FYI Miami: June 5, 2014
CUTTING COUNTY COSTS: Miami-Dade commissioners gave final OKs Tuesday for staff to analyze how to cut operating costs and also for the commission auditor’s office to include in its purview analysis of the county budget to pinpoint cost savings. Both resolutions call for all cost-cutting measures to avoid effects to county services. The original resolutions also called for cost-cutting measures that avoid layoffs. But that clause was sliced out after some commissioners said that would make the study’s scope too restrictive. The resolutions approved Tuesday call for staff to analyze alternatives if operating costs of each department were cut by 3%, 5% and 10%. The staff report is due in 60 days. Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa and Commissioner Sally Heyman sponsored the resolutions.
SAFETY AFTER FUNDING: Miami-Dade is to install signs that call for bicyclists’ safety and alert drivers to watch out for cyclists at the entrance of the Rickenbacker Causeway. But the county is to install the signs only once it identifies the spare funding in its own coffers or a private sponsor donates the funds. Commissioners gave final approval Tuesday. The Rickenbacker Causeway, which leads to Key Biscayne, is popular with bicyclists. In 2012, bicyclist Aaron Cohen died from injuries after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on the causeway. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz was the resolution’s prime sponsor. The legislation didn’t specify whether the signs would be installed at the east or the west, or both, entrances to the Rickenbacker Causeway.
REAL ESTATE HIGH: Taylor & Mathis has finalized a 12-year, multi-million dollar renewal lease at the 550 Biltmore building in Coral Gables with UBS, a Swiss banking company, for its 43,500-square-foot property. This lease is the largest in Coral Gables this year. Before renewing, UBS was looking elsewhere in Coral Gables for a potential alternative location. The deal was brokered by Taylor & Mathis director of leasing Ryan Holtzman and UBS broker Tony Jones of Cushman & Wakefield.
RESIDENCES DRIVE CONSTRUCTION: Construction activity in South Florida continues to be driven by residential high-rise building as cranes dot the skylines in the urban core of Miami-Dade. April contracts awarded for future construction work in South Florida rose 21% from the same period a year earlier, according to McGraw Hill Construction, but the overall growth hides a total decline of 11% in nonresidential development and a 46% leap in residential development. For the year’s first four months, a similar pattern applies: an 11% overall increase, with nonresidential construction contracts dropping 14% and residential climbing 28%.