CITIBANK SELLS SITE: Citibank has sold 1.91 acres at 1770 Biscayne Blvd. to Morrocco Enterprises Inc. for $4.225 million, says commercial broker Grubb & Ellis. The property, just north of the Omni Mall, now is site of a Citibank branch with a drive-through teller. Citibank has taken a short-term lease with the buyer, which is a family-owned, privately held company, said broker Rosendo Caveiro of Grubb & Ellis, which represented Citibank. He said Robert Lloveras of New Urban Realty represented the buyer.
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
RESTORATION BEGINS: Bayfront Park Management Trust has begun work to restore the Christopher Columbus statue in front of the park's management offices. The project, to repair cracks and holes as well as clean and reduce corrosion on the 9-foot-6 bronze statue, could cost as much as $50,000, officials said, but probably less. The park's restoration of The Torch of Friendship, completed in June, cost around $20,000 while a project to restore and update Bayfront Park Rock Garden has cost $30,000 thus far. About $250,000 is budgeted for the garden and will come from park revenues, supported by $1.85 million annually by the City of Miami. Not all of the funds will be used this year, officials said.
BUILDING PURCHASE: An eight-story office building at 2730 SW Third Ave. in Coral Gables has been sold for $3.5 million. The building was purchased by The Roads Professional Center LLC from Blissco Properties Inc. It was constructed in 1987 and sits on a 51,130-square-foot parcel and has 30,145 square feet of office space. Steve Nostrand of Codina Realty Services Inc. brokered the deal. The Roads owns other office buildings in Miami-Dade County.
HISTORIC DESIGNATIONS: The City of Miami's Historic and Environmental Preservation Board will meet July 15 to discuss historic designations for four buildings representing the city's architectural eras. The city can prevent demolition of properties that are designated historic. Under consideration are Wolpert Apartments, 2500 Biscayne Blvd.; the Shrine Building, 1401 Biscayne Blvd.; Magic City Park, 6001 NE Second Ave., and Santa Maria, 1643 Brickell Ave.
TV SHOWCASE: TV France International, a trade association that promotes French TV shows, will showcase some programs 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. through Friday at National Hotel, 1667 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The event is geared toward US and Latin American TV executives. Details: (305) 372-8646.
AIRLINE MERGER: A merger of Brazil's two biggest airlines, Varig and TAM, each with one daily flight to Miami International Airport, is pending. The new publicly traded airline, not yet named, would become the largest in Latin America with a fleet of more than 200 planes and would control almost 70% of the Brazilian air market. Both companies are having financial trouble and experts say they would significantly cut costs if the merger gets off the ground. The venture would have repercussions for the two main builders of passenger jets, Boeing and Airbus, which supply Varig and TAM, respectively.
AUDIT HELP: The trust that oversees spending of Miami-Dade County's the half-cent sales tax for transportation has asked the county manager for an independent auditor to help it oversee administrative costs and spending issues. Since the Citizens Transportation Trust can only approve and oversee the spending of the tax revenue and not make payments, it must go through the county manager's office, said Executive Director of the Office of Public Transportation Management Danny Alvarez. The auditor will be an outside firm, but one the county has used in the past, he said.
NEW LAW OFFICE: Littler Mendelson, a San Francisco law firm specializing in employment and labor law, has opened a Miami branch with nine attorneys in One Biscayne Tower, 2 S Biscayne Blvd. The firm has 28 offices in 15 states.
WHITE & CASE EXPANDS: International law firm White & Case will expand its lease at Wachovia Financial Center, 200 S Biscayne Blvd., from 56,000 square feet to 85,000. The firm has 60 lawyers in Miami and has been in the area since 1987.
LAW FIRM LEASE: Law firm Butler Pappas LLP signed a lease agreement for 11,053 square feet on the penthouse floor of Brickell Bayview Center, 80 SW Eighth St. The building is owned by Brookwood Bayview Investors. The firm plans to move in October, when it will vacate its offices in the Alfred I. DuPont Building, 169 E Flagler St.
LEASE DEAL: ADI LLC, a building-materials company with offices in West Palm Beach, Orlando and Miami, signed a three-year, $380,000-plus lease for 22,000 square feet of office and warehouse space at Kawa Industrial Center, 300 NE 187th St. ADI said it will vacate its current space at 280 NE 181st St. over the next month.
NEW PARKING PLACE: The Miami Parking Authority has named Roamy R. Valera deputy director. He was vice president and regional manager for Standard Parking Corp. He will be supervise on- and off-street operations as well as planning and development for the authority. He also will oversee the authority's meter maintenance and collection operations, parking enforcement, facility maintenance and garage and lot operations.
JOB FAIR: Four Seasons Hotel Miami, set to open Oct. 1, has scheduled a job fair for 8 a.m.-7 p.m. July 23-24 at the Coconut Grove Convention Center. The hotel plans to hire 400 workers, including front-desk personnel, chefs, servers, housekeepers and security personnel. "We hire people with a great attitude and predisposition for service, train them for the technical skills and provide them with opportunity for growth," said Ximena Elguera, director of human resources for Four Seasons.
ACCOUNTANTS MERGER: North Miami accounting firms Patchen Canner Brody & Abitante and Sheldon Ribotsky & Levine have merged. The new firm, Ribotsky Levine Canner Brody Starman and Abitante, has 16 accountants. Its offices are at 901 NE 125th St., North Miami.
COLLEGE FUNDS: Barry University is to receive $5 million from the North Dade Medical Foundation to help endow scholarships for nursing and education students. A $1 million check was presented June 30 to the university, and an equal amount is to be delivered in each of the next four years. "There are shortages in both fields," said Sandra Giblin, chief executive officer of the foundation. "And it has long been our priority to provide for both nursing education and teacher education."
ALLIANCE SIGNED: Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami-Dade has signed a marketing and modernization alliance with the Panama Canal. Officials said the agreement will help boost trade along the All-Water Route, the global commerce link between Asia and the US East Coast via the Panama Canal. "Having recently shifted our model to run the canal as a business, this alliance... is an example of our aggressive strategy to improve services for our customers, generate economic development in Florida and increase trade along the All-Water Route," said canal administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta. About 60% of the canal's traffic originates in or travels to the US East Coast.
GROVE PARKING CARD: Commuters can purchase a 2-for-1 Coconut Grove Parking Meter Card for $25 that can be used in all City of Miami parking meters. Each meter is equipped with a slot to insert the card, which is automatically debited 25 cents at a time as the meter displays the card's balance. The cards, which also can be used as debit cards in promotions at Coconut Grove merchants, are available at the Miami Parking Authority's main facility downtown or participating Coconut Grove merchants.