORRIDOR CATCHUP: Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has asked that at its meeting today (5/10), the commission receive an update on the South Florida East Coast Corridor Study. He wants to know when the public will be able to use the corridor for public transportation, the latest cost estimates and the possibility for use of the corridor as a walking and bike path.
HOUSING HELP: The Miami City Commission is to see today (5/10) a resolution authorizing the city manager to increase the income limits of homebuyers buying property from developers building affordable housing provided by the city. The resolution proposes a jump from 80% to 120% of the area’s median income.
TAX TERMS: A resolution today (5/10) asks the Miami City Commission to authorize City Manager Pete Hernandez to execute a second agreement with Miami-Dade County continuing the city’s share of transportation surtax proceeds. The updated agreement is for an added five years.
ANNEX OR INCORPORATE? Residents of unincorporated sections of Miami-Dade may have to wait until the Legislature finishes expected property tax revamps before commissioners again allow new cities to be created. The commission adopted an ordinance on first reading Tuesday that would suspend requests from unincorporated areas to become independent municipalities until a report by County Manager George Burgess is read and the public has a chance to debate the matter in July. The commission is to discuss during the summer whether annexing unincorporated areas into existing cities is better than creating new municipalities.
SAFETY FIRST: The Florida Legislature adopted last week three measures to reduce incidents of carbon-monoxide poisoning. The bill requires carbon-monoxide detectors to be placed in residential complexes and hotels under construction. The bills bring Florida in line with several states that have passed similar legislation.
HOTEL TAXES RISE: Boosted by the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, Miami-Dade County took in $16.4 million in Convention Development Tax revenue in the first quarter — up 6.5% from the first quarter of 2006, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 3% tax on hotel-room sales is used to support public facilities such as the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Details: www.miamiandbeaches.com.
MIAMI TO JAMAICA: The sales team of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is to market Miami-Dade as a travel destination in Jamaica this weekend. The bureau is a sponsor for the 14th annual Incentive Invitational, a four-day networking event in Montego Bay. Brochures promoting Miami-Dade are to be distributed throughout the event. Details: www.miamiandbeaches.com.
LANDING FUNDS: Financing is in place for Biscayne Landing, a town-center project on 193 waterfront acres in North Miami. Boca Developers secured $233.5 million in credit from real estate capital services firm Cohen Financial for the project at Biscayne Boulevard at Northeast 151st Street. The complex is to include 6,000 residences, 400,000 square feet of commercial space and an Olympic training facility. Details: www.bocadevelopers.com.
STANDING HIGH FOR TECH: M. Lewis Temares, University of Miami vice president of information technology and dean of the College of Engineering, accepted the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s award as technology leader of the year in resource utilization to a standing ovation at the chamber’s lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Marvin Wheeler, chief operations officer of Terremark Worldwide, was named technology leader of the year for infrastructure management.
BANKING COMPASS: Greater Miami Chamber leaders heard last week from Vernon W. Hill II, chairman of Commerce Bank, about why the 449-store (they don’t call them branches) Northeast bank has moved into Southeast Florida: "It’s a little bit like the Wild West down here, and that’s what we like."
AWARDS DINNER: United HomeCare Services will host its 13th annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Dinner at 5:30 p.m. April 24 at Hilton Miami Airport, 5101 Blue Lagoon Dr. The multi-category awards ceremony will honor those who have made a difference in the community. Honorees will include Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Bruno Barreiro and Miami Beach tourism director Michael Aller. Details: (305) 328-0879.
CORRECTION: Miami International Airport did not award a contract to Borders to construct a bookstore/café, as reported last week. It selected the company as its first choice to build before rejecting all proposals based on misinformation.
NEW TERMS: A request for proposals by Miami International Airport officials re-advertising for a bookstore/café after a proposal from Borders was tossed out after being falsely selected will ask for an eight-year contract. The original request was for five years.
CORRECTION: A photo caption for the May 3 article "County entrepreneurs stay ahead of footwear curve" should have reported that Jarett Reinhartz of Footcare Express is a pedorthist.