ARENA SALE OK'D: Miami-Dade County commissioners Tuesday approved an agreement with the City of Miami and the Miami Sports and Entertainment Authority that would clear the way to sell the Miami Arena to Palm Beach County businessman Glenn Straub. Assistant City Attorney Olga Ramirez-Seijas said county Mayor Carlos Alvarez has 10 days to approve or veto the deal. "It cannot be signed until the veto period expires or the county mayor approves the resolution, whatever happens first." The city hopes to steer some funds from the sale toward a stadium for the Florida Marlins baseball team and renovation of the Orange Bowl. A contract extension calls for closing Dec. 15, Ms. Ramirez-Seijas said.
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
PARTNERS? Miami Beach commissioners are to decide Dec. 8 whether to renew a much-debated $5 million contract with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to market the region. Some commissioners and Mayor David Dermer favor an independent Miami Beach organization. But commissioner Luis Garcia Jr., who has represented the city on the bureau's board, says he doesn't expect opposition to the contract: "Our partnership with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has been working fine."
BASEL BOOM: Miami Beach is hosting famed international art show Art Basel today (12/2) through Sunday. It combines a contemporary art show with special exhibits, parties and crossover events from the music, film, architecture and design industries. Art Basel features works by more than 1,000 artists from 175 galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It's spread among the Miami Beach Convention Center and venues such as the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, the Rotunda at Collins Park and the 21st Street Community Center. Details: www.artbaselmiamibeach.com.
ORANGE CASH: More than $200 million is expected to enter the local economy with the Jan. 4 FedEx Orange Bowl at Pro Player Stadium, said Eric Poms, COO of the Orange Bowl Committee, the non-profit that stages the bowl and youth sporting events the month prior. Weston-based Sports Management Research Institute will study the impact of the sporting events and bowl game that will bring in two out-of-town teams, their bands and fans. ABC Sports is expected to announce Sunday which teams will play for the NCAA championship from among the University of Southern California, Oklahoma and Auburn.
LONGER STAYS: The study, third since 2000, helps the committee maintain its worth to the national Bowl Championship Series and community leaders. Results are used for marketing and promotions. The national championships decided in the past two years in New Orleans and Tempe, AZ, each generated about $200 million in impact, Mr. Poms said. "In our upcoming match up, we'll have two out-to-state teams. The game is on Tuesday, Jan. 4. We anticipate that people will leave home on Friday and spend the weekend in Miami and that will carry through to Wednesday." A five- or six-day stay is a long time for an event, he said, and is expected to produce larger numbers.
BEACHED: New York residential real estate firm Douglas Elliman announced it's opening its first office in South Florida next week at 1691 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach. President Jamie Goff said his company has about 2,500 agents and more than $10 billion in home sales this year in Manhattan, Long Island and the Hamptons. He said the company's plans are to grow here by adding brokers and opening more offices in Miami, Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. In addition to normal operations of a residential realty firm, he said Douglas Elliman Florida would represent developers with realty investments in the area. John Lyman, former manager of Coldwell Banker's Lincoln Road office, is to manage the new branch. Details: (305) 695-6300 or ellimanflorida.com.
GOING DOWNTOWN: Adams & Adams, which specializes in civil litigation, signed to lease a full floor in downtown Miami's 155 Building, 155 S Miami Ave. Bill Cutler, broker with Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group, which represented the landlord, said the entire firm moved from 66 W Flagler St. The lease for 12,323 square feet brings the 160,000-square-foot building to 80% occupancy, he said. Terms and lease value weren't released.
CONDO CONVERSION: Developers Ron Simkins and Joanne Mitchell have earmarked Le Club at Old Cutler, a 332-apartment complex at 8630 SW 212th St., for conversion into condominiums that are to go on sale Saturday. As historically low interest rates continue to encourage homeownership, developers are offering former rental properties for purchase. Once remodeled, Le Club at Old Cutler is to feature condos from 900 to 1,100 square feet, priced from $129,900 to $167,900. Details: (305) 255-8990.
CONDO NEAR READY: Seybold Pointe, a 13-story condo at 816 NW 11th St., is to become the county's first transit-oriented residential development ready to occupy when it opens in early January. Founding partner Debra Sinkle Kolsky said the units, ranging from $100,000 to the mid-$200,000s, were sold before construction began in August. A 945-square-foot spot the developer is marketing to restaurateurs is still available for lease, she said. "Located across from the Metrorail station, tenants no longer have to drive to work, she said. Ms. Kolsky said a big percentage of buyers are among the 30,000 employed in the Civic Center area.
POLLO SPREADING WINGS: Pollo Tropical, a Miami restaurant chain, plans to expand next year into Tampa, New York and New Jersey. "This is our record year with now three new stores and another opening in Plantation before the end of December," said spokeswoman Christine Michaels. Pollo Tropical has more than 90 restaurants in Florida, Puerto Rico and Ecuador. The company's latest South Florida location opened last month in Miami-Dade County at 14150 SW Eighth St. The restaurant company, founded in 1988, maintains headquarters across from Dadeland Mall and is owned by Carrols Corp. Details: www.pollotropical.com.
HOLD THAT HOTEL: A proposal to redevelop the site of the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, 495 Brickell Ave., was extended Monday to Jan. 4 by the City of Miami's Historic and Environmental Preservation Board, part of the Planning & Zoning Department. The board must review the proposal because the property is in an archeological conservation area beside the historic Miami Circle. Preservation Board Chairwoman Sarah Eaton said the Related Group of Florida, the applicant, requested the postponement. Related communications manager Dianne Weber said Tuesday the firm was not ready to disclose details.
RAPID RETURNS: A delegate from a trade mission just back from Hong Kong is already reaping the rewards from the visit after securing a distribution deal in Miami set to start Friday. The undisclosed beneficiary represented one of 18 county businesses that joined the Florida Foreign Trade Association tour of the Special Administrative Region and southern China Nov. 11-19. Ralph Puga of RP Logistics & Management Inc., the orgainzation's president, said, "An e-mail has already arrived about sending a company to Miami to do a distribution deal Dec. 3."
TOY DRIVE: The South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce toy drive will be channeled to the Miami Rescue Mission's Center for Women & Children and to children's organization CHARLEE. "For the past 10 years, we have given approximately 5,000 toys to needy children. This year, we added something exciting to the toy drive, books, to encourage reading in children at an early age," President Liliam Lopez said. Details: (305) 534-1903.
CHAMBER AWARD: The Bi-National Chambers of Commerce in Florida was to present former Colombia president Cesar Gaviria with an award for leadership in global trade Wednesday (12/1) at Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove. Lita Haeger, the group's president, said the board selects award recipients annually. Details: email@example.com.
HOT TOMATO: Coral Gables chef Norman Van Aken has not only branched out beyond Norman's and Mundo here to open Norman's Los Angeles in West Hollywood, CA, but he became the official spokesman this week for the California Tomato Growers Association, whose members say they produce more than 90% of the nation's processed tomatoes.
REEF RELIEF: The US Coral Reef Task Force, which leads US efforts to protect and manage coral reef ecosystems, is convening today (12/2) and tomorrow at the InterContinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza. James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and John Day, director of conservation for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, are to speak. Workshops target diving and snorkeling practices, improving management of Florida's ecosystems and restoring coral reef habitats. Details: www.coralreef.gov.
HR CONFERENCE: Hewitt Associates, a human-resources outsourcing and consulting firm, will host the Latin America Human Resources Executive Conference. Topics include how diversity demographics are affecting the corporate world in Latin America and what this means to US corporations. "If a company manages its people practices within the framework of critical factors such as employees well-connected within the business, we are confident that success will follow," said Craig Bruce, Latin America business leader for Hewitt. The meeting will be at Hotel InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. today (12/2). Details: Judy Morales, Latin America regional office, (305) 476-8800.
ASK A PROF: Florida International University's College of Business Administration is launching a faculty-staffed consulting firm. The International Advisory Services Group aims to help clients from Latin America and the Caribbean strategize to meet goals. The group is also to offer executive education seminars such as "How to export to the US." Seminars in English, Spanish and Portuguese can be customized for selected industries. Led by management professors Jerry Haar and David Wernick, the team includes experts in management, finance, marketing, accounting and other specialties. Details: (305) 348-2751.
PAC MAN: Miami International University of Art & Design at 8 p.m. Friday is hosting installation of artwork documenting construction of the nearby Miami Performing Arts Center. Alex Steneck designed "Do You Want to Know What It Is?" after taking more than 300,000 digital images from six buildings surrounding the center beginning in 2001. The university is to project building-size images of the work on the outside of its Northeast 15th Street campus. The street is to be closed for a concert featuring fire performers, acrobats, artists, street performers and food vending. Details: www.aimiu.aii.edu.