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Miami-Dade Business Briefs - March 200

In the News

CORAL GABLES -- The University of Miami has received a $13-million grant from the Walter H. Coulter Foundation to establish a center dedicated to transferring biomedical research into approved drug therapies and medical devices. Brothers Wallace and Joseph Coulter revolutionized medical diagnostics in the 1950s with the invention of the first automated blood cell counter.

FISHER ISLAND -- The exclusive 216-acre residential island community off the southern tip of Miami Beach has been acquired by a French investment group, Euro Fund Properties, for an undisclosed price. About 675 condo units have been built on Fisher Island. The new owners have rights to add about 200.

MIAMI -- Citing continuing losses, the Miami Herald Publishing Co. has pulled the plug on Street Weekly, its free, entertainment-oriented tabloid launched in 1999 to compete with Miami New Times and other alternative weeklies.

Islandia, N.Y.-based Computer Associates International has opened a regional headquarters in Miami to oversee its Central America and Caribbean operations. The company, which specializes in management software, reported worldwide revenue of nearly $4 billion last year.

MIAMI BEACH -- The famed Fontainebleau Hilton hotel will be acquired by Aventura-based Turnberry Associates from developer Stephen Muss for an undisclosed price. The new owner will pump about $150 million into the property over the next two years, adding a luxury spa, new restaurants and entertainment facilities.

MIAMI-DADE -- Institutional Investor magazine ranks Stuart Miller of Lennar Corp. (NYSE-LEN) and Micky Arison of Carnival Corp. (NYSE-CCL) as the best chief executives in their industries. The magazine's annual Best CEOs in America ranking is based on ratings from investors and brokerage analysts.

Residents of the Cutler Ridge section of southwest Miami-Dade have voted to incorporate. After county officials and local residents agree on a charter, the area will become the county's 35th independent municipality.

Specialty insurance provider Assurant, which employs about 1,700 at its south Miami-Dade subsidiary, will be spun off from its Belgium-based parent, Fortis. A year ago, Fortis sold off 65% of Assurant but now hopes to sell the rest of the company in a deal involving the sale of stock and bonds worth more than $800 million.

MIAMI LAKES -- Developer William A. Graham, chairman of Miami Lakes-based The Graham Cos., has received the Beacon Council's Jay Malina Award, given annually to the executive who has "contributed the most to the growth of his or her industry in Miami-Dade." Graham is the older brother of former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

OPA-LOCKA -- This city of 15,000 in northwest Miami-Dade has the highest rate of violent crime in the nation among cities larger than 10,000 residents, according to a report released by the FBI. Opa-locka is one of the state's poorest cities with a long history of municipal corruption and mismanagement. A year ago, Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Mayor Myra Taylor after her arrest on federal tax fraud charges.

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA -- The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area is the fourth most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, according to the "Mean Streets" study conducted by the Surface Transportation Policy Project. The nation's three most dangerous areas, as measured by pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents: Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Greater West Palm Beach.