Miami-Dade Business Briefs - Aug. 2005
CORAL GABLES -- Coral Gables-based Peebles Atlantic Development and Homestead auto dealer Armstrong Holdings were named to the Black Enterprise B.E. 100s Report, an annual rating based on business performance.
KEY WEST -- A federal grand jury has indicted former Monroe County Attorney James T. Hendrick in connection with an alleged kickback scheme involving a controversial development project in Marathon. The indictment stems from an investigation of former Key West Mayor John "Jack" London, who has also been charged in the case.
MIAMI -- Private jet operator FalconTrust Air Avitat Miami has opened a three-story upscale facility at Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. It includes a fitness center, movie theater and conference rooms.
Miami ranks second behind Santiago, Chile, as a place to do business with Latin America, according to an annual survey by AméricaEconom?a magazine. Two years ago, Miami ranked first. Its drop is attributed to security concerns and a rising cost of living.
Miami-based equipment rental company Neff Corp. (OTC-NFFCA) has been acquired by Odyssey Investment Partners of New York for $510 million. The company, which operates 66 rental branches in the Southeast and West, will remain headquartered in Miami.
With more than $2 billion in revenue last year, The Related Group of Florida led eight south Florida companies making the list of the nation's top 20 Hispanic-owned companies, as ranked by Hispanic Business magazine. The ranking is based on revenue. Also ranking near the top: Wireless distributor Brightstar Corp., with $1.7 billion, and telecommunications contractor MasTec, with $914 million.
The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Miami Dade College a $1-million grant for construction and startup costs for a biomedical training program in Miami's low-income Liberty City neighborhood. Economic development officials say the program will create at least 1,500 jobs once construction is completed. Florida International University graduated its first law school class, five years after receiving authorization from the Legislature. The school also broke ground on its $34-million Rafael Diaz-Balart College of Law building.
Miami drug maker Ivax (AMEX-IVX) has acquired animal health products manufacturer Phoenix Scientific, which will be combined with Ivax's existing veterinary products holdings to form IVX Animal Health. The new company will be headquartered in St. Joseph, Mo.
New York-based Argent Ventures has acquired the massive but largely empty Omni Center along Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami for $100 million.
MIAMI-DADE -- Florida Department of Transportation chief Jose Abreu has been tapped to run Miami-Dade's aviation department. He takes over for Angela Gittens, who resigned in November under pressure from County Manager George Burgess. Abreu's biggest challenge will be completing Miami International Airport's $2-billion north terminal expansion. County officials have agreed to take control of the project from American Airlines, which has struggled to bring it within budget. Officials say the final price tag may be twice its original estimate.
Backers of a plan by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez to seek voter approval for shifting some powers from the county commission to the mayor's office have collected enough signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. Alvarez has pushed the proposal as a way to increase accountability and reduce influence peddling in county hall. If approved, the new rules would likely take effect after he leaves office, Alvarez says.