Written by Miami Today on December 6, 2007
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MAKING A SPLASH: Proponents of bringing the recently decommissioned USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier to Miami to serve as a maritime museum in the FEC Slip at the proposed Museum Park downtown are suggesting also an historic theater. They hope to partner with Geographic Television and Film, Destination Cinema Inc. to create a "Baywalk Maritime Theater" on the adjacent Parcel B, named now as a potential site for a Bay of Pigs Museum. Details: www.savethejfk.com
ARTS CENTER OVERHAUL: The Miami-Dade County administration plans to change the agreement under which the Performing Arts Center Trust Inc. governs the county’s year-old Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, says County Manager George Burgess. In a memo to the commission’s Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee, Mr. Burgess says his staff is working with new arts center CEO Larry Wilker to overhaul the 1993 accord between the county and the trust. Meanwhile, at its meeting Monday, the committee is being asked to ratify the sixth amendment to the original operating management agreement so that the county manager and the county commission auditor gain oversight of center operations. The center has already agreed to that in exchange for a $4.1 million bailout the commission approved in June for the center. Mr. Burgess says his office and the separate commission auditor’s staff are already meeting with Carnival Center financial staff.
EFFECTS OF THE BUST: For two months, no Major Use Special Permits have been filed for at the City of Miami, according to planning and hearing board staffers. "Obviously there’s a slowdown in the market," said Luciana Gonzalez, planning spokesperson. "We don’t have as much going on here," though the city is still seeing applications for smaller projects, she said.
FORESHADOWING: In encouraging Coconut Grove Business Improvement Committee members to either approve plans for a formal, self-taxing business improvement district or face losing city funding, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff likened the situation to the proposed Port of Miami Tunnel, which he said is "two outs in the ninth inning." City commissioners are to be asked Dec. 13 to contribute $50 million to the tunnel. If they don’t, the hundreds of millions earmarked by the state would be lost. "When we don’t [pass] that tunnel vote Dec. 13, and I suspect we will not, that money will go to an expressway in Tampa," he said, advising committee members to look at the improvement district the same way: "either we do it, or we don’t."
MILLION DOLLAR BABY?: Realtors can deal with a different kind of title next year when a seven-bout Broker Boxing Federation Miami card leading to a title clash is held April 10 in Mansion Miami, 1235 Washington Ave. Brokers itching to flash their fists can sign up now —— so can sponsors in the mood to fund a fight, says organizer David Goldberg, managing director of Newmark Knight Frank. Mr. Goldberg says he already has in tow Grant Killingsworth from Jones Lang Lasalle as well as champion hopefuls from CB Richard Ellis and Staubach. "I’ve done this for the past five years in Chicago, and to date it’s raised over $1 million for various charities," Mr. Goldberg says. "For the first-ever Miami event I’m partnering with Alonzo Mourning charities." Ladies aren’t being invited into the ring. Instead they can try for one of 12 positions such as presenter and compete for a $500 "Hottest Ring Girl" prize. Male hopefuls better start getting ready. "I and others from the real estate community," Mr. Goldberg says, "have already begun training." Details: www.bbfmiami.com.
AIDS RESEARCH: Florida International University has received a $6.5 million grant to continue research on HIV and AIDS and drug abuse among Latinos. The grant, awarded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, will also fund research seeking ways to improve HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention among young South Florida Latinos. FIU’s Center for Research on U.S. Latinos HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse will use the five-year grant to expand programs that focus on prevention, treatment and studies of HIV, AIDS and substance abuse among Latinos.
HAARD WORK: Jerry Haar of Florida International University’s Management and International Business Department has been appointed associate dean of International Affairs and Projects, College of Business Administration. He begins the role Jan. 1. Mr. Haar is to facilitate activities in the international arena, spearheading a five-year strategic plan for international offsite program development and externally-funded international research. He’s to serve as the "international face" of the college to its advisory boards as well as professional organizations locally and beyond. He has been Florida International’s associate director of the Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management as well as faculty director of the International Business Honors Program.
LURING LLOYDS: Continuing his quest to lure part of Lloyds of London to Miami, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff visited London and returned "overall, impressed. Not discouraged." Company markets currently insure about $1.5 billion in Florida, about $401 million in reinsurance, he said. "I believe there is interest in the company markets in being physically in Miami." Through visiting London, "what I wanted to do was maintain their attention, and I did," Mr. Sarnoff said. "There are further communications coming."
DONE DEAL: The University of Miami last week completed purchase of Cedars Medical Center. The 560-bed acute care facility is to be known as the University of Miami Hospital. Some fear the new, private facility will siphon insured patients from nearby Jackson Memorial Hospital, but Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the Miller School of Medicine, insists the university "is not taking our patients away from Jackson — we are actually building programs with them," including acute cardiac and stroke care, pediatrics, obstetrics, organ transplant and trauma, neurological and orthopedic surgery.
BEACON IN THE BIG EASY: Last week New Orleans’ City Council approved the proposed Horizon Initiative, a new public-private economic development partnership modeled after Miami-Dade County’s own Beacon Council. City officials agreed to "provide ongoing funding of $2 million annually for the entity, to be called the New Orleans Economic Development Partnership," wrote co-founder George Wentz Jr. in an e-mail. An official "specifically referenced the Beacon Council as a model," he wrote.
BOND EXPEDITING SOUGHT: Robin Reiter-Faragalli told the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday that her committee needs an expediting ordinance to keep the capital improvement projects in the county’s 2004 General Obligation Bond program on track, and a legislative process to handle the spending of interest earnings from bond funds. Ms. Reiter-Faragalli, who chairs the Building Better Communities bond program Citizens Advisory Committee, said in her annual address to the commission that the projects under way are doing well. "Eighty-seven percent of the projects are on time," she said. "The linchpin for future success depends on what you decide to do with the interest earnings." She said in a previous interview that an expediting ordinance, which would free the committee from having to receive commission approval on project starts, would help get tardy projects back on track.
LEADERSHIP LOOP-DE-LOOP: AvMed President and CEO Doug Cueny plans to retire at month’s end after 35 years in healthcare management. Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of parent company SantaFe HealthCare, is to assume his duties. Ed Hannum, AvMed’s senior vice president of marketing, has been appointed acting chief operating officer.