DINING'S FINE: Summer restaurant receipts rose 11.3% in Miami-Dade, the Florida Department of Revenue said. In August, they hit $285.6 million, up 14.8% from August 2004. The July figure was $282 million, up 12.7%. Steven Haas, chairman of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority, cites three reasons - Miami Spice Restaurant Month, an annual August promotion; soaring summer hotel occupancy; and population growth. "Miami Restaurant Month rocked in August," he said. "We have become a 12-month city as opposed to a resort town."
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
DORAL HOTELS SOLD: Trans Inns Management Inc., a Farmington Hills, MI, company that operates 17 hotels nationally, has bought two late-1990s Doral hotels near Northwest 87th Avenue and 36th Street from Cardel Hotels of Miami. The Holiday Inn Miami Airport West is a mid-scale 120-room full-service hotel, while the Staybridge Suites Miami Airport West is a 96-room extended-stay hotel. "Because the hotels are adjacent to one another, they benefit from significant operational synergies," said J. Daniel Carlo of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, the real estate investment banking firm that represented Cardel.
CONDO CONVERSION: Oceanview Waterfront Residences, a 398-unit apartment tower at 19370 Collins Ave. in Sunny Isles Beach, is being acquired by Feurer Companies and Jos. Cacciatore & Co., a Chicago brokerage and development firm, for conversion to condominiums. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler secured a $7 million loan for the buyers for acquisition and conversion.
MILE'S AWAY: A Miracle Mile building that's home to four shops and a restaurant has been sold for a little more than $4 million. The 11,000-square-foot building is on a 12,000-square-foot lot. The seller of 262-272 Miracle Mile was Coral Gables ARC-Wheeler and the buyer Miracle Mile South LLC. Deal broker Kerdyk Real Estate will remain property manager and leasing agent for the new owner.
AFRICA AIR LINKS: Miami International Airport and the Foundation for Democracy in Africa plan a summit Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Miami InterContinental Hotel downtown to find ways to increase air service between the US and African cities. Now, 23 flights per week link the two markets, compared to more than 3,200 between the US and Latin America. Topics include analysis of Africa's aviation infrastructure, absence of US carriers in the market, challenges for US/Africa air-service bilateral agreements and aviation safety and security. Details: (305) 416-9201 or email@example.com.
SPIRITED EVENT: Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padr█n, US Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the Rev. Alberto Cuti╚, Kiwanis Club President Eugenio Hernandez and Carlos and Jorge de C╚spedes of Pharmed Group Corp. are to receive the Orange Bowl Foundation's Spirit of the Community award Oct. 28 during a reception at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
BEEFING UP SECURITY: A request at the federal level to fund security provisions at Miami International Airport should be extended to the seaport, the Miami-Dade County Commission decided Tuesday. Upon Commissioner Rebeca Sosa's urging, the commission adopted a resolution asking that the Port of Miami as well as the airport be fully staffed to process international passengers quickly and effectively. Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz seconded the amendment to the request that Congress fully fund the US Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection.
PLEA TO TALLAHASSEE: The Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday unanimously supported a bid at state level to amend legislation that hits empty-nesters hard. Commissioner Katy Sorenson is leading the charge to urge the Legislature to allow homeowners age 55 and older and the disabled to transfer an assessed property-tax value to a new home if the property is not larger or more expensive. Ms. Sorenson is to meet Sen. Burt Saunders and Senate Majority Leader Alex Villalobos this week to advance the proposal, which could take a year to take effect.
TRADING LEADERSHIP: Only the chairman of the Miami-Dade County agency that seeks world business ties voted against a change Tuesday in how the panel is governed. County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, who has led a number of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium missions this year that are estimated to have brought in $320 million in business, was the only member of the county commission to oppose an ordinance that will give the commission control over the consortium and appointment of its members. The commission seized control of the consortium from the office of Mayor Carlos Alvarez via an 11-1 vote. Commissioner Natacha Seijas was absent.
ISLANDS MISSION: Miami-Dade County's Jay Malina International Trade Consortium is mounting a mission to the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts & Nevis as well as Antigua & Barbuda in late November or early December. According to consortium chairman Jose "Pepe" Diaz, the islands offer opportunities in tourism, the financial sector, construction, technology and the medical field. Details: R. George Bush, (305) 375-5290, or Cornelius Herelle, (305) 375-5420.
ISRAELI MISSION PUT OFF: An Oct. 30 visit of more than 21 Israeli biomedical and security companies has been postponed. "The Israelis are looking for partners in the biomedical sector. They wanted to have one-to-one meetings, but they did not want to compete with two upcoming biotech events in the region," said Manny Gonzalez, executive director of the county's International Trade Consortium. BioFlorida's conference is slated for Monday, and the Scripps/Oxford International Biotechnology Conference is scheduled for Nov. 13, both in Palm Beach County. The Israeli companies, he said, now are considering a spring visit.
METER MADES: Terremark Worldwide will be charged about $11,000 a year to recoup revenue lost from 35 parking meters in front of the company's NAP at 50 NE Ninth St. Terremark had asked the Miami Parking Authority to remove the meters out of concern for security from saboteurs seeking to sever the communications links inside. The authority's board voted to remove the meters but not to waive the fee. The authority and Terremark were looking to arrange a barter agreement in which services provided from Terremark would cover the fee, but no agreement was made.
HERTZ REOPENING: Hertz is coming back to Miami. The Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. is to celebrate the reopening at 11 a.m. today (10/20) of its renovated general facility at 5850 NW 77th Court. The building will have 5,500 square feet of shop space to service rental equipment including lawnmowers, ladders, floor sanders and paint sprayers.
SUNSHINE LUNCH: The South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its 11th annual Sunshine Awards Luncheon on Nov. 4 at 711 NW 72nd Ave. Tickets cost $40 for members, $45 for others. County Mayor Carlos Alvarez is to speak. Details: (305) 534-1903.
JUDGES ELEVATED: Gov. Jeb Bush has elevated judges Orlando A. Prescott and Dava J. Tunis to the Circuit Court Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit. Both had been county court judges.
CEMETERY SITE APPROVED: More than 44 acres of wetlands in northwest Miami-Dade County may be converted to burial grounds, the county commission unanimously agreed Tuesday. Commissioners approved a Class IV permit for the plot between Northwest 112th and 117th avenues and 25th and 33rd streets for use by the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Miami. The entity made a $400,000 contribution to the South Florida Water Management District for the project in 1998.