ON THE MOVE: Swerdlow Real Estate Group is moving its Florida headquarters to Coconut Grove from Hollywood. The firm signed a 10-year lease with Continental Real Estate Co. for 6,300 square feet at Mayfair in the Grove, formerly Streets of Mayfair. The company, which developed Dolphin Mall and Las Olas Riverfront in Fort Lauderdale, will be a neighbor of advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which recently took 42,000 square feet at the refurbished office and entertainment complex. Swerdlow's new headquarters should be ready in about 90 days, the company said.
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INCREASING VACANCIES: Belt-tightening and bankruptcies by national retailers will increase the vacancy rate for the Miami area's retail space to 8.4% by year's end, realty investment brokerage Marcus & Millichap forecasts in a national report. Last year, it was 8.2%. The firm forecasts that average retail rent will reach $19.18 per square foot by the fourth quarter, up 1.5% from last year. "Steady rent growth and slowing completions (of new buildings) helped Miami climb four spots in the national retail index" to 15th place from 19th among 38 major markets, the company reports. Washington ranked first both years. West Palm Beach fell to eighth from fourth.
BANYAN BUY: SoBay Partners has closed on the purchase of the 405-unit Banyan Bay Apartments, 680 NE 64th St., and plans extensive rehabilitation. The buyer has developmental rights for 400 more units. SoBay is a joint venture of Midtown Equities of New York and Samuel and Co. of Miami, the same team developing the 55-acre former Buena Vista Yards of the Florida East Coast Railway.
HOTEL SOLD: Prime Hospitality Corp. of Fairfield, NJ, has sold Miami-Kendall Wellesley Inn hotel to Navnet Patel, who will manage the hotel as a Wellesley Inn under a 20-year franchise agreement. The 103-room inn at 11750 Mills Drive opened in 1987. Prime owns, manages, develops and franchises more than 240 hotels in North America. The corporation is seeking to sell its hotels but keep them as franchises.
INN-VESTMENT: MainStay Suites hotel at 101-201 Fairway Drive in Miami Springs is under a binding sale contract that will switch the 102-room inn to the Homestead Studio Suites flag. The sale by Sunburst Hospitality Corp. to Atlanta-based Homestead Studio Suites Hotels is expected to close in mid-June. It's part of a package sale of 17 extended-stay hotels for $92 million. Other Florida properties in the deal are in Lake Mary and Jacksonville.
WORKFORCE WORK: Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Miami contractor Armando Rodriguez-Roig to the board of directors of Workforce Florida, the state's chief workforce policy body. He is one of seven people the governor selected to replace outgoing members. Mr. Rodriguez-Roig will serve a one-year term beginning in July.
SUITABLE DEAL: Miami-based Perry Ellis International Inc. has signed an agreement with European Design Group Inc. to launch a women's suit line under the Perry Ellis and Perry Ellis Portfolio brands. "This agreement follows our plan to make women's clothing a major component of the Perry Ellis brand," said Oscar Feldenkreis, president of Perry Ellis. The line is to be launched in spring 2004 at major department and specialty stores.
GRADE 'A': Fitch Ratings gave "A" ratings to the Miami-Dade County Housing Finance Authority's $14.4 million multifamily housing revenue bonds, series 2002-4A, and $1.35 million taxable multifamily housing revenue bonds, series 2002-4B. The bonds are scheduled for sale next week and are expected to be insured by Financial Security Assurance Inc. The "A" rating reflects the fund's low risk-to-capital ratio, adequate existing reserves and high asset quality and liquidity of reserve investments.
TAPPING THE TILL: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a seminar on tapping government grants, research and development funds and technology transfer on June 20. Called "Roadmap to Revenue," the all-day program begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at Radisson Biscayne Bay Hotel, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. Details on the $100 seminar: Betsey Greene, (305) 577-5442.
HISPANIC CHAMBER: Lisa Guerrero of Fox Sports Network's "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" will speak Friday at the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's installation luncheon. Program includes a panel on the role of professional Hispanic women. Panelists include Ms. Guerrero; Ida Castro, former chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Irela Bague, South Florida Water Management District board; and Ilene Rubio, a marketing manager for the Small Business Administration. The lunch will be at Wyndham Beach Resort, 4833 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Details: (305) 534-1903.
CHUGGING AHEAD: Opa-locka Train Station, one of 105 structures built in that community from 1925 to 1927 in Moorish revival architectural style, is to reopen June 13 as a multimodal transfer facility for public transportation with an area for community meetings. The station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was completed in 1927, when morning and evening trains to downtown Miami made it the county's first commuter suburb. The Opa-locka Community Development Corp. completed the restoration, aided by $1.1 million in grants from multiple agencies. Reopening ceremonies for the station, at 490 Ali-baba Ave., begin at 4 p.m.
HOMESTEAD INCUBATOR: The first phase of a business incubator at 301 Civic Court in Homestead to be run by the Florida Technology Research & Development Authority should be completed by summer's end, said Jackie Dreher. Ms. Dreher, who will manage operations there, said the incubator will be housed in a 30,000-square-foot site acquired by the state authority that is now undergoing renovations to meet its new role. The first phase, about 4,000 square feet, will house about 10 startup companies, she said. A grand opening is planned for the business incubator in mid-September. Details: 305-238-5096.
GLOBAL BANKING: How global changes are affecting international banking in Miami will be the focus of a June 19 breakfast session of the International Roundtable. Panelists are Bowman Brown, head of financial services practice at law firm Shutts & Bowen; José Valdés-Fauli, president and CEO, Colonial Bank, South Florida Region; Thomas P. Noonan, president and CEO of BAC Florida Bank and first vice president of the Florida International Bankers Association; and Peter R. Wallin, head of organization of Standard Bank Group. Colonial Bank and Miami Today will present the roundtable at Colonial Bank, 1200 Brickell Ave., 10th floor. Details and reservations: Techy Fernandez, (305) 358-2663.
CITY TALK: Architect and town planner Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk will be featured speaker at The Urban Environment League of Greater Miami's annual meeting June 9 at Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach. Ms. Plater-Zyberk - a writer of Miami-Dade County's neighborhood development ordinance - will talk about the creation of livable communities. The Urban Environment League is a non-profit organization that helps neighborhoods protect parks and natural and historic resources. Details: (305) 576-2553.
PALMETTO PLUMS: Northstar Marketing Group took 5,376 square feet and EBT Community Outreach & Development leased 5,328 square feet at Palmetto Industrial Park, 4784 NE 167th St., announced Brett W. Harris, FlexxSpace Management president. Details: (887) 368-7722.
'A' IS FOR ADMISSION: Metrozoo is recognizing scholarship by giving $1 off the admission price for every "A" students can show on their spring report cards starting June 11. "By bringing their kids to the zoo this summer and using their report cards as a celebration, parents are sending their kids the message that good grades matter, even if it is only one 'A,' said Eric Stephens, zoo director. The students will also get free bumper stickers saying "My child is a grade 'A' kid at Miami Metrozoo." The zoo better be well-stocked with stickers: 60,000 youngsters visit each year.