ARTS CENTER IMPACT: Miami city commissioners have balked at waiving $750,000 in impact fees that Miami-Dade County must pay before starting to build the performing arts center. Commissioners instead will seek $750,000 credit from the county. "We could get a long-term contract from them to maintain the grass," or free seating for inner-city children, Arthur Teele Jr. said. "We may provide relief for the impact fee but not a direct waiver." Commissioners asked city officials to get back to them within 90 days on how to get the credit.
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CARNIVAL & ZIFF: The performing arts center's 2,002-seat concert hall will be named Carnival Symphony Hall in honor of the late Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, said Nancy Herstand, arts center foundation executive director. She said Mr. Arison pledged $10 million before he died two years ago. "He made good on that pledge," she said. The center's other major hall will be named the Sanford & Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House to honor the founder of Sunglass Hut International and his wife.
DADE A-PLUS: According to published reports, the international rating agency Fitch affirmed Oct. 25 an 'A+' rating for $1.63 billion in Miami-Dade County aviation revenue bonds and maintains a stable outlook for the county. A representative said Fitch is reviewing each airport it rates to determine the impact of recent events.
COMMITTEE MEMO: Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas distributed a memo to county commissioners last week chiding them for poor attendance at committee meetings and asking for the frequently absent to consider giving up "one or more of your committee positions" and to "please submit your intentions to my office by Nov. 1." He re-instituted the committee system in June after he abolished it Dec. 5, 1997, due to, among other things, a lack of quorums resulting from poor attendance.
RAMPING UP: Cathleen Vogel, Miami-Dade commissioner for the Florida Inland Navigation District, handed City of Miami commissioners a grant reimbursement for $142,000 to improve boat ramps on Watson Island. During last week's commission meeting, Ms. Vogel praised the city's real estate and economic development department's work in redeveloping the man-made island while protecting the shoreline.
CITY FUNDS CONDO DEAL: Miami commissioners gave a developer another $900,000 last week to help convert an almost vacant downtown office building into a residential condominium. Kapustin Corp. and joint partners now have $1.8 million of city funds for Flagler First Condominium, 101 E Flagler St. The project calls for conversion of 90 office units to rentals at a cost of about $15 million. Work is to start early next year. Developer Rafael Kapustin said Miami-Dade County officials had allocated $500,000 for the project and were in the process of granting another $500,000. He said the joint venture plans to put up $3 million in equity, with the balance from construction loans.
BOND OVERSIGHT: Miami commissioners are closer to creation of a citizen oversight board to supervise how the money would be spent if voters approve Nov. 13 issuing $255 million in bonds for public work. In a motion by Arthur Teele Jr., the commission instructed City Manager Carlos Gimenez to draft legislation for a future vote. The board would have nine to 11 members appointed by commissioners and the mayor.
COURTHOUSE LEASE: Florida Mediation Group signed a lease to occupy 7,000 square feet on the 19th floor of Courthouse Tower, 44 W Flagler St. starting today (11/1). Bill Cutler, associate with Abood & Associates, handled the transaction for landlord Courthouse Tower Associate. Other recent leases in the building handled by Abood Vice President Carol Ellis-Cutler were by law firms Guilford & Rash for 3,500 square feet and Gonzalez & Portuondo for 4,626 square feet.
ALSO DOWNTOWN: Mr. Cutler said he also recently handled leases for 3,000 square feet or less at the 155 Building, 155 S Miami Ave. Abood & Associates also represented the landlord in those transactions. New tenants in the downtown building, he said, are Harke & Claspy, Universal Assistance, Litigation Graphix Inc. and Subway.
CONROY DEVELOPMENT: The Coral Gables-based public relations firm Conroy Communications named Jorge Martinez a principal and changed its name to The Conroy Martinez Group. Mr. Martinez had been vice president for the agency.
DESIGN DOCENTS: The Miami Design Preservation League is holding a "Deco Docent" pre-training program from 10-11 a.m. Nov. 13 to orient prospective volunteers. Participants would attend training programs on the second Tuesday of each month. Details: (305) 672-2014.
FINANCIAL TALK: The Miami Society of Financial Analysts will hear a talk on "Client Relationships & Communication in Today's Economy" from noon-1:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the JW Marriott, 1111 Brickell Ave. Anne B. Freedman, president and founder of Speak Out Inc., is scheduled speaker. Cost is $45; $30 for members & $20 for students. Details: Claire, (305) 829-8882.
AWARDS GALA: The Anti-Defamation League will salute Sen. Bill Nelson and Union Planters Bank Chairman & CEO Adolfo Henriques at its annual service awards dinner dance at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Renaissance Miami Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. The awards are for "those whose leadership reflects outstanding community service and devotion to the ideals of democracy." "Both honorees are an inspiration for us all," said Barry E. Johnson, vice president of corporate affairs with AT&T and chairman for the league's 2001 awards program. RSVP. Cost is $400. Details: (305) 373-6306.
COUNTRY SALE: Trammell Crow Co. announced sale of Country Walk Plaza, a 99,329-square-foot retail center at Southwest 152nd Street and 137th Avenue in unincorporated Miami-Dade, for $13.1 million by Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association's College Retirement & Equity Fund to Saglo Development Corp. of Miami Beach.
INSTITUTE POST: Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin was named chairman of the Urban Land Institute's Southeast Florida & Caribbean District Council and will assume the new post next July. He's now assistant chairman in charge of public policy. "This will be my principal civic involvement after I'm mayor," he said. He announced early this year that he would not seek re-election. He said he plans to start an urban development group within the Gunster Yoakley law firm.
CHRISTIE'S ROLE: Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors announced it has been selected as an exclusive affiliate of Christie's Great Estates, a Christie's International subsidiary that bills itself as the largest network of independent real estate firms in the world with about 600 offices and 14,000 agents in 42 countries and a selection of more than 2,000 homes priced at $1 million or more. Esslinger Wooten has "a proven leadership position in the sales and marketing of luxury real estate in South Florida," said Kay Coughlin, president and CEO of Christie's Great Estates.
FIRM GIVER: Abood & Associates is contributing a percentage of receipts from Sept. 11 through the end of the year to the American Red Cross, said Debra Siegel, marketing director. She said the firm - which handles leasing, sales, property management and general construction services - is also asking employees to volunteer at United Way Hands on Miami Day Nov. 3 and National Family Volunteer Day for Easter Seals Nov. 17.
SCIENCE GRANTS: The Miami Museum of Science got $3,700 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and $1,775 from the Institute of Museum & Library Services. The National Endowment grant, said museum publicists, will be used to organize, catalog and store a collection of hand-colored glass lantern slides from the 1920s-40s that belonged to Roy Miner, former curator of the American Museum of Natural History. The other grant will be used to identify and develop ways of improving general collection care and management, publicists said.
LEGAL MOVE: George Knox recently left Adorno & Zeder to start his own law firm, which he said will specialize in assembling and managing teams of professionals to work on economic development issues. He said the firm would use outside partnerships to help attract major employers to areas such as the empowerment zone. Mr. Knox earlier in his career served as a city attorney and department director for the City of Miami for six years and remains of counsel to Adorno & Zeder.
SHIP SHAPE: The Miami Host Committee is holding an arrival ceremony for the USS Bulkeley DDG-84, the navy's newest destroyer, at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 9 in Smith & Wollensky's, 1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The ship is due to be commissioned in New York on Dec. 8. RSVP. Cost is $50. Details: Carlos Saladrigas or Doris Huston, (305) 630-1152.
RIBBON CUTTING: Miami-Dade Parks is holding a ribbon-cutting for a 5-acre Bark Park at 10 a.m. and Skate Park for inline skaters and skateboarders at 11 a.m. Nov. 10 in Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E 65th St., Hialeah. The first 100 youngsters get free fingerboards and stickers. Refreshments, dog obedience presentations and skateboarding demos are among activities planned. Details: (305) 769-2693.
RECALL RULES: The employment law group at the law firm Gunster Yoakley is presenting a seminar, "Total Recall: Considerations for Reducing & Recalling Employees in the Current Economic Slowdown," from 7:30-9 a.m. Nov. 13 in Suite 3400, One Biscayne Tower. Topics include layoffs, severance agreements, military service and missteps that can occur when rehiring. The session will be offered in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 13 and West Palm Beach Nov. 14. Cost is $25. RSVP by Friday (11/9). Details: (561) 650-0740.