Written by Miami Today on November 26, 2009
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POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES: Miami-Dade is to explore opening a credit union or bank so the county can serve as its own depository after commissioners gave final approval to the Bruno Barreiro initiative last week. Because it’s simply a study, "I’ll support this for now," Commissioner Carlos Gimenez said. "But I have serious concerns." The commission auditor in a report says a county bank would mean keeping the fees and commissions that banks now subtract from interest earnings. But government regulatory requirements could raise "new cost, service and policy implications such as organizing expenses; earning prospects; the experience and competence of management; lending practices; and cash reserve requirements which may constitute a percentage of the deposits."
GOT GAME?: With more gaming venues opening up in Southeast Florida and the recession hurting cash-strapped players, bond rating agency Fitch rated the Seminole Tribe of Florida bonds BBB-, a rating considered a medium safe investment. The rating agency projects the gaming group is to face operational hurdles in 2010. Despite Seminole Tribe properties sitting in tourist destination markets, they are dependent on local consumers, who have been impacted by the state’s weaker economy. Florida’s economy has been severely hit with the collapse of the housing markets and weaker tourism activity, Fitch states. Pressure from new competitors is to also increase next year as pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade add Class III slots. For example, in October, Magic City Casino at the Flagler Dog Track in Miami opened its doors with 700 slots, Fitch notes. And in the first quarter of next year, Calder Race Course is to open a 1,600-slot casino less than 10 miles from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
BETTING ON BRICKELL: BankUnited last week opened a seven-person private banking office at 1428 Brickell Ave. The division also has offices in Doral, downtown Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton serving business owners and entrepreneurs, corporate executives and their companies, and high-net-worth families and individuals. Executive Vice President and private banking head Scott Skorobohaty, who joined BankUnited in September from Capital One, will be based in the Brickell Avenue offices, according to bank Spokesperson Melissa Gracey.
MORE MARRIOTT: A 196-room Courtyard by Marriott in Miami opened last week. Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove, 2649 S Bayshore Drive, is owned by Robert Finvarb Cos. and managed by Marriott International. The 20-story hotel offers 6,872 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 400 people. Details: (305) 858-2500.