MARINE DEVELOPMENT: Miami's Waterfront Advisory Board voted Tuesday to open Virginia Key to development near the Marine Stadium - a move both "imminent and real," said Dena Bianchino, assistant city manager. The new designation would permit "marine facilities" in and near the waterfront stadium and lagoon shoreline as well as a separate area along the Key's southern shore. If approved by city planners and commissioners, that could be marinas, restaurants, water-theme parks and "accessory hotel accommodations" in the years to come.
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NINE MONTHS OUT: Approval of the advisory board's measure would take at least nine months, said Ana Gelabert-Sanchez, director of the city's planning and zoning board. She said a marine facilities designation is intended to facilitate development that allows public access to the waterfront. She said the approval process would start in September.
KEY SHUDDERS: At least three Waterfront Advisory Board members balked at hotels going up on Virginia Key. "I shudder when I hear hotel facilities are included in the plan," said board member Gonzalo Diaz. City staff said they could restrict development plans to those that reflect the island's natural ambience. "There is an opposition - and it's called the Key Biscayne NIMBY project," board member John A. Brennan said, meaning not-in-my-backyard. City planners said the designation could ultimately alleviate a shortage of docking and storage space in Miami.
BUDGET TALK: City of Miami commissioners today (8/22) are expected to hold a budget workshop to discuss issues concerning bus benches, a New Year's Eve mega-concert, the Island Garden Project and an air transportation facility on Watson Island. The meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. in the James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave. Details: (305) 250-5360.
ARGENTINE FLIGHTS: Argentina's Southern Winds, a privately held air carrier, is offering flights from Buenos Aires to Miami International Airport four times weekly with a B767-300. The schedule calls for 6 a.m. arrivals and 9 p.m. departures in and from Miami on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. "This new service is one more step to further stimulate trade between the two points," said Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver. "This is consistent with our objective to provide more choices for Miami's travelers," said Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Angela Gittens.
ARGENTINE VISITS: Argentine tourism minister Daniel Scioli last week held a press conference at the Argentina Consulate here to tell the international media that it is safe to visit his country. Despite recent street disturbances, he said, tourist hubs like the Iguaz˙ Falls, Bariloche and Ushuaia in the Patagonia are well protected. Mr. Scioli said another advantage of visiting the South American nation is a weak currency compared to the dollar, making things very inexpensive.
STATE SALE: The State of Florida sold for $1.2 million a residential oceanfront parcel between 77th and 79th streets in Miami Beach. The buyer from South America wants to remain anonymous, said Peter Ehrlich Jr. with Harold Vizethann Real Estate and buyer representative. The state bought the lot in 1983 to expand a nearby park, but the plan failed and the land become surplus. Some of the unsuccessful bidders for the lot include Carlos Justo, one of the owners of Wimbish Real Estate; Homero Merullo, developer Marty Taplin and architect Robert Swedroe, Mr. Ehrlich said.
ARTS DRAFT: The recently created Miami Arts & Entertainment Council is holding its first meeting from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 9 in the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Council members Robert G. Beatty, Pablo Cejas, Lee Cohen, Felice Dubin, Seth Gordon, Merline Joseph, George Lindemann, Luis Palomo, Claudia Puig, Alfredo Richard and Dale Webb are inviting the public to give ideas on what the group should do. "We have a draft of about 11 items of things we want to do," Mr. Gordon said, "but at this public hearing we want the public to tell us what they want." After hearing a brief review of the council's preliminary plans, various arts and entertainment groups can speak about their events. Refreshments will be served. Details: (305) 381-8831.
ETHICS CONFERENCE: The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics & Public Trust and Florida Atlantic University are sponsoring a one-day conference, "Accountability in Public Procurement," from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the North Miami Beach Performing Arts Theater, 17011 NE 19th Ave., North Miami Beach. Ted Lucas, director of procurement management for the county, is scheduled to speak. Cost is $75 and includes breakfast, lunch, and refreshments. Details: (305)-579-2594.
CHAMBER FORUM: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an educational forum about the proposed charter amendments on the Sept. 10 special election ballot in Miami-Dade at 8 a.m. Aug. 29 on the ballroom level, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. Topics include the Human Rights Ordinance, the Children's Trust and several other amendments to Miami-Dade County's Home Rule Charter. Space is limited. Reservations required. Details: Yulonda Darden Beauford, (305) 577-5424.
WITH STRINGS ATTACHED: The Guitar Foundation of America is holding an international convention and competition Oct. 15-20 on the Wolfson campus of Miami-Dade Community College in downtown Miami. The six-day program, "Sun Waves Guitar Fest 2002," is to include lectures, concerts, master classes, an international competition, a vendor fair, an art exhibit and social events. Cost is $275; $240 before Sept. 21. Details: (305) 412-2494.
DISASTER TALK: The CPA firm Rachlin Cohen & Holtz is holding a presentation, "How prepared is your business for disaster?" from noon-2 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Kovens Conference Center, FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151st St. Topics include protection, risk assessment and available resources. Rachlin Cohen's Robert D. Moody, CIO, and Mark R. Thaw, director, are scheduled speakers. RSVP by Sept. 6. Details: (305) 377-4228.
FLOOD RELIEF: The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Miami is collecting flood relief funds. The German Flood Relief Fund will use the personnel and resources used recently for the German American Solidarity Fund established to aid victims of 9/11. Details: (305) 358-0290, ext. 585, or germaninfo.org.
COMPETITIVE TALK: Chamber South is sponsoring a talk on "The 7% Solution: How to maintain the competitive edge," at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 28 in the Miami Dadeland Marriott, 2nd floor, 9090 S Dadeland Blvd. Eric Goldstein, a Ph.D., is scheduled speaker. Cost is $14; $12 in advance. Details: (305) 661-1621.
RAMP PLANS: The Florida Department of Transportation announced it is rescheduling the closure of the northbound exit ramp off Interstate 95 at the Commercial Boulevard Interchange in Fort Lauderdale originally planned for Aug. 18-22. A new date has not been set. Construction at the site is part of a $4.4 million resurfacing project scheduled for completion next spring.
ACCREDITATION: The Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute in the Baptist Hospital complex at 8900 N Kendall Drive announced it has been accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories. The status means that the hospital's program was rigorously reviewed and approved by a national board, publicists said. The institute is part of the Baptist Health South Florida network.
FORUM FUNDS: The Florida Venture Forum announced this week that six firms making presentations at the organization's conference this year have raised $13.9 million. The announcement came as the Venture Forum seeks applications, which are available online, for its 2003 conference, to be held outside Miami for the first time. The conference will be Jan. 15-16 in Orlando. The deadline to apply is Sept. 13. Details: flvencap.org/apply.
LAMINATED LEASE: Scott Sime, first vice president with CB Richard Ellis, said Florida Laminated & Tempered Glass Co. has signed a lease to occupy more than 75,400 square feet at 220 NE 187th St. Terms and value were not announced. The Miami warehouse is owned by Paper Properties Corp. Details: (305) 779-3122.
BRICKELL BRANCH: Union Bank opened its 16th branch in South Florida at 848 Brickell Ave., the first branch the bank has opened in Miami-Dade County in two years. The community bank, which reports assets of more than $610 million, is among the area's largest for loans backed by the US Small Business Administration. "We look forward," said Lynne Wines, president & CEO, "to meeting the professional and personal banking needs of the surrounding business community." Details: (786) 425-1719.