TRANSPORTATION WORKSHOP: Miami-Dade County will conduct a workshop on how money from a half-cent sales surtax is being spent on transportation improvements. The event is scheduled for 8-11 a.m. Nov. 8 at Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Avenue. Sessions will be conducted in English, Spanish and Creole. Voters approved the tax last November. The county collected $70 million in the first six months and expects next year to collect $154 million.
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HOUSING GRANT: The Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families buy homes, has received a $400,000 grant from national philanthropy group the Knight Foundation. The money will help families buy homes in Overtown and St. Agnes. Families of four or more with incomes of $38,000 or less can receive $5,000 to $20,000.
CENTER FUNDRAISING: Several fundraising events for the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami are in the works. Saks Fifth Avenue at Dadeland Mall will give 10% of sales revenue during its Nov. 2 reopening to the arts center, said Nancy Herstand, executive director of the Performing Arts Center Foundation. Fisher Island residents will get a tour of the construction site Nov. 11, she said. The center, scheduled to open in 2005, has three years to raise $29 million. Since fundraising started in 1994, $51 million has been raised.
PARKING DECALS: Miami neighborhood groups may be able to participate in a parking-decal program if city commissioners give their approval at today's (10/23) regular meeting. The plan was put off earlier this year after it was attached to a request to raise rates in the city. The Miami Parking Authority will not ask for parking-rate increases at the meeting, said its executive director, Art Noriega. "There will be no hikes," he said Tuesday. "None."
DIABETES RESEARCH: The University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute has received a $50 million grant from the Diabetes Research Foundation to research a cure for diabetes. The center is working on a procedure to transplant islets, clusters of cells in the pancreas that make insulin. According to UM researchers, a number of Type 1 diabetes patients who have received islet transplants do not have to inject insulin.
AIRLINE AD: Miami International Airport travelers are starring in a Spanish-language commercial for American Airlines airing throughout the US and Latin America on Univision and Telemundo. In August, 100 Hispanic passengers were interviewed about their experience on the airport's largest carrier and 25 were taped for the ads. American Airlines last week also announced that it is expanding service between South Florida and Latin America.
MARKETING HONOR: Miami International Airport received top marketing honors in the Airports Council International-North American Marketing and Communications competition. The airport was honored for an exhibit honoring victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. The exhibit included artwork done by students from schools in Miami-Dade County. The exhibit traveled to many of the country's largest airports in the past two years.
MET UP: Miami-based MDM Development Group said it will open a sales center Nov. 5 for its $600 million Met 1 residential project at 301 SE Third Ave. Construction is to start on phase one, a 447-unit luxury condo, late next year, officials said. The urban-style, mixed-use project is to feature lofts with 20-foot ceilings, shops, an entertainment complex, parking, open piazzas and tree-lined walkways. The 40-story will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units along with tower and penthouse units priced from $177,000 to $500,000.
TRAVEL CONCLAVE: More than 1,200 travel agents and 500 exhibitors are at the 73rd American Society of Travel Agents' World Travel Congress and Cruise/Caribbean Fest at Miami Beach Convention Center through Sunday.
RENEWAL AND EXPANSION: Law firm Walton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson has renewed its lease for 10 years and increased space by 3,000 square feet to a total of 24,000 at 9350 Financial Center. The center, at 9350 S. Dixie Highway in Kendall, is a 16-story building offering 106,000 square feet.
CPA FIRM ON TOP: Kaufman Rossin & Co. has been named the largest Florida accounting firm in Public Accounting Report's nationwide survey. The 40-year-old company, which has 140 staffers, has offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and the Cayman Islands. "In a year when many of America's largest accounting firms reported significant declines in revenues, our firm continued to grow," said James R. Kaufman, managing principal. "We don't merge, we don't acquire."
CORDIS LEASE: Cordis Neurovascular has leased 59,165 square feet at Miami Lakes Business Park-East, 14000 NW 57th Court, for a research and development facility. The two-year lease for the biomedical equipment and supplies company is worth more than $875,000, according to Ron Berger of broker group CB Ellis, who represented landlord JDRP Associates in the transaction.
KENDALL COMPLEX SALE: Apartment complex Wisperwood Village, 9301 SW 92nd Ave. in Kendall, has sold for $22.2 million, or $112.50 per square foot, according to Brett Chwick of Cushman & Wakefield subsidiary The Apartment Group, which represented seller Jennings Construction Corp. of Palm Beach Gardens. The complex, built in 1977, has three four-story buildings on 6.3 acres. Buyer Wisperwood Village Development plans to convert the complex to condominiums. JoAnne Mitchell of Wisperwood Village Development said her company plans $3 million in interior and exterior renovations.
FAIRWAY SALE: Mr. Chwick said The Apartment Group represented Jennings Construction Corp. in the sale of Fairway Vista, a 250-unit apartment complex at 1951 Brandywine Road in West Palm Beach for $22.2 million, or $90.20 a square foot. The buyer, 1951 Brandywine, is "a private investor from Chicago," Mr. Chwick said. He said the investor plans to maintain the property, which has 11 three-story buildings on 8.7 acres, as rentals. Fairway Vista was built in 1999. The Apartment Group has sold more than $300 million in Florida multifamily properties this year, Mr. Chwick said.
ON HIS OWN: Rodrigo Niņo, formerly vice president of development for property-sales group Fortune International, has formed Prodigy International Development Sales. He said he and 12 staffers have their first luxury real-estate client, Brickell on the River. Prodigy will be at 1111 Brickell Ave. temporarily, he said.
CENTURY MARK: Since offering its stock in August for a second time, newly formed US Century Bank has raised $25.4 million in added capital from 400 investors. The bank, at 7575 W. Flagler St., has accumulated $56 million in capital and $153 million in assets with $98.5 million deposits and $68.6 million loans since it opened a year ago.
HONORED: Workforce Florida has honored the two-year executive director of its South Florida operations. Harriet Spivak was praised for expanded education and training, launching a public-relations and advertising campaign and reaching out to the Beacon Council and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. At the same time, budget cuts trimmed 28 One-Stop Career Centers and 10 satellite offices to 16 career centers and three satellites. The organization oversees federally and state-funded workforce programs.
UM ENTERS RANKINGS: British newspaper The Financial Times has ranked the University of Miami's international executive MBA program 73rd-best of more than 80 schools that participated in the ranking process. Forty-two of the ranked schools were in the US, but only UM was listed from Florida. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business was rated tops, followed by the University of Chicago and Duke University's Fuqua Business School.