Monthly Archives: February 2007

West Miami was Founded by Defiant Gamblers and Bar Owners

After confirming that Sweetwater was founded by Russian circus midgets, I thought it advisable to look into other incorporation stories. As it turns out, some are quite interesting. The City of West Miami defiantly came into existence as a reaction to the County’s decision to ban gambling and restrict bar operating hours. West Miami’s residents incorporated the city in 1949 to keep their bars open till the wee hours of the morning and gamble away as they pleased. Too bad it didn’t work out in the long run.

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More Construction Site Danger

A construction worker by the name of Felix, while working on the 10th floor of a Downtown Miami office building, was thrust into an action packed nightmarish emergency. Not surprisingly, construction resumed one hour later. I hope Felix got the day off.

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Plans For Downtown Marlins Stadium Becoming Clearer

The image above is representative of past failed efforts to follow through with a new baseball stadium plan. Today, the Marlins are in a favorable position with an excellent Downtown location being offered by the County and a reasonable financial arrangement. The Marlins Stadium is planned to be built by 2011 on nine acres of  County-owned land. The property is located just north of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, which is the CBD’s transportation hub, is right off of the I-95, and has a few thousand parking spaces readily available. The stadium is expected to cost $490 million. The Marlins are responsible for $207 million ($45 million up front) and the County will front the rest of the money in the form of bonds that will be paid off by the Marlins in the form of rent. The Marlins are also responsible for cost overruns. The 36,000 capacity stadium will have a state-of-the-art retractable roof (similar to the rendering above) and will fuel more westward development in the Central Business District, Overtown, and Parkwest. The Sun-Sentinel has an informative article on the matter with a supplementary video.

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Damn That’s Smart Leviev and Boymelgreen!

New Buyers at the Marquis and Vitri will receive complimentary Bronze Center Membership at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. This membership is usually priced at around $12,500. The developers (Leviev and Boymelgreen) claim that they are strong supporters of the arts.

Yeah. Whatever. Keep em’ comin’. This is what I’m talking about. Perks; what buyers don’t expect but love. All other developers better take notice. Buyers at Met might just be getting Heat season tickets soon. Leviev and Boymelgreen have made a move that will undoubtedly set a pattern into motion.Thank God. It’s about time developers start giving buyers some serious outside-of-the-building perks.

When the projects are under construction, those launch parties and artsy fartsy events are nice with free filet mignon, ceviche, liquor, and half naked glittery dancer ladies. But, what about when the project tops off? What then? No more glitz and glamor? Well, not if you buy at the Marquis and Vitri. They get to enjoy the PAC in style.

There are victims though. The old buyers only get 20% off. Too bad, but I get it. They got the good deals. The “new buyers” will have to pay up.

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The City of Sweetwater was Founded by Russian Circus Midgets!!!!

At least I had heard this a while back in a Miami Politics course while in college. I wasn’t sure I believed Professor Moreno but felt that he had no reason to lie. Still, I was skeptical. Until I looked deeper. The fact is Sweetwater was really founded in 1941 by Russian circus midgets and accordingly many of their homes were miniature. I would like to know if these homes have been preserved. If they haven’t, that’s a shame. I also want to know if they left or if their decendants are still around. Hmmmm. I always thought Sweetwater was a bit weird, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Anyhow, the now predominantly Hispanic city is neighbors with the rapidly expanding FIU and is expected to become more and more of a college oriented community. From Russian circus midgetville to an emerging collegetown, pretty interesting transition. This will have to be looked into further.

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City of Miami Offering New Land for Development

The City is offering an interesting property for development. The property is located at 400-430 SW 8th Avenue. What is really interesting is that there are no height restrictions. The density being allowed is 150 units per acre. The developer who acquires the property must allocate 20% of the units for affordable housing. The property is located west of the I-95 and the Miami River in an area not seeing any significant development. Since there is no height restriction, and the developer has to allocate 20% of the units for affordable housing, you can expect whoever takes control to put forth a uniquely laid out building plan to compensate. This seemingly small deal is important because it signifies a westward high density push past the I-95. There are few major developments west of the I-95. Neo Vertika and certain smaller scale projects along the Miami River and the SW 3rd Avenue Corridor have not yet signaled a major push west, but this development with it’s government endorsement and no height restriction might help do just that.

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Galveston Residents Worried About City Resembling Miami Beach

Galveston residents are alarmed that a lack of height restrictions and some recently announced beach front high rise developments may lead to the emergence of a Miami Beach-like skyline along their shores. It’s rather interesting to see that they draw the Miami Beach parallel. It demonstrates that Miami Beach is the country’s quintessential urban beach. Miami Beach has consistently been considered the top urban beach in the country. Comparable beach front skylines can be found in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but not so much in the U.S.–possibly with the exception of Atlantic City, New Jersey and Waikiki, Hawaii. There are some respectable urban beaches in Florida, but they lack the luster of Miami Beach’s impressive assortment of high rises. Galveston should be excited and flattered by this turn of events not concerned.

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Minneapolis Star Tribune Hails Miami as a New Center of Global Commerce

Miami is a new center of global commerce

No longer just fun in the sun, the city has become an international business center by serving as the U.S. gateway to Latin and South America.

MIAMI – From Key Biscayne, just across the bay, you can count at least 31 construction cranes in Miami, erecting condominiums, office buildings and public facilities such as the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in October.In the 35 years I’ve been a regular visitor to the city, I’ve watched the steady growth of greater Miami. But in the past five years or so there’s been an explosion of growth in the Miami-Dade County area.

The city has long been a world center of tourism with attractions like South Beach. But Miami’s ambitions transcend fun in the sun. Since the 1980s, Miami has made an effort to be identified not only as a Latin America-based business center but a true center of international business.

To that end, Miami has upgraded its ocean ports, Miami International Airport and its cultural infrastructure, as well as a host of other aggressive economic development initiatives.

The region has long provided a haven for capital fleeing unstable South American countries, Cuba being the foremost example. But Xavier Gonzalez, director of marketing for the Beacon Council, the Miami area’s official economic development agency, points out that more Europeans are investing in Miami, individually and through companies wishing to make Miami the regional office for their Latin American operations.

More than 1,000 multinational corporations have regional offices in Miami. These represent not only the traditional connections with Latin America but also businesses from Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East.

Underscoring Miami’s global diversity are these facts:

• The Miami-Dade County area has a total of 60 foreign consulates, ranging from Argentina to Austria, France, Japan, Lebanon and Turkey.

• There are 20 foreign trade offices representing such countries as Taiwan, Italy and Thailand.

Most international cities like London, Paris and New York have, over the years, created a brand equity that has given them a competitive edge in the world marketplace.

Miami has done this with a combination of a tourist industry as well as a reputation for ease of business with Latin America. Much of this advantage comes from its location.

As the competition for international business continues to grow, U.S. cities must reinvent themselves and highlight the special aspects of their economies in order to attract the world’s business.

Minnesota and the Twin Cities do not have Miami’s geographic advantage nor the huge draw of a world-class major tourist industry.

But they have other competitive advantages that have placed them high on the U.S. list of international cities: a well trained and educated workforce, a reputation as a leading “knowledge economy” and a high quality of life.

In order to stay in the race, Minnesota and its premier cities must continue to invest in the elements of the economy that make for a competitive environment, such as superior education and business infrastructure.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his director of trade, Tony Lorusso, deserve credit for their efforts to keep Minnesota and its cities recognized on the world scene as internationally oriented business communities. Their 2005 trade mission to China and the mission to India in October say a lot about that effort.

Miami has recognized that it cannot rest on its laurels as the connection to Latin America. It must continue to invest in the infrastructure that will appeal not only to U.S. companies doing business in Latin America but also to European, Asian and Mideastern companies that wish to do business from the safety of the United States while being provided with the services and cultural understanding of Latin America.

It used to be said that if you want to capture the pulse of Latin America you need only go to Miami. Today, it can be said that if you want to do business in Latin America as effectively as if you were actually there, you need only open a regional office in Miami.

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BoB Will Return on Sunday

I’m leaving on vacation today and will not return till Sunday evening. I’m going to make every effort to update the blog, but may not be able to until I return. Anyhow, there are several important updates and reports coming soon to BoB: Miami.

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Gentrification Awareness Increases As FIU Students Protest

Gentrification is one of those unpopular issues, like homelessness, that no one seems to talk or care about. Lately, there has been an abrupt shift in interest, particularly with the younger college generation. This is quite evident now with the shantytown set up by FIU students protesting the displacement of some Liberty City folks. This student-run three day protest will end up in Umoja Village.

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