REDEVELOPING NORTH MIAMI: Miami-Dade County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved North Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency plan and an ordinance creating the agency's trust fund. "We will now start the implementation phase," said Deputy City Manager Dennis Kelly. The redevelopment area is bordered by the city boundaries on the north, south and west and Biscayne Boulevard on the east. The plan also involves a separate redevelopment agency boundary, which includes the Munisport property east of Biscayne Boulevard. The city, Mr. Kelly said, expects to generate $500,000 to $600,000 in the agency's first year.
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VILLAS RISING: Ongoing construction of a $40 million villa project on Williams Island in Aventura should be completed in 18 months, an official at Williams Island Realty said. Villa Flora, which includes 16 two- and three-story Tuscan-style villas overlooking the South Marina, is being built by Vintage Properties with Williams Island Development. Four homes have been sold, said Cynthia Press, director of sales. Two villas have been built and two are half-completed. Details: Williams Island Realty, (305) 937-7878.
GOING SOUTH: Homestead officials will make a pitch July 6 to widen Florida's Turnpike from southernmost Miami-Dade County north to the Cutler Ridge/Perrine area. Added capacity, Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray said, would accommodate a growing number of visiting race fans and commuter population in southern Miami-Dade and expand evacuation routes for Keys residents. County Commissioner Dennis Moss, Homestead Mayor Roscoe Warren and City Manager Curt Ivy will join the meeting with Jim Ely, executive director of Florida's Turnpike Enterprises, which manages day-to-day operations of the highway.
ARTFUL GRANT: The Florida Department of Education granted Miami Douglas MacArthur South Senior High School $52,092 for enhancement of the ArtSouth learning project. Students participate in a 30-hour-per-month program at ArtSouth that aims to enrich historic downtown Homestead, said Steve Rumme, principal at MacArthur South. "Students take classes from local artists from all over the world in Homestead as a way to create an interesting blend of cultures in the area."
HITTING $146 MILLION: Higher attendance and corporate sponsorships generated a record $146 million in economic impact from the 2004 Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, up from $117 million a few years ago. The Sport Management Research Institute in Weston, which performed the study, reported the three-race event "is one of if not the largest to date in terms of annual economic impact," based on reports and research the firm has done in South Florida in the past 10 years.
NASCAR SALES SPEEDING: The season-ending race weekend Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is expected to sell out by Aug. 1, said Curtis Gray, track president. The 2004 race weekend sold out by Nov. 1, with several factors leading to increased attention to Homestead, he said. NASCAR moved the season-ending races to the track two years ago, and last year, new rules created more intense competition for the final races. Officials are adding 16 suites at the track that are to be completed in time for the November race, Mr. Gray said. All are sold out.
JETTING IN: A luxury fix-based operation for private aviation services is set to open June 16 at Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. Greg Chin, spokesman for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, said Falcon Trust Air is setting a new standard for luxury private jet travel and will attract corporate, high-end clientele to the airport. Accommodations, part of the $12 million development, include private VIP suites, maintenance, conference and catering, aircraft storage, a fitness center and movie theater. Construction of additional hangars at the airport awaits approval.
MARATHON SPONSOR: The Miami Marathon has a title sponsor, Dutch financial institution ING, the first title sponsor of the New York marathon and supporter of eight others worldwide. Organizers hope the three-year deal will spark interest in an event that started in 2003 as the Toyota Prius Miami Tropical Marathon and last year attracted 7,500 runners. Organizers hope to raise participation to 20,000 by 2010. "It's a great opportunity to work with a company that is interested in the event and the sport," said Danny Elfenbein, media relations and marketing manager. "It attracts businesspeople, which is good for the region." The marathon and half-marathon are to take place Jan. 29. Details: (305) 278-8668 or www.ingmiamimarathon.com.
MATCHING ATTIRE: Because of its Cuban-American president, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce attire will be traditional Cuban garb, guayaberas, at Saturday's Goals Conference dinner at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. But President George Foyo didn't suggest it. In fact, he didn't even own a guayabera. But in one of his final acts in office, Chairman Allen Harper noted at the monthly chamber lunch last week that Mr. Foyo, who grew up in Chicago, was lacking the essential lightweight shirt and gave him one - in black. Then he called on Saturday diners to match the attire.
BANKING LEADERS: Seno Bril, general manager of BNP Paribas in Miami, is to become president of the Florida International Bankers Association on July 1. He replaces Agustin Abalo, vice president of Banco Santander Central Hispano. Other elected officials on the executive committee are Simon Amich of American Express, first vice president; Alfredo Montero of Banco de Credito del Peru and Humberto Banuelos of BBVA, vice presidents; Marco Gomez of Bank of America, president and secretary; and Denise Gaudy of BankAtlantic, treasurer. All were elected May 29.
MORE FLIGHTS FROM MILAN: An Italian airline is to extend its flight season from Milan Malpensa to Miami International Airport by two months. Eurofly, which last year flew almost 5,000 passengers from the Italian city on weekly services from June to October, will bring passengers until December. Flights leave Milan and arrive in Miami on Saturdays. A connecting flight takes passengers to Freeport, Bahamas.
HILTON UPGRADE: Orlando interior designer Kimberly Bewley + co is overseeing design renovation for the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, 5101 Blue Lagoon Dr. Kimberly Bewley, company principal, said the presidential suite, sales center and administrative offices are completed. A secondary ballroom and fine-dining restaurant, The Cove, are still to undergo renovations.
TOP HISPANIC BUSINESS: The Related Group of Florida is the highest-earning Hispanic company in the US, a magazine reports. Hispanic Business reported the Miami real estate developer's revenues almost doubled in 2004 to $2.1 billion, placing it atop the California magazine's list of 500 top businesses run by Hispanics. Century HomeBuilders ranks ninth, Prestige Builders Partners is 15th and General Real Estate Corp. is 21st. Florida is home to almost a fourth of the top 500, with 122 businesses named with combined revenues of almost $12 billion.
FIU GOES TO MACY'S: Florida International University's Chapman Graduate School of Business has finalized a lease for the sixth floor of Macy's Florida corporate offices, 22 E. Flagler St. The new Downtown Center is to open in August. "We have signed a lease agreement for three years with the possibility of renewal," said Lisa Kauffman of Macy's. The Downtown Center will offer an 18-month MBA program and a master's in taxation. FIU's graduate business school also will offer master's programs in finance and international real estate beginning in January. An information session will be held June 28 at InterContinental Miami. Details: (305) 242-7626.
FINANCING FILMMAKING: Financing remains the major impediment to development of a filmmaking industry in the county, the executive director of the Entertainment Industry Incubator says. "It's the one thing that's missing," said Susan Schein from the nonprofit's Miami Beach base. "New York City and Los Angeles, because they have the infrastructure, get the credibility for having natural talent." The organization has invited Miramax film finance expert John Hadity to talk on the issue June 16 at the first in a series of seminars to educate investors at 1680 Michigan Ave. Details: (305) 672-9297 or www.eincubator.org.
'A' FOR ARTS: The bulk of funds from $186 million of county subordinate special obligation bonds to be issued June 16 will benefit the Miami Performing Arts Center, county spokesman Frank Calderon said. The bonds have been graded "A," a standard Fitch Ratings agency also applied to $346 million in bonds for other programs. The rankings improve the credit rating of Miami-Dade County, which leads to lower interest rates. The $2.9 billion general obligation bonds approved in November are to be rated later.
INTERNATIONAL ARTS TIES: International links to arts and culture in Miami will be the topic of the International Roundtable on June 23. Panelists will look at growth of international arts and cultural links and their importance to the community's future. The free 5 p.m. session at the J.W. Marriott, 1109 Brickell Ave., will be hosted by Miami Today and J.W. Marriott. RSVP: Victor Guedez, (305) 358-2663.
CORRECTION: A May 26 article that focused on a residential project planned for Miami's Edgewater neighborhood should have reported that Bruno Carnesella was a co-developer of Absolut South Beach Lofts.
CORRECTION: In a May 19 report on an $80 million construction loan for Ten Museum Park, the names of some individuals who worked with Mellon United National Bank to close the financing were omitted. The borrower is 1040 Biscayne Associates LLC, whose principals include Armin Mattli, chief executive of Clinique La Prairie and main financial partner of the project; Gregg Covin; and Kevin Venger. Jim Dockerty and William Gallagher worked on the transaction for Mellon Bank.