FYI Miami: February 18, 2016
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
UP MIAMI: The Miami metropolitan area was second in the nation for dollar value of commercial and multifamily construction starts last year at $6.3 billion, according to Dodge Data and Analytics. Even so, Dodge reported, the dollar value of starts was down 8% in the Miami area in 2015. New York City led the nation with $34.9 billion in construction starts, up 66% from 2014. Rounding out the top five were Dallas-Fort Worth at $6 billion, up 35%; Chicago at $5.9 billion, up 14%; and Washington, DC, at $5.9 billion, down 4%.
GOING UNDER(GROUND): Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez hasn’t given up on the idea of putting some downtown traffic underground. On Feb. 11, the city commission approved a resolution authored by Mr. Suarez urging the Florida Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of a “cut and cover” option as part of the upcoming I-395 improvement project, which includes a signature bridge. The way the legislation is written, it suggests a “cut and cover” option be added to the existing project. It reads, “…implementing a ‘Cut and Cover’ design in the Biscayne Boulevard area, within the existing Project scope, could potentially allow for the recapturing of valuable acreage, allowing for a more efficient overall Project design.” A state evaluation found traffic tunnels in that area unfeasible for many reasons, including potential flooding and expected environmental clean-up from an old fuel storage site.
PUTTING UP THE CASH: Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell chaired his first meeting of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District board last week and members approved allocating up to $400,000 to the city for the purchase of two trolleys for the Grove. The deal is contingent on the city absorbing all maintenance and operational costs, and an improvement-district-approved route. In addition, he said he has a commitment from neighboring city Coral Gables to connect its trolleys with Miami trolleys in the West Grove.
GAS DROP FLEETING?: Average retail gasoline prices in Miami stood at $1.86 per gallon to start the week, down 51.5 cents from the same date a year earlier but above the national average price of $1.69. Nearby, Sarasota prices averaged $1.70, Naples $1.81 and Cape Coral $1.70. “These incredibly low prices won’t be here forever, as refineries talk of production cuts with crude oil at a 13-year low,” said Jeff Pelton, a senior analyst for price-tracking service GasBuddy.