FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


Miami-Dade County Business Briefs - June 2005

In the News

HOMESTEAD -- Homestead-Miami Speedway plans to install outdoor lighting that will allow prime-time events at the 1.5-mile oval track. The $8-million project will be completed in time for the 2005 Ford Championship Weekend event series Nov. 17-20.

MIAMI -- Miami is seventh in the nation in the Small Business Administration's annual Regional Entrepreneurship Index, which ranks cities by their ability to foster business startups. According to the SBA data, Miami produces 5.8 new businesses annually for every 1,000 residents.

The MTV Video Music Awards will return to downtown Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena for the second year in a row. Miami beat out New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles for the Aug. 28 event. Tourism development officials are still giddy about last year's awards, which broadcast to a worldwide television audience Miami's skyline and a parade of stars arriving to the waterfront arena by yacht.

Construction has begun on the Miami River Greenway, a long-planned pedestrian walkway that planners hope will one day run the length of the Miami River from downtown Miami to Miami International Airport. The project's first two segments should be completed this month.

Mercy Hospital has agreed to sell 6.6 of its 42.5 waterfront acres in Coconut Grove to Boca Raton-based Ocean Land Investments for $96 million. Miami-based developer Related Group of Florida will build three condominium towers there.

MIAMI-DADE -- Miami Metrozoo is planning a 20-year, $350-million expansion that will include new wildlife exhibits, a water park and a hotel/restaurant complex. The first phase -- the Tropical America exhibit featuring a re-created Brazilian rainforest and a Costa Rican cloud forest -- will open in 2007. The zoo was hit hard by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 but has slowly recovered. Its Wings of Asia aviary reopened in 2003.

Three Miami-Dade firms -- home builder Lennar Corp. (NYSE-LEN), transportation and logistics company Ryder Systems and fueling services provider World Fuel Services -- have been named to Fortune magazine's list of most admired companies for 2005.

The Miami-Dade School Board has approved a five-year, $3-billion spending plan to build and expand schools. Overcrowding in Miami-Dade's school district -- the nation's fourth-largest -- is reaching crisis proportions. Officials say voters may need to approve a construction bond to augment state and local funding. Meanwhile, school officials are expecting a boost in federal aid after new Census data revealed the number of Miami-Dade school-age children living in poverty has jumped 11% since 2000.

MIAMI BEACH -- Meeting Planners International will hold its World Educational Congress in Miami Beach on July 10-12. Tourism officials say the event will generate $3.5 million in local spending but, more important, is expected to generate an estimated $150 million in meetings and convention bookings in Miami-Dade.

SOUTH FLORIDA-- South Florida leads the nation in healthcare salary growth, reports Business 2.0 magazine. Leading the industry: Physical therapists, whose pay jumped 29% last year, and pharmacists, up 24%. The study is based on data from the Milken Institute, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Global Insight.