Miami-Dade Business Briefs - July 2004
Coral Gables -- Black Enterprise Magazine has named Coral Gables-based Atlantic Development Corp. "Company of the Year" -- the magazine's highest honor. The company is run by Don Peebles, developer of South Beach's Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, billed as the nation's first black-owned convention hotel. Peebles is chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Miami -- The city has signed a deal to sell downtown's Miami Arena to parking lot magnate Hank Sopher for $25 million. Sopher has not announced his plans for the building, which has lost many of its tenants -- including the NBA's Miami Heat -- to the nearby AmericanAirlines Arena. The city still owes $34 million to bondholders who financed the $53-million facility, which opened in 1988.
Miami-Dade -- Miami-Dade has the seventh-strongest commercial real estate market in the nation, according to a recent study by Moody's Investors Service. Honolulu is ranked first. Meanwhile, Forbes magazine ranked Miami-Dade 139th out of the top 150 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in its "Best Places for Business and Careers" survey. The rankings are based on job growth, per capita income, education levels, costs of doing business, crime rates, migration patterns and other data.
Advanced Systems Technologies, a unit of Pratt & Whitney's Specialty Materials and Services division, has opened a coating removal service center in Miami-Dade. It is the first of its kind in Florida.
KeyBank Real Estate Capital, the nation's fifth-largest commercial real estate lender, claiming about $10 billion in annual financing, will open an office in Miami. KeyBank also will open offices in Boca Raton, Orlando and Jacksonville as part of an aggressive expansion in Florida.
Monroe County -- Mirroring other data, an 18-month water-quality survey sponsored by The Nature Conservancy has detected human sewage in canals throughout the Florida Keys. According to the survey, human-borne viruses were found in six of 10 recording stations during the rainy season -- May through October -- when rainwater may flush out leaky septic tanks.
North Bay Village -- With a population of 7,000, this tiny waterfront enclave of homes and high-rises is laying claim to the title of Miami-Dade's most scandal-ridden municipality. Over the past year, the mayor and three of four commissioners have been arrested on various charges of low-level corruption, Sunshine Law violations or other misconduct. The North Bay Village Police Department is also under scrutiny following complaints that pornography was e-mailed from a department computer to a frequent critic of city politics.