CITIES ACT: After being threatened by a watchdog group with forfeiture of transit funds, most Miami-Dade County cities have taken steps needed to keep their surtax share coming in. The Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust told more than two dozen cities in December that they wouldn't get their slice of surtax money earmarked for municipalities until they filed the required paperwork. As of this week, said trust chairman John Cosgrove, only a few smaller cities haven't met the requirements.
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FROM AT&T TO FIU: Former AT&T executive Barry Johnson has joined Florida International University's College of Business Administration to help the business school with development programs. He was vice president of corporate affairs for AT&T's Florida division, is a former chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and worked as a news anchor for several ABC television stations.
SHOWOFF FOR VIZCAYA: Twenty-five interior and landscape designers will transform a home at 33 Arvida Parkway in Coral Gables into a showhouse to benefit the Vizcaya Village Restoration and the endowment for Villa Vizcaya, a county museum. Visitors can view the transformation of the house and grounds Saturday through Feb. 29. The home sold in May 2001 for $4.5 million. Tickets to visit are $25 online, $30 at the door. Details: (305) 856-4866 or email@example.com.
ALL PLAY, NO PAY: A Prohibition Gala at the historic Alfred I. Dupont building downtown Feb. 28 will recapture the spirit of speakeasies and flappers to benefit the Wolfsonian-Florida International University museum. The former bank will be transformed into a speakeasy and an in-vault casino - which will not pay off to winners. Tickets to the ball range from $1,000 for a weekend of festivities to $300 for the gala only. Details: (305) 535-2631.
SEEKING CONCESSIONS: According to a customer study by Miami International Airport, passengers want more concessions once they pass security checkpoints. Aviation Director Angela Gittens said that is what they will get. During her State of the Ports address this month, she said the airport will open 13 food facilities this year. Opening concessions beyond security checkpoints is a struggle, she said, but the airport opened one new food venue, a luggage store and a Crabtree and Evelyn store there last year.
PRESIDENT ROSS: Estoril president and Espirito Santo Plaza developer William Ross was tapped as the new president by the Brickell Area Association. The group's membership elected him Tuesday evening at the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower. Elected to the executive committee were past president Richard Gonsalves, president-elect and former Miami commissioner Willy Gort, vice president Hal Martell, secretary Carl Walters and treasurer Lee Tomback.
EXCELLENCE: The Brickell Area Association gave Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jimmy Morales its award for excellence in service to the Brickell business community. He played a key role in blocking efforts by Greyhound to build a bus terminal in the area last year. The association gave Jones Lang LaSalle its annual corporate award.
MAKING THE CUT: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Business Group named 11 finalists for its Cutting Edge Award, recognizing companies that have excelled in marketing, management and growth. Selected were BankAtlantic, Blackstone, Citrix Systems, DBK Concepts, Garden of Life, Gibraltar Bank, Guarded Networks, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, Preferred Care Partners, SFBC International and vFinance. The chamber will honor finalists at an April 29 luncheon at the Hotel InterContinental.
THE APPEAL OF DORAL: Now that Doral is a city, InterContinental West Miami hotel will add the label to its name. KSL Corp. and Maristar Hotel and Resort Operating Co., which has the trademark for the name Doral Golf Resort and Spa, sued the hotel chain in 2002 for using "Doral." The parties reached an agreement allowing the hotel to call itself InterContinental Doral, Miami. KSL contended that the hotel should be prohibited from including Doral in its name without paying a licensing fee. The hotel's general manager said in a written statement this week that the case would have a wide impact on other businesses wanting to include Doral in their name.
GREEN FOR GREEN: More than 400 acres of county-owned land are about to be leased out for farming. The property at the Homestead General Aviation Airport has been farmed for 35 years, but with the lease up, the county is looking for a tenant for five years at almost double the price. Farming is a good fit for the property, according to the county, because it cuts groundskeeping costs and doesn't interfere with aviation. The lease on the 430 acres, for at least $300 an acre, would begin in May. Pending county commission approval, the county will soon begin advertising for bids.
SEEKING MIDTOWN LOAN: County commissioners approved a $20 million federal loan application Tuesday to upgrade the site of Midtown Miami. Because the project is to rise in an underdeveloped area and add 1,520 low- to moderate-income jobs where 19.3% are unemployed, the project qualifies for US Housing and Urban Development help. The loan will fund roads cutting through the 56 acres, parking for the project and surrounding businesses, minor soil cleanup and water and sewer upgrades, developers said. The mixed-use project is at the former Buena Vista Railyard a few blocks from the Design District in Northeast Miami.
NEW FLAGLER TENANTS: Codina Realty Services Oncor International announced four leases for industrial space at Flagler Station, with Usco Distribution Services taking 179,681 square feet at 10250 NW 108th Ave. and Mobis Parts America signing for use of 121,979 square feet at 10805 NW 100th St. Also, Southern Audio Visual took 16,520 square feet at 11700 NW 102nd Road and Prisma Colors Corp. leased 7,182 square feet at 10505 NW 112th Ave. Codina agents represented the landlord, Flagler Development Co., in all four transactions. Terms and lease values were not released.
INTERMODAL TALK: Leaders in commerce and trade will sponsor a briefing on the planned Miami Intermodal Center. Ric Katz, public affairs manager for the project, will speak on the planned $1 billion transportation hub noon-1 p.m. Wedneday (2/25) at Wyndham Hotel Miami Airport. The cost is $30 for the public. Details: Florida Foreign Trade Association (305) 471-0737.
SHULA JOINS PHARMED: Miami health-care distributor Pharmed Group is expanding its operation outside of Florida to Ohio, where former Dolphins Coach Don Shula is to help the company expand. Mr. Shula will serve as vice president of corporate relations in Ohio, and Robert Matevish will be the Ohio division's general manager. Founded in 1980, Pharmed is one of the largest minority-owned drug-distribution companies in the US and has 250 employees in Florida.
DEFINING ROLES: An attorney for French investor Claude Dray, developer of a residential-commercial project at 901 Brickell Ave., said Tuesday that Victor Azria and Planet Realty are not representatives for the project. According to Nathalie Goulet of Hyman Kaplan Ganguzza Spector & Mars, an attorney for Mr. Dray and Brickell City Center, Mr. Azria presented The Related Group as a potential partner last year for the development and in 2002 was a broker in the purchase of the Brickell property.
CORRECTION: An item in last week's "The Insider" column inaccurately described Starwood Urban's mixed-use project at 55 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Holly Real Estate, leasing agent for the property, said the project is the first new Class A office space on Miracle Mile in more than 15 years.