OPTIMISTIC BANKERS: Bankers expect to spend more marketing their financial institutions this year, says a survey released Tuesday in Miami at the American Bankers Association 2001 Bank Marketing Conference. Alisha Johnson, chair of the association's marketing network council, said banks slashed marketing budgets in the wake of 9/11 but now appear set to spend 4.5% more on marketing in 2002 - a hefty $4.002 billion. That compares to $3.037 billion spent marketing member banks back in 1999 and $3.924 billion spent in 2000. The survey also showed advertising remains the most widely used promotional tool in the industry, with public relations No. 2 and sales promotions No. 3. Also in the survey, bankers identified competition, budget cuts, portfolio growth and profitability as their biggest challenges.
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DOWNTOWN REPORT: City of Miami commissioners are scheduled to hear at 11 a.m. today (9/26) a presentation by David Plummer & Associates on a Downtown Miami Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan. The plan is to find solutions to alleviate future traffic problems in the area.
RISK ASSESSMENT: Commissioners are also due to discuss recommendations to select a company to assess the city's risk management, one of the city's most troubled departments and one that has not had a director for almost six months. The recommended group is Marsh USA Inc., with KPMG rated second.
MODEL CITY BUDGET: Approving a $14.9 million budget for the newly created Model City Community Revitalization District Trust is on the city commission agenda today (9/26). The trust is charged with overseeing redevelopment of the long neglected area. The budget includes $126,500 in salary for a president & CEO. Gwendolyn Warren, former director of the city's Community Development Department, is now interim president & CEO for the trust.
BEACH PROJECT: Charles E. Smith Residential Realty retained Kaufman Lynn as general contractor for its $6.4 million project on 11th Street and West Avenue in Miami Beach. Plans call for a six-story parking garage and residential townhouse units on the site. Work is to start Jan. 2 with an October 2003 completion date.
NORTHERN TO THE NORTH: Northern Trust Bank of Florida held groundbreaking ceremonies this week for a new home to the north. The bank plans to relocate its Aventura branch from Aventura Boulevard to the southeast corner of Northeast 190th street and 29th Avenue where it will use 15,000 square feet in a 23,000-square-foot building to be built by Gampel Organization. "Northern Trust," said Ray Leightman, managing executive of Northern Trust's Aventura office, "feels very strongly about the future of Aventura and has invested heavily in the market." The Aventura office is one of five Northern Trust operates in Miami-Dade County.
BEACH BANK POSTS: Beach Bank, 555 Arthur Godfrey Road, Miami Beach, named Hans Mueller president and Anthony "Tony" Noboa senior vice president. Mr. Mueller has served on the board of directors of the Florida Banking Association and is past president of its Miami-Dade chapter. He has held executive banking positions with numerous area financial institutions, including Southeast and Pan American banks. He most recently was involved in developing Coastal Community Group, a banking institution. Mr. Noboa, who has more than 30 years banking experience, primarily in and around Miami Beach, joins Beach Bank after serving as senior vice president for SunTrust. With Beach Bank, he will oversee business development efforts.
REAL PROFITABILITY: The Florida Association of Realtors is holding its third annual Florida broker-manager profitability conference Oct. 11 in the Renaissance Hotel near the airport in Orlando. Mike Pappas, president of Miami-based Keyes Co., is among featured speakers. Topics for the statewide networker include the latest industry trends in technology, business models and management. Cost is $150. Details: (800) 669-4327.
PERFORMING GIFT: AXA Advisors Inc. donated $500,000 to the Performing Arts Center Trust toward the more than $370 million performing arts center project in Miami's Omni neighborhood. The gift originated in a pledge made 10 years ago when Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, a former AXA Financial subsidiary, owned the now-vacant Omni Mall, said AXA's Hugo Castro, executive vice president. He and Felix Martinez, AXA marketing director, formally presented the gift. "The Miami-Fort Lauderdale branch" of AXA, Mr. Castro said, "has a history of community involvement."
RITZ OPENING: The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove quietly opened its doors to guests Sept. 20, booking about 60 rooms by noon, said company spokeswoman Michelle Payer. Ritz-Carlton does not disclose occupancy figures, she said, but as of Tuesday, the 115-room hotel was more than half full. "The bar was also packed on Friday. It's really the first quiet place to enjoy in the Grove," she said, referring to the hotel's upscale Amadeus Bar. An official grand opening with General Manager Marco A. Selva as host is planned on Oct. 9.
TRAINING GRANT: Miami-Dade Community College announced a $13.2 million grant from the US Office of Refugee Resettlement will fund its Refugee Entrant Education Services Training program for the next two years. M-DCC publicists said the money would provide employment and English-language training to nearly 6,000 recently arrived refugees. The grant, issued through the Florida Department of Children & Families Division of Refugee Services, pays for tuition and books and, in some instances, public transportation and child care. Participating students attend classes for 15 hours a week for about eight weeks at the Wolfson campus or outreach centers in Hialeah and Westchester.
CHAMBER HQ: The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is holding ribbon-cutting ceremonies from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 10 for its new HQ building and Miami Beach Visitor Center, 1920 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach. Besides the chamber's office and visitor center, the recently completed building, designed by the architectural firm Giller & Giller Inc., houses tenants Gumenick Properties and Florida State Rep. Dan Gelber. "Our new home will better serve our business and residential communities in the 21st century," said Michael Milberg, chamber chairman. Details: Manuel Pila, (305) 674-1300, ext. 318.
WATER MANAGEMENT: Henry Dean, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, and Col. James G. May, Jacksonville district commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers, are scheduled to give the keynote address, "South Florida Ecosystem Restoration: Challenges & Opportunities," when the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce trustees meet from noon-1:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Renaissance Miami Biscayne Bay Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. Walter L. Revell, chairman & CEO of H.J. Ross Associates and chair of the chamber's environmental group, will introduce the speakers. Cost is $55; $45 by Friday. Details: (305) 577-5469.
DOWNTOWN SPONSOR: Grand Prix Americas, downtown Miami's auto street race Oct. 4-6, secured Cadillac Motors, a division of General Motors, as official title sponsor for the American Le Mans Series race on Oct. 5. The three-day event will also feature a CART Fed Ex Championship Series on Sunday afternoon and the Trans-Am for the BF Goodrich Tires Cup immediately following. Race cars will use a portion of Biscayne Boulevard and reach speeds of more than 180 mph on the 1.57-mile circuit. Race Executive Director Chuck Martinez said Tuesday about 10,000 tickets were sold so far. He also said CART is negotiating with Raceworks, the event promoter, to buy 60% of the three-day event's ownership. "In principle," he said, "CART already owns 60% of Raceworks." Details: 305-662-6960.
VIRGINIA KEY: The Virginia Key Beach Park Trust will celebrate the placement of historic Virginia Key Beach Park on the National Register of Historic Places at 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at 3861 Rickenbacker Cswy. The US Corps of Engineers will make a presentation on a proposed shoreline restoration project for the park, which was opened as a segregated beach in 1945 and closed in 1982. Since 1999, a group of citizens has worked to preserve and restore the park. Details: (305) 571-8230.
ENTERPRISING COMMENTS: Enterprise Florida President & CEO Darrell Kelley said "Florida wouldn't even be on the map if it weren't for South Florida and international Miami" while on a road tour of the state this week. He met with local legislators, investors and economic development partners in South Florida to share ideas and promote a new development program to boost trade, foreign direct investment and emerging industries. South Florida's rapid growth in population and English as a second language, Mr. Kelley said, pose significant obstacles to balanced economic growth, but South Florida's converging telecommunications and health care industries would attract skilled labor and generate creative solutions. On the perception that Miami-Dade is an ill-run banana republic, he said: "That's a problem associated with growth. But give me growth any day over the problems I experienced in the Rust Belt and other areas where you simply have a declining economy."
IMPACT NOMINATIONS: The Women's History Coalition of Miami-Dade is accepting nominations for 2003 Women of Impact awards. The annual award honors South Florida women who have made contributions to the empowerment of women in the political, educational or socio-economic arenas and have served as role models for women, said publicist Debra Moroff. Six women are selected to get the award at ceremonies scheduled in March. Details: (305) 270-6103.