Written by Miami Today on September 20, 2007
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BYE-BYE BOWL?: Miami may be aiming to demolish the Orange Bowl in late January, Chief Financial Officer Larry Spring said at a meeting this week of the city’s Orange Bowl Advisory Board, though "that has still not been finalized." This was the board’s first meeting after about a year of dormancy, scheduled to give members the opportunity to discuss the bowl’s post-University of Miami future — but they did not make quorum. Still, city staff and board and City Commission Chair Angel González addressed attendees.
MEMORIES TO REMAIN: "I hope that whatever comes to this site can be some kind of sports," Mr. González said, perhaps Major League Baseball or soccer. He added that he would "probably strongly vote against any condominium development" on the site. To preserve the history and tradition of the bowl, even if it is demolished, "We have to find a way to keep part of the structure, as a symbol, standing," he said. Lori Billberry, director of public facilities, said the city is looking to salvage "as much as we can" from demolition. "Seats, pictures, signage — we’ve had people call about the turf," she said. Some may down the line serve as souvenirs, she said, and fixtures such as the light towers erected last year are still in good shape and could be used elsewhere.
SOUTHCOM BIDS RECEIVED: The Army Corps of Engineers this week compiled qualifications of potential bidders to design and build a US Southern Command 709,000-square-foot headquarters next to the existing one at 3511 NW 91st Ave. in Doral. Corps officials hope to identify by Friday the four or five most-qualified bidders and send them requests for proposals, said SouthCom spokesman Jose Ruiz. The House Armed Services Committee rejected a proposal last year to lease a new headquarters and 40 acres from the state, opting to have the Pentagon own a building and lease the land.
IN A TIGHT SPOT: Blue Capital, which owns the downtown Bank of America tower, has sued the City of Miami, the Department of Off Street Parking for the Miami Parking Authority and developer Related Group after the authority board last month signed a license agreement with the developer for 410 spaces in the city-owned garage that serves the tower. Blue Capital tenants use the bulk of the garage’s 1,390 spaces and, according to the suit, has 112 tenants awaiting spots. Blue Capital representatives have said the deal overburdens parking in the garage and would interfere with current tenants. Authority officials have argued that it’s best to share to maximize use of spaces, which are often empty at night once commercial users leave. Should the garage prove overbooked, authority head Arthur Noriega has said, the authority could phase out monthly renters.
FRAUDSTERS BEWARE: Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force was to convene its first meeting this week at the Government Center in response to Miami-Dade County’s first-place state ranking for mortgage fraud reports. The task force, chaired by Miami-Dade Police Department Chief Counsel Glenn Theobald, is made up of law enforcement officials, prosecutors, business leaders and elected officials. The task force plans to tackle mortgage fraud through a combination of law enforcement and education. The task force said arrests are pending and has scheduled an Oct. 5 news conference to publicize its initial work.
ARTS FUNDING GAP: An expert panel will seek ways to keep arts and cultural organizations solvent in the face of government funding cuts at a public forum Oct. 3 sponsored by the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Miami Parking Authority and Miami Today. Panelists are Edward Villella, founding artistic director and chief executive officer of the Miami City Ballet; Michael Spring, executive director of the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council; Brian Foss, president of Emerge Consulting; and Laura Bruney, executive director of the Arts & Business Council of Miami. The 5:30 p.m. presentation is at the Gusman Center, 174 E. Flagler St. Refreshments follow. Parking is free at the College Station Garage, 190 NE Third St. RSVP: Jezabelle Miranda, (305) 358-2663.
TRADE CONFERENCE: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Americas Linkage Conference 2007 on Nov. 14-17 in Miami will provide opportunities for business leaders, professionals and public officials to share best practices in successful introduction of new products and services, new market initiatives, innovative business models and developing competitive advantages in technology and procurement. The event, at the Radisson Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., is expected to draw attendees from through out the hemisphere. Admission is $725 for pre-registration, $850 on site. Details: (305) 577-5445.
BANK PRESIDENT RETIRING: Ocean Bank President & CEO José A. Concepción will retire Dec. 31 at age 72. He has worked at Ocean Bank 25 years and will remain on the board of directors. Current board member A. Alfonso Macedo is to replace Mr. Concepcion as president and CEO in January.
PUBLIX SAYS DEAL NEAR: Publix officials are reviewing lease terms in negotiations with Mary Brickell Village owners and "hope to have a lease signed shortly," said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations. The chain had announced it was opening in the mixed-use center, then backed off before renewing negotiations. If Publix does open there, it wouldn’t affect the chain’s two nearby supermarkets at 311 SW Seventh St. and 134 SW 13th St., Ms. Brous said. "We have no current plans to close existing locations."
SPANISH BUILDER ENTERS AREA: A Spanish construction company is leasing space in Coral Gables Class A office building The Alhambra at 2 Alhambra Plaza. Dragados-USA, a subsidiary of international construction firm ACS Group, agreed this week to lease 4,900 square feet in the 232,000-square-foot building to open the company’s first South Florida office. "Having a company of this stature and international presence enter into our market is an example that companies, and industries are still looking to South Florida as a location for expansion," said Susan Thomas, vice president for CB Richard Ellis, which represented Dragados-USA in the deal.
BEACH CONDO UPDATE: Contracts are being signed for waterfront condos at 115-unit Regatta 2 at 6644 Indian Creek Drive in Miami Beach. Regatta 2 developers G&D Developers and The Weintraub Companies finished condo documents this month and are selling reserved units. Prices range from $270,000 to $1.56 million. The project is due to be finished in March 2010. Details: www.regatta2.com
OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS: The downfall of Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne has politicians there looking into the possibility of appointing rather than electing the top law enforcement officer. At the same time, Miami-Dade County’s Charter Review Task Force is debating whether its county’s now-appointed counterpart should be elected. Perhaps with an eye on the troubles to the north, the 21-member task force has issued a preliminary recommendation to keep the office an appointed position. Currently, Miami-Dade is the only one of the state’s 67 counties to appoint the office. Mr. Jenne resigned this month after accepting a deal to plead guilty to income tax evasion and mail fraud conspiracy.
PLAN PLANS: The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts’ business plan was to have been submitted to the Foundation Board on Wednesday (9/19) and is to be reviewed by the Trust Board on Sept. 25 for final approval from both, said spokesman Suzette Espinosa. The plan, which focuses on generating an operating surplus, stabilizing operations and serving a broader base of patrons, must also be approved by Miami-Dade County commissioners, she said, but a date has not been set.