WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
A Singular Voice in an Evolving City
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE & OFFICE SPACE
Unique Brickell deal uniting storage, offices, retail, pg. 13 BOATS ON DISPLAY: As part of the Miami International Boat Show Feb. 16-20, city commissioners approved an agreement with NMMA Boat Shows Inc. to use docks at city-owned Miamarina at Bayside downtown. The National Marine Manufacturers Association has presented the Strictly Sail portion of the annual boat show at Miamarina since 1999, “providing excellent exposure of the city’s marina to an estimated 100,000 annual attendees from all over the world,” says a city staff memo on the deal. This event is expected to bring about $119,510 revenue to the city. The show displays more than 2,300 of the world’s newest power boats, sailboats, engines and accessories. For the second year in a row, the main venue is the land and water around Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key.
Dynamic suburban office areas battling with urban core, pg. 15
By Camila Cepero
FREE BOAT SHOW PARKING: Brickell City Centre is offering six hours of free parking and shuttle service to water taxis going to the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key today (2/16) through Feb. 20. Free shuttles will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with the last water taxi leaving for the show at 4:30 p.m. The center is also hosting a lounge for boat show attendees on the second floor at the South Miami Bridge, 701 S Miami Ave., where the garage is located. Last year about half of all boat show attendees arrived by water taxi. GAS UPS AND DOWNS: Gas prices rose and fell in Florida this week, depending on who is compiling the figures. AAA says prices rose on the weekend after 38 consecutive days of declines in the state, while GasBuddy price tracking service cited prices in the state down slightly, including in Miami, where the price was down 0.8 cents per gallon to $2.38 on average over the week ended Sunday. GasBuddy said the national average rose 1.4 cents a gallon in the week to $2.27 per gallon. CASH A WEAKER KING: The percentage of Miami residential real estate buyers who do all-cash deals is far ahead of the national average even though all-cash purchases here are on the decline. In 2016, cash deals were 45.7% of Miami’s total closed sales versus only 21% nationally, according to Miami Association of Realtors figures. But Miami’s all-cash figure was even higher in 2015, when 51.8% of all deals were in cash. The association says international buyers tend to be the ones paying cash, and international sales have fallen here as a percentage of all deals. Cash alone was used in 60.3% of all condo closings here last year, the association said, but just 30.6% of single-family sales. MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN: The Miami Beach City Commission has approved naming the South Pointe Park Fountain after former Deputy Police Chief Mark N. Overton, who died in November after 32 years of service.
Photo by Cristina Sullivan
Guiding law firm, Beach chamber, sea level committee The profile is on Page 4
Six new transit corridors could cost $3.6 billion Hunt narrows, no fund source works, pg. 3 forward in three to five years and federally funded for three of the corridors at $906 milMiami-Dade officials have just mapped out Backers fast-track northeast rail line, pg. 8 lion, $896 million from the state and $350
By Susan Danseyar
their overarching Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan, eliminating some key unknowns, but are still analyzing where to find money to fund its six corridors. For the first time, now plans include price tags, up to $3.6 billion. Commission Chair Esteban Bovo Jr.’s Policy Council Committee, which he said was set up to discuss such pressing priorities, including transportation, met for the first time last week. For transportation, it’s important to speak about funding, Mr. Bovo said. “We already have a plan but need to know how to pay for it.” Transportation chief Alice Bravo provided an overview of corridors and estimated cost, for the first time filling in major blanks of the SMART Plan. A key decision appears to be the mode of transit along each corridor. As spelled out, corridors and their modes are: ■Miami Beach, a 3.3-mile elevated Metromover from Miami’s Museum Park Station to Fifth Street and Alton Road in Miami Beach. ■East-West, a 10-mile at-grade, partially elevated Metrorail extension mainly along
El Al route pulls nearer via huddles
State Road 836 from the Miami Intermodal Center to Florida International University. ■Kendall, a 10-mile, at-grade Metrorail along the Kendall Drive median from the Turnpike to the Dadeland North Metrorail Station. ■North, a 9.5-mile, at-grade Metrorail extension along the Northwest 27th Avenue median from 215th Street to the Martin Luther King Jr. Metrorail Station. ■Northeast, a 14-mile, at-grade commuter rail in the Florida East Coast Railway corridor from downtown Miami to Aventura using existing tracks. ■South, a 20-mile, at-grade Metrorail extension along the existing transitway. For a fast track, with all corridors moving forward immediately in two to six years, available capital in 2017 dollars, the cost is $3.6 billion, Ms. Bravo estimated, with no federal funds, $896 million from the state and $350 million in existing People’s Transportation Plan value. That leaves a $2.34 billion gap. A bit slower, with all corridors moving
million in existing People’s Transportation Plan value, the total is $3.6 billion with a $1.43 billion funding gap. On a slow track, with segments moving ahead as cash flow allows, $413 million in federal dollars, $488 million from the state and $350 million in existing People’s Transportation Plan value, cost would total $1.9 billion with a $702 million funding gap. Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin proposed raising parking ticket fees to bring substantial SMART plan money. Historically, all cities had their own courts and issued their own tickets, Mr. Ruvin said, but new state law changed that. “The county does get money for parking but not fines.” Miami-Dade ticket fees are well below state average, Mr. Ruvin said; his staff will work with the county attorney’s office on legislation to alter that. State law regulates how much money from parking violations can be used, said a member of the county attorney’s office. Staff is trying to determine to what extent Miami-Dade could levy an added fine.
Miami International Airport is inching closer to serving Israel’s El Al Airlines after county aviation officials visited Israel this month. The delegation, led by Director Emilio T. González, met with senior officials from El Al and Ben Gurion International Airport, the airline’s hub, Israel’s main international airport and its busiest, 12 miles southeast of Tel Aviv. Officials all discussed a MiamiTel Aviv route and best practices in airport operations and security. El Al officials first visited Miami International in February 2016 and met four months later with Miami-Dade officials at the 2016 International Air Transport Association General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin. “We are extremely grateful for our growing relationship with the leadership teams at El Al Airlines and Ben Gurion Airport,” Mr. González said in a statement. “The lessons learned and information shared was invaluable. “Additionally,” he said, “as El Al considers adding new markets to its network, we appreciate the opportunity to continue discussions toward renewing service between Miami and Tel Aviv – two of the world’s most strategic destinations for air service expansion.” ElAl, which could not be reached, has invested in a top-of-the-line jet, ordering the Boeing 787. According to Miami International Airport, many foreign carriers are in the midst of fleet revitalization and expansion, as both Boeing and Airbus are offering new, efficient, long-range planes such as the Boeing 777 and 787 and Airbus A330 and A350. The Boeing 777, a family of the world’s largest twinjets, has a typical capacity of 314 to 451, with a range of 5,235 to 9,500 nautical miles. Last year, Miami International welcomed six new passenger lines and four all-cargo carriers and expects five airline service launches this year. This month alone, three airlines began serving Miami International: Mexico’s Volaris, Qatar Airways Cargo and Canada’s Fir Air.
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The Insider SAFETY FOR PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS: As part of an agreement with the University of South Florida, City of Miami police will take part in a new Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Enforcement Campaign 2017. City commissioners approved the initiative, which includes reimbursing the city for police expenses not to exceed $60,000. The Florida Department of Transportation, through a deal with the university, utilizes law enforcement to educate and enforce safe pedestrian, bicyclist and driver behaviors in highpriority counties to reduce crashes and fatalities involving pedestrians and cyclists by using traffic enforcement details and community education. The transportation department has allotted funds for overtime pay for officers conducting on-street enforcement that promotes pedestrian and bicycle safety or making on-street contacts with the public to deliver the initiative’s safety messages. A PLACE FOR STUFF: The City of Miami has contracted for storage space. The city commission on Feb. 9 accepted the sole bid from MV Self Storage LLC, dba BoxVault, to provide self-storage facilities city-wide as needed. The three-year deal has the option to renew for three more years. The estimated annual cost is $30,000. Last year, city departments identified a need to rent self storage, says a staff memo. In October, the Procurement Department invited bids. Only the one bid was received. NEW FIU DEAN: Joanne Li, dean and professor of finance at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, will become dean of the College of Business at Florida International University in May. She will replace Jose M. Aldrich, acting dean since May 2015, who joined the college in November 2013 after a 35-year career at KPMG, where he was managing partner of the tax practice in Latin America. He will stay on as vice dean. Dr. Li came to the US as an international student from Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from Florida State University. She was at one time chair of the Department Joanne Li of Finance at Towson University in Maryland. Under her, “leadership, entrepreneurship and international education and engagement will be at the center of our College of Business,” said FIU Provost Kenneth Furton. COUNTY PLANNER: In an appointment by Dennis Moss, county commissioners have named Perley Richardson Jr. to the county’s Planning Advisory Board, the county’s designated local planning agency. Mr. Richardson is president and CEO of Richardson Consulting Group and is a retired Internal Revenue Service agent of 35 years. SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES Dennis Moss DIP: Miami single-family home sales fell 5.3% in 2016 to 13,164 total sales, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. The median sale price of those homes was $295,000, up 11.3% from the 2015 median of $265,000. The average percentage of original list price that single-family homes brought was 95.6%, up 0.2% from 2015. The median number of days to contract for Miami single-family homes fell to 50 from 56 days in 2015. Perley Richardson
CONDO RESALES DROP: Condominium resales in 2016 fell 14.4% in Miami-Dade County in 2016, the Miami Association of Realtors reported. Total existing condo sales were 13,604 at a median price of $212,500, up 6.3% from the median of $200,000 in 2015. The median number of days to contract for a condominium sold in 2016 was 71 days, down from 76 days in 2015. The average percentage of list price received for a condo resale was 93.9%, the association said. DEMYSTIFYING COURTS: Miami-Dade residents headed for court, as well as those just curious about how the court system works, can get an insider’s look from a different judge in the Miami-Dade Courts every month in a new series of video podcasts entitled “Community Connect Online.” The series is geared to help the public better understand how to navigate the courts and what to expect when they do come to court. Each podcast is to feature a different division of the courts. They’ll be posted at www. jud11.flcourts.org. Said Bertila Soto, chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit, “our goal with the podcasts is to Bertila Soto demystify the court process and thus make the courts more accessible to the public.” GREEN MOBILITY: Miami-Dade’s Department of Transportation and Public Works is collaborating with local transportation non-profit Green Mobility Network to launch a Transportation Quickbuild Program to move projects such as crosswalks and bike lanes forward faster at lower costs. Funding it is a $150,000 grant by Green Mobility Network from New York-based non-profit Transit Center Agency. The first phase is a contest, Quickbuild Challenge, in which cities and citizens submit ideas for quick-build projects. A committee will rank the projects and the department will test top ideas. The next workshop providing technical assistance for the public will be 6-8 p.m. Feb. 21 at the South Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay. Details: http://www.miamidade.gov/transportation/quick-build-program.asp FLORIDA-FRIENDLY LANDSCAPING: The Miami Beach City Commission on Feb. 8 approved adding native species to tropical landscapes, incorporating the best management practices within city parks using the Florida-Friendly Landscaping guide. The guide will help the city practice planting in the right place, efficient watering and many other plant-friendly practices. EXECUTIVE AIRPORT PATH: Miami-Dade officials estimate a cost of $3.055 million to construct a multi-use path around the perimeter of Miami Executive Airport, including the required relocation of the air operations area fence. The Office of Management and Budget, with assistance from the Aviation Department and Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department estimate that the annual operating costs for the path will be $70,900 ($12,500 in maintenance, and $58,400 in annual rent to the Aviation Department, pending Federal Aviation Administration approval.
WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Committee debates who may study county charter, and what they’ll see By Susan Danseyar
The County Commission’s Government Operations Committee on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to legislation that would create a Charter Review Task Force to analyze whether revisions to the county charter are necessary, although the precise membership was a topic of concern. Daniella Levine Cava said this would allow a five-year review, per the dictates of the charter – which is the equivalent of a constitution for the county. “It does not say how we should do this but just that it be completed every five years.” This May marks the 60th anniversary of the county’s charter, she said. After, she said, it’s time to review. The last time it was completed was in 2012. “What I’m proposing is similar.” With all the changes the commission is going to have such as term limits, Rebeca Sosa said, none of the 17-member task force should be from the county’s League of Cities. Rather, she said, membership should be more people “trained to deal with the items affecting us directly,” with mainly people the commission selects – 13 by the commission, one by the mayor of Miami-Dade and one from the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation. Jean Monestime countered that he’d rather have a member of the League of Cities than of the MiamiDade Legislative Delegation as “year after year,” one or another state legislator does not vote in the county’s best interest. One must be very careful who is on such a task force, said Joseph Martinez, “because people have an agenda.” He recalled when he last
‘If there’s any part of the charter we feel must be reviewed, then Commissioner Levine Cava can bring this back.’
‘If we want more or better representation on the charter review task force, I’ll ask for a larger board.... I’m open to more discussion.’
served as a commissioner that the commission had a charter review and people had meetings to see what others thought. Ms. Sosa advised deferring the item and leaving the resolution as a discussion item. “If there’s any part of the charter we feel must be reviewed, then Commissioner Levine Cava can bring this back.” Ms. Levine Cava, who co-sponsored the legislation with Commission Chair Esteban Bovo Jr., said she would not lay down her sword over the issue but did feel a wide view, including members of the public, would be a good idea for a charter review. Xavier Suarez advised not deferring but moving forward with approving a charter review task force. This might cause some dispute in future discussions, he said, but it’s necessary to review the charter.
Ms. Sosa said she would not support such a resolution if a member of the League of Cities is allowed to be a member of the task force and moved to amend the resolution to specificy that the membership be 13 members appointed by the commission, one by the mayor and another be the chair of the MiamiDade Legislative Delegation or the delegation chair’s appointee. The amendment passed. Before the vote, Mr. Monestime said it was best to move forward. “If we want more or better representation on the charter review task force, I’ll ask for a larger board,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m open to more discussion.” For now, Mr. Monestime said he didn’t mind voting on the item, rather than not, with the hope a fuller discussion will take place before the full commission.
County to offer free WiFi at airport, seaport, elsewhere, pocket a profit By Susan Danseyar
Electronic Media Systems Inc. is soon to offer free WiFi at MiamiDade County facilities, including Miami International Airport and PortMiami, for eight years and pay the county at least $500,000 or half of quarterly gross advertising revenue. Under an agreement county commissioners approved last week, airport customers will be able to get free, uninterrupted 30-minute WiFi for a 24-hour period. To get the free access, users will be directed to a promotional ad for up to one minute. After those 30 minutes, the user can sign out, sign back in and be directed again to an ad for one minute to get added free uninterrupted access for 30 minutes at the maximum connection speed of five megabytes per second. For standard pay-for-use, customers can opt for one hour of uninterrupted service with no ads for $4.95. Multiple sessions will be available. The maximum connection speed will be eight megabytes a second. A premium pay-for-use option, which is 24 hours of uninterrupted service without advertisements, will cost $7.95 for up to 20 megabytes
per seconds. Subscription-based plans may also be offered at a price the Miami-Dade Aviation Department approves. The operator will monitor the service, inform the department of inadequate capacity issues, and work with department staff to ensure appropriate bandwidth is allocated. Electronic Media Systems (EMS), a subsidiary of Boingo Wireless Inc. located in Miami, has been in business 27 years. According to legislation, the company will hold two forums yearly for county staff to review the Wi-Fi system and services. In addition, EMS will provide information to county staff on topics like the latest technical standards, industry trends, and public Wi-Fi offerings at other US airports. EMS has performed satisfactorily on an existing five-year contract with the county, administration told commissioners. EMS is working on an online database to supply reports with compliance breakdowns and resolutions to the Aviation Department, which is to work with the company to define the content and format for each report.
Moreover, the company is to provide Wi-Fi network engineering consulting services to the Aviation Department at no charge as needed for up to 20 hours monthly.
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WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
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Don’t cut state spending that turns a big profit and adds jobs A hammer blow to tourism and jobs last week won’t prove fatal but should stun us all, because it could cost Florida’s economy billions. That 10 legislators could vote to stop funding Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida, Michael Lewis the Office of Film & Entertainment, the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, Florida’s international offices and other economic programs is shocking. Have these folks noticed that Florida is a tourist state? Or that a large percentage of their constituents earn livings from other businesses that these state agencies help grow? Last Wednesday’s 10-5 House subcommittee vote was shocking. In a Thursday Appropriations Committee hearing, senators seemed incredulous that the House group had voted to kill the goose that lays Florida’s golden eggs. The organizations slated for the guillotine, said Sen. Jack Latvala, “all produce a net increase in tax revenue over and above what we invest in them, and all five of those are included in a bill the House passed out of a committee yesterday to abolish.”
The Senate hearing was told those programs return up to $5.60 in taxes for each $1 the state invests. The Legislature’s top economic analyst said that to count as $1 of state tax return they must trigger $16.67 in spending. That means that these programs cause up to $93 in spending for every dollar the state invests. Where could Florida use money more profitably than get 93-to-1 leverage and end up with more than five times the spending returning to the state budget while building tens of thousands of jobs? This is profitable investing we can’t afford to stop. In fact, based on these numbers, the more the state spends on marketing our business the more it profits in growing tax collections that far outpace spending – and the more jobs Floridians hold. Shut that marketing down and the economy would suffer. The Florida Chamber of Commerce estimates cutting this spending would increase – not reduce – state taxes on the rest of us by $89.1 million a year, because Florida households save an average of $1,535 a year as the visitor industry alone drives increased revenue to the state. The state’s investments in jobs are already too small. Gov. Rick Scott this year budgeted only $85 million for Enterprise Florida – last year in vain he sought $250 million in job incentives alone for the agency – and $76 million for Visit Florida, down from $78 million. Why the state would cut funding to build visitors and jobs when every dollar it spends
brings in up to $5.60 to fund other needs is a question to ask those who are pushing to kill the golden goose. It’s hard to find more illogical action. The principal argument to stop marketing to the world is that visitors and jobs will flow in anyway because we have sun, sand and surf and no income tax. True, without marketing we’d still get most tourists and some companies would move in. But tourists and jobs that economic development efforts bring in would go elsewhere. If we lost only a small percentage of tourists or jobs to save marketing money we’d be far worse off. First, the Legislature’s studies show a $3.20 return in taxes for every dollar spent marketing to visitors – and we had a record 106.6 million of them last year, with every 76 visitors supporting one tourism job. Visit Florida studies show that “if visitation decreased by as little as 2%, Florida would lose $2.2 billion in travel spending. $225 million in tax revenue and 28,000 jobs.” State tourism investment totals only $76 million, and just a 2% loss for cutting off tourism marketing is probably a lowball. Why lose $225 million plus all those jobs to save $76 million? Each industry involved, including filming, tells a similar story: funding of economic development repays Florida far more than it spends. States that did end tourism funding lost big. Colorado did so 18 years ago and still
21st Century Cures Act is no health panacea Will patients benefit from the December signing of the 21st Century Cures Act? After listening to politicians and reading the headlines, most people might think it’s the best thing ever to come along for patients. “A new day for Trudy Lieberman medical research is on the horizon,” proclaimed Rep. Fred Upton, the outgoing chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which had just won a major victory. “The House and the Senate have passed this bipartisan legislation, which will ensure our health system can keep pace with incredible advances in science and technology,” Rep. Upton said in the GOP’s weekly radio address. “We needed to do better. And with 21st Century Cures, we will.” Media headlines mirrored Upton’s victory declaration. Headlines like this from the Wall Street Journal, “House Passes Health Bill to Speed Drug Approvals, Boost Biomedical Research,” seemed to say it all: faster drug approvals, more money for research, less pesky regulation. Or was there more to the story? Not everyone thinks the Cures Act will be wonderful for patients. But their voices were drowned out in the slick public relations campaign that Rep. Upton’s committee waged over the past few years using some 200 or so patient advocacy organizations to push for the bill. Most of those groups have strong ties to the drug and medical device industry. A recent study by Dr. Vinay Prasad, an oncologist at Oregon Health Sciences University, found that three-quarters of 68 cancer advocacy groups he studied disclosed sponsorship from pharmaceutical
Trudy Lieberman, a journalist for more than 40 years, is a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review She is also a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health She has had a long career at Consumer Reports specializing in insurance, health care and health care financing. Contact her at email@example.com. companies. Some groups received money from as many as 16 or 17. Dr. Prasad told me, “Ten years from now, someone with a cancer diagnosis will be worse off with this bill. People will be exposed to more things that don’t work.” Dr. Prasad and others say the Cures Act actually lowers the regulatory standards for drugs and devices. It’s a step backward for patients. In a nutshell the Act turns current regulatory practice on its head. Randomized trials, the gold standard for medical research, may disappear if a drug company wants to sell a medicine for a different condition than the one it’s already approved for. Instead, it can use “real world evidence” to show the drug also works for a new indication. Such “evidence” could be observational studies, which are less reliable than randomized trials but are cheaper and take less time. The FDA can use patient experience to inform its regulatory decisions – information about the impact of a disease or related therapy on patients’lives. The data can come from patients, family members, caregivers, patient advocacy organizations, disease research foundations and drug manufacturers. The agency can approve new drugs on the basis of data summaries rather than requiring the FDA to independently analyze study results for a new drug indication. Drug makers would have to submit all their data,
but the FDA would not have to review it. And although the bill authorizes billions for new medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the funding is not guaranteed, and the NIH would have to fight Congress for the money. The Cures Act is the culmination of a 20year effort by the drug industry and Beltway think tanks to loosen standards and permit new uses for drugs already approved in order to expand their markets. It can be traced back to the 1997 FDA Modernization Act, which was then – as the Cures Act is now – sold on the promise of getting cures to market faster. The 1997 law loosened regulatory standards and reduced the number of clinical trials needed for drug approval. Are the changes brought about by the earlier law a harbinger of what’s to come? The reporting by John Fauber and his colleagues at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers a cautionary tale. In the last few years the paper has reported how drug and device makers have spent huge sums of money to sell drugs for conditions that were once thought to be part of everyday life. The reporters found that drug companies turned conditions such as overactive bladder, adult ADHD, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder into medically treatable ailments. They reported that the latter was not even recognized as a mental disorder until 13 years after the first drug treatments were on the market. “Drugs used to treat the various medicalized conditions don’t work that well and often have side effects that are nearly as common as the benefit,” Mr. Fauber told me. Are we turning the calendar back to 1933, when a book called “100,000,000 Guinea Pigs” was published exposing the dangers of patent medicines? Federal oversight of drugs was pretty lax then, and patients died. It’s obvious drug makers will benefit from looser regulation. It remains to be seen whether patients will too.
hasn’t recovered. Pennsylvania in 2009 cut its tourism budget from $30 million to $7 million and lost more than $82 million in tax revenue. And it would be slow to get lost visitors back, because much of the globe can compete with sun, sand and surf. While 10 legislators are sure the globe knows the Florida brand and would visit or start a business here regardless, that’s wishful thinking. As Miami’s Bill Talbert, chairman of Visit Florida at a salary of zero dollars a year, points out, you’ve got to keep reminding them.After all, he notes, Coca-Cola keeps advertising and is hardly unknown. What does Coke know that these 10 legislators don’t get? The kill-the-goose legislation is foolish on its face, considering that the goose keeps laying golden eggs of both jobs and tax revenues for a feeding cost far below profits the state derives. While it’s unlikely that this bill will pass intact in the legislative session beginning March 7, we need to preserve every penny of profitable spending on economic marketing — in fact, add on. Remember, the more we spend to market the more the state and all of us profit in revenue and jobs. So, how much visitor and business spending and how many jobs do legislators want us to lose in return for actually losing total state tax revenues that could help in education, transportation and elsewhere? We all like win-win deals. But this one is purely lose-lose.
Rats, broken street lights central downtown issues
I applaud the “walkability” idea being promoted by the Miami Downtown DevelopmentAuthority, but I think the organization is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. As a resident of Greater Downtown Miami who walks around the neighborhood, I would recommend the immediate focus be on dealing with the rat infestation and the countless street lights that do not work. These two “simple” fixes would probably accomplish a lot more to change the perception of Downtown Miami for people who are considering walking – especially at night. For what it is worth, the Miami DDA may want to also consider a Central Business District vehicle toll – much like global cities such as Singapore or London – to generate revenue to fund the installation and management of more real-time cameras to provide a sense of safety and security. Peter Zalewski
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WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
City marinas proposals must come with local jobs built in By John Charles Robbins
Miami city commissioners have approved a new request for proposals to improve and operate the marinas on Virginia Key and they built in a local workforce requirement. Commissioners added language to the request for proposals that will require the winning proposer to hire a percentage of local workers. It was one of several changes commissioners made to a draft request for proposals prepared by the Department of Real Estate and Asset Management, or DREAM. The final request for proposals will require the winning proposer to hire at least 40% of its workforce from Miami-Dade County residents, and 25% of those must be City of Miami residents. Commissioner Frank Carollo pushed for the inclusion of local workforce requirements, noting the value of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Mr. Carollo’s amendment will also require that a third party verify the local workforce numbers
regularly and report back to the city administration and commissioners. The final document includes suggested changes from the public, the Virginia Key Advisory Board, the Sea Level Rise Committee and commissioners. The DREAM staff plans to publish the new request for proposals Feb. 17, with proposals due by May 18. City officials will be under pressure to select a winner, get approval from commissioners of that selection, and negotiate a lease by August, so the proposal can go on the November ballot. The city owns the waterfront land and voters are required to act on any lease. An earlier request for proposals launched in 2015 was controversial, led to contentious meetings and a bid protest, and ended with commissioners rejecting all proposals and starting from scratch. Some of the controversy stemmed from fears of overdevelopment of Virginia Key and adverse impacts on the historic
City seeks proposals to replace the Virginia Key marinas operations.
large basin, which fronts Miami Marine Stadium, closed since 1992. Just recently the commission approved borrowing $45 million by issuing bonds to fund stadium renovation and improvements, along with other work on the barrier island, most of which the city owns. Helping to pay for that work will be future revenue from the marinas.
The new request for proposals says the city is seeking “responsive proposals from qualified proposers willing to plan, redesign, construct, renovate, redevelop, lease, manage and operate a mixed-use waterfront facility including... a marina, boatyard, dock master’s office, ship’s store, dry storage, wet slip docks, and at least one restaurant.” Commissioners on Feb. 9 spent
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more than two hours carefully going over aspects of the new request for proposals. Several amendments were made to avoid challenges by unsuccessful proposers, and some wording was added and removed with the intent of limiting development of the marinas. Some supporters of stadium restoration wanted to ensure there will be no major commercial development of the island, including hotels. Others have been encouraging a return to glory days when the iconic concrete stadium hosted crowds for concerts and speed boat races. Resident Bob Deresz on Feb. 9 objected to portions of a draft request for proposals that mentioned a possible city mooring field in the historic basin, saying it would prevent using the large basin for boat races. Mr. Deresz said if the city allowed moorings in the larger basin, “you’ll never have these races.” He said the boat races are very popular and attract thousands. He also suggested the property be controlled by the city’s parks and recreation department. Commissioner Ken Russell itemized changes he wanted in the request for proposals, including that the reference to a possible city mooring in the large basin be removed. A controversial aspect of the 2015 request for proposals – allowing wet slips in the historic basin – had already been removed from the new request for proposals. Mr. Russell also successfully amended the request to include that no one from DREAM have a seat on the selection committee, and the Virginia Key Advisory Board be allowed to choose one of its members for the selection committee. Other highlights of the final request for proposals include: ■The deposit required on the project was increased from $2 million to $7 million. ■The development of the properties will not allow for a Special Area Plan, or SAP, under Miami 21 zoning; which allows developers more flexibility in design and density. ■The parking garage to be built as part of this redevelopment must be owned by the city and managed by the Miami Parking Authority. ■No deep dredging (beyond 8 or 9 feet) will be allowed, meaning the marinas will not cater to mega-yachts. The request for proposals also says the marinas project must follow a Virginia Key Master Plan adopted in 2010. “It is the intent of this RFP to encourage an integrally planned and designed development for the property that is both consistent with, and substantially adheres to, the Master Plan to the extent permitted by law,” it reads. Horacio Stuart Aguirre, an area businessman and chair of the Miami River Commission, spoke in support of the request for proposals to improve the marinas on Virginia Key. He said the recreational marine industry is one of the top industries in Miami-Dade County, providing sustainable yearly employment.
WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Commercial Real Estate & Office Space Unique project unites self-storage, offices, retail, residential By John Charles Robbins
Work may begin soon on a unique mixed-use development in the shadow of I-95. Called Megacenter Brickell, the project plans to combine multifamily apartments with office, retail, self-storage and parking on a high-profile site where the Brickell area meets East Little Havana. The project is to include two buildings at 420 SW Seventh St. and 427 SW Eighth St., from Megacenter Brickell LLC, which is affiliated with Megacenter U.S. Pablo Wichmann, president of real estate, said the company is lining up its final permits currently and hopes to break ground in six to eight weeks. “We are very excited to start the project,” Mr. Wichmann told Miami Today on Tuesday. Megacenter U.S. was founded in 2012 in partnership with Chileanbased Red Megacentro to develop its business model in the US, under the guidance of developers Patricio Ureta and Mr. Wichmann. Last summer, the city’s Urban Development Review Board recommended approval of the Megacenter Brickell project. Since then, the developer’s team has been working with a host of government offices to gain the needed permissions to build, according to Mr. Wichmann. A planned 12-story structure would include nearly 75,000 square feet of mini-storage space wrapped in changeable art, four levels of offices (about 6,670 square feet), a rooftop terrace for tenants, street level retail uses and
Megacenter Brickell in shadows of I-95 will include two buildings that may break ground in eight weeks.
parking for about 111 vehicles. The other building is eight stories with ninth floor rooftop amenities, about 57 residential units and ground-level retail. All told, the project would be home to about 10,000 square feet of retail. The residential units are described as multi-family, workforce rental units. The building faces Calle Ocho, or Eighth Street. “Since the [review board], we’ve been at work getting all the local and state approvals,” said Mr. Wichmann. “It’s an extremely complex project,” he said, noting that permits were needed from the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the state.
The site is bounded by three roadways under the control of the Florida Department of Transportation, which also had to approve the project, he said. Mr. Wichmann said it is quite an endeavor to gain all the permitting needed for such a complex project, but “fortunately that’s coming to an end.” The developer also requested nearly a dozen waivers to the city’s Miami 21 zoning code, including allowing up to a 30% reduction in required parking, a 10% reduction in setbacks above the eighth floor, increasing lot coverage from 80% to 84.2%, allowing vehicle entry off a primary frontage and more. “We were granted several waivers including a parking reduction,
and storage use was approved by warrant,” Mr. Wichmann said. “We had a great team … very experienced,” he said, naming law firm Greenberg Traurig and the project’s architects, Borges + Associates Architects. The attorneys and architects worked for months with city staff on details of the mixed-use proposal. Mr. Wichmann said the company can’t wait to get started on construction. The high visibility of the site is a plus, he said. “We believe it’s an obvious top development, at a great location with lots of exposure. [The site] should be great for what we’re trying to do,” he said.
Plans call for constructing all components at one time, and the timetable estimates completion in about 18 months, said Mr. Wichmann. The 12-story building is to have about 80 basement parking spaces, of the 111 planned, with the rest above the second level. There are to be six levels of storage and four levels of boutique office space. The developer believes the project will activate an underused one-acre site “uniquely positioned” at the convergence of three major streets: Southwest Seventh and Eighth streets and Southwest Fourth Avenue. The retail, storage and office uses will face Seventh Street, while the residential building will front Eighth. Adding color and dimension, large panels of artwork will cover the lower floor façade of the 12-story building. While the artwork will be replaced periodically on the building’s main façades, it will celebrate the evolution of Miami’s art scene, according to architect Reinaldo Borges. “Megacenter U.S. will be working closely with select artists to make this a very special and artful building that celebrates the art culture that Miami is nurturing,” Mr. Borges said. Megacenter U.S. and Red Megacentro offer office, warehouse and self-storage space in Chile, Peru and Miami. Established Megacenter storage locations here include 8600 NW South River Drive and 8460 NW Seventh Ave.
High rent, lack of land constrict needed county retail growth By Catherine Lackner
High rents and lack of available land combine to put pressure on retail in Miami-Dade County, observers say. Even with the opening of Brickell City Centre’s retail component and expansions of both Bal Harbour Shops and Aventura Mall, “we are not over-retailed,” said Boris Kozylchyk, executive vice president of retail service at Colliers South Florida. “Maybe soon, but not yet.” Destination shopping areas continue to do well, he said. A new Nike store just opened on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, along with a Marshalls. “It’s a good retail destination, though as a market, rates have become prohibitive there.” The Design District “is still a work in process,” he said. “It’s hard to tell how successful it will be. But it is a unique destination.” He predicted redevelopment
“We are not over-retailed,” says Boris Kozylchyk of county market.
will breathe new life into CocoWalk, a1990s shopping and entertainment complex in Coconut Grove. “It has a personality, and there’s a very bohemian feel to the streets around it. It’s not a Disney approach.” As rents rise, “you move to the next space,” Mr. Kozylchyk said. As Wynwood becomes too pricey, retailers will decamp for
Little Haiti, just as many came to Biscayne Boulevard when Miami Beach got too expensive, he said. But as the area’s population grows, so will opportunities for retailers, possibly in mixed-use developments that will spring up. “I am optimistic retail will continue to be strong in MiamiDade County,” he said. At just 3.2%, Miami-Dade County’s retail vacancy rate in the lowest in the US, said Lisa Ferrazza, a retail specialist who is senior director at Franklin Street Real Estate Services. In heavily populated Kendall, vacancy stands at only 2.5%, she said. “The biggest downfall for retail in Miami-Dade County is lack of available land,” she said. “For investors, it’s a good place to be if you’re already established, but it’s very difficult to break in.” Retail in the Doral area “is extremely hot right now, and Aventura Mall is always im-
Miami-Dade’s retail vacancy is the lowest in the US: Lisa Ferrazza.
portant,” she said. The mall is undergoing a $200 million vertical expansion that will add 315,000 square feet. The opening of retail in Brickell City Centre, the Aventura expansion and the proposed American Dream mall in Northwest Miami-Dade all represent the trend toward more retail. “We’ve seen tourism in-
crease, and retail sales increase, and that is prompting more development,” Ms. Ferrazza said. “But because of lack of land, there has been a slowdown. It’s hard to build to keep up with demand.” “One of the most coveted retail destinations in the world, Miami saw another strong year in retail sales, specifically in those made by visitors, as they spent more than $7.4 billion on shopping in 2015,” said JLL’s 2016 Florida Retail Report. It put occupancy rates in mid-2016 at 97% in Aventura and Kendall, 99% in Brickell, 96% in Miami Beach and 90% in downtown Miami. “Retail spaces saw sales per square foot for Miami reach $768, higher than any other metro area in the US,” the report said. “Landlords are taking advantage of the strong market, as the average rental rate rose to $26 per square foot in MiamiDade County, the highest in the state.”
WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Convention hotel team heads to third round of public input By Marcus Lim
A traffic report and a new study analyzing the need for a convention headquarters hotel were discussed in Monday’s eighth meeting of a Blue Ribbon Steering Committee looking to have a hotel adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center. At the first meeting of 2017, the team gathered to discuss whether there’s a need for a convention center hotel. They are looking to legitimize a hotel and find convincing reasons to persuade residents, who have so far been against a hotel. A hotel won 54% of votes on March 2016’s ballot, when 60% was required, and failed three years earlier as well. Naysayers have cited the traffic congestion that a hotel would generate, yet the studies showed otherwise – that a hotel could even reduce traffic. A case study by Miami Beach’s
transportation department examined Art Basel last December, which had 140,000 attendees over four days, with an estimated 11,677 vehicular trips. The study determined a hotel adjacent to the convention center could have reduced traveling. Also mentioned was that if the convention center had no events, traffic would increase, but to a manageable point, with an estimate of average trip times extending by slightly more than 30 seconds. The transportation department stated that it wasn’t trying to convince the panel that a hotel was needed, all it did was conduct a study and present the facts. Proposing another assessment on the need for a headquarters hotel by asking convention planners was John Kaatz, principal of Convention Sports and Leisure (CSL). The organization has focused on the convention industry to identify
‘We ask a question: what are the odds of attracting that event at some point in the future?’ John Kaatz what provides more visitations from event planners and attendees. “Once you have the data, you will be able to make a decision saying, where is the trade-off, where is the value for us?” Mr. Kaatz said. “Do we want [the hotel] to be larger as we get more events or do we want smaller and willing to sacrifice events because of other considerations?” Key issues to be looked at include the booking potential of the convention center if there is a headquarters hotel, defined events that would not book the convention center if there were no hotel,
assessing cost and event impact metrics for hotel development scenarios, and many others. “It’s a simple: show me what you got, what have you done,” Mr. Kaatz said of talking to event planners. “We ask a question: what are the odds of attracting that event at some point in the future? CSL would show the percentage of capturing an event through our report.” In previous meetings, convention experts expressed the need for 1,000 to 1,200 rooms to draw convention planners to use the city for big events. The convention center draws about 25 to 32 shows yearly, but experts have said bigger conventions will come if there is a headquarters hotel. CSL is to identify who will come and whether the number of rooms would affect their decision. One benefit Mr. Kaatz observed was that building a hotel can free up land, bringing potential value for the city to sell it as real estate.
An example he used was that car parking could be moved to the roof of the hotel or convention center as a parking garage, freeing old parking space for other ventures. “When you look at the return, how much is that real estate in Miami Beach worth? You basically created real estate out of thin air by moving the parking,” Mr. Kaatz said. “The value of the land can be a benefit.” The report would also show how other cities with convention center hotels are faring and what each city did to secure a headquarters hotel. Findings are to be revealed at the next meeting March 20. The public is to be invited to discuss why members do or don’t want a hotel – the third session of public comments on the issue. Details: hotel@miamibeachfl. gov for information, agenda and schedules related to the steering committee.
Loews heads to Beach fest unveiling $50 million upgrade By Marcus Lim
Loews Miami Beach Hotel aims to be a market leader, and by the end of February operators hope to cement that position by showing results of a $50 million renovation that modernizes the hotel with newly furnished rooms, artistic designs and family-oriented amenities in an attempt to enhance customer experience. The renovation’s three phases started in 2014 with some rooms and meeting spaces being renovated. Completion is due by Feb. 22, the date of the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival, for which Loews has been host hotel for 16 years. Alex Tonarelli, the managing director, said he felt the hotel could do more to elevate the guest experience to identify Loews as the premier hotel in the city. Alex Tonarelli “Without the customer, without the guest, we don’t have a hotel to operate, we don’t have business,” Mr. Tonarelli said. “Our goal has always been to stay as the market leader, and thanks to this renovation and service reputation that we built through hard work, I feel that we can maintain being the... market leader.”
Photos by Marcus Lim
In the redesigned lobby of Loews Miami Beach Hotel is “Star Dust,” a stone slab containing 100 minerals.
Guests can receive first impressions when they walk into the newly redesigned lobby. seeing Terrazzo floors instead of ceramic tiling and much more open space, and lobby desks closer to the wall to give more breathing room. “When guests travel, they do so in cramped conditions,” Mr.Tonarelli said, “in the airport lines, on airplanes, so this open space would give them more breathing room and they won’t feel so closed in.” A striking detail when guests are checking in is the new art design
called “Star Dust,” a gigantic slab of stone that contains 100 minerals. This was done due to the hotel being in the “art capital,” as Mr. Tonarelli calls it, of Miami Beach. Not just the lobby but every floor and the 790 newly designed guest rooms now have unique artwork. As the South Beach Wine & Food Festival comes around, Loews is trying to launch a food and beverage campaign, titled “Flavors of Miami,” with 15 local vendors supplying their dishes at the Loews’ restaurants to give guests a taste of what the city can
offer. They include Zak the Baker, Azucar Ice Cream, Wynwood Brewing, Better Sweet Miami and many others. The hotel will also benefit from a coffee bar called “Miami Joe,” which will serve caffeinated products from all over the world, including Panther Coffee, a local favourite. “It is like a bar that serves all different kinds of beer, but instead, we are serving all types of coffee, some types you may never even have heard of,” Mr. Tonarelli said. As renovations were underway,
the hotel continued operations and made sure it wouldn’t inconvenience guests. The team renovated floor by floor and made sure the floor directly above and below it had no activity to reduce noise pollution. Small details were observed in the renovations to ensure maximum comfort for guests, including having power plugs in every pillar and wall so customers can charge their phones in an age where everyone is constantly using their devices, and moving the concierge desk away from high-volume areas. Mr. Tonarelli said they constantly asked staff for their input as they knew the customers best. “Without the customer, without the guest, we don’t have a hotel to operate, we don’t have business,” Mr. Tonarelli said. “They are going to take great care of our guests, and if they do that, everything takes care of themselves.” Igor Omerhodzic, chief concierge who has been with the hotel since 1999, a year after it opened, gave suggestions on what customers want based on his observations and praised the hotel’s family-first approach towards employees as a motivation to see the hotel thrive. “You feel like a part of family here, everyone is welcoming, it helps you and that in turn makes you want to help guests,” Mr.Omerhodzic said. “It makes you feel appreciated.”
Brightline lines up tenants as it plans a summer rail rollout By Camila Cepero
Brightline has slowly been revealing tenants for its expansive 11-acre development in downtown Miami, with a mix of retail and office tenants promised, as well as a nearly 200,000-square-foot food hall. Brightline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, plans to begin train service from Miami to West Palm Beach this summer, including a stop in Fort Lauderdale, and anticipates a Phase Two expansion to Orlando in the future. The train is expected to travel from Miami to Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes, Miami to West Palm Beach in one hour, and Miami to Orlando in three hours.
MiamiCentral, at Northwest First Avenue between Northwest Third and Eighth streets and designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is an 11-acre downtown Miami development featuring retail, offices, residences and the Brightline train service. The development will include 2 MiamiCentral, a 10-story building with more than 190,000 square feet of Class A office space, and 3 MiamiCentral, a 12-story building with 90,000 square feet of Class A office space and 35,000 square feet of ground level retail. Brightline will be headquartered at 3 MiamiCentral. Announced office tenants include: ■Ernst & Young, an assurance, tax,
transaction and advisory services firm. ■Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. ■Cisneros, a global enterprise focused on media and entertainment, digital advertising, real estate and social leadership. ■Moss & Associates, a construction firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale. ■Florida East Coast Industries, Brightline’s parent firm, which will relocate its headquarters from Coral Gables. Aside from Brightline, the development will offer connectivity to Metrorail, Metromover, Metrobus and Tri-Rail. MiamiCentral will also include 800 residential rental units in two towers to open in 2019, and over 180,000 square
feet of retail and dining, including culinary marketplace CentralFare to open in late summer of this year. Designed by AvroKO, the marketplace, or food hall, and its signature restaurant, Monger, will encompass about 50,000 square feet on the second level of MiamiCentral and house six restaurants and more than 20 food and retail purveyors. In the past few months, MiamiCentral announced that 800 Degrees Pizza, a Los Angeles-based Neapolitan-style pizzeria, will open its first Florida location in CentralFare; Wynwood Yard’s Della Heiman will open her first permanent location of della bowls; and Parliament Espresso Bar will locate there.
WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Why Gatsby endures in greatness By Marilyn Bowden
Photo by Susan Danseyar
Judge Jennifer Bailey, left, Chief Judge Bertila Soto and Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin listen to commissioners talk of construction of a new civil courthouse at the Policy Council Committee last week.
To replace courthouse, 11 sites listed, but basis of funding still mystery By Susan Danseyar
Voters won’t approve a bond issue to finance a new civil courthouse for Miami-Dade, officials agree, so other funding methods will be necessary to replace a building with $73 million in unfunded projects. That’s the estimate of necessary work through 2025 on the current courthouse built in 1925, said Internal Services Department Director Tara Smith at the County Commission Chair’s Policy Council Committee meeting last week. For façade work, $25 million has already been invested, she said, and there’s other work to be completed for certification in 2020 that totals about $39 million. No source of funding has yet been identified for the aging building at 73 W Flagler St. Two task forces have agreed the civil courthouse needs substantial repairs and is no longer able to serve the county’s needs, said stakeholders during the Feb. 9 meeting. Due to its age and the growth of the criminal justice system, the county must replace the civil courthouse, said Chief Judge Bertila Soto. The task forces found that using one building is better than splitting up the courthouse, and that the facility must be 600,000 square feet, located downtown and near public transportation. Consultants have been hired to explore whether a public-private partnership is viable and take into account that the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department operates six correctional facilities in a complex of buildings across the county, certain conditions of which have
F ilming These film permits were issued last week by the Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory & Economic Resources’ Office of Film and Entertainment, (305) 375-3288; the Miami Mayor’s Office of Film, Arts & Entertainment, (305) 860-3823; and the Miami Beach Office of Arts, Culture and Entertainment-Film and Print Division, (305) 673-7070. Great Artist Series. Miami. 50 Years of Culture in South Florida as brought by. Miami Beach citywide. Sunsetprod Inc. New York. Les Angels. Countywide. Machete Productions. Los Angeles. Wags Miami Season 2. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide. Sharp Entertainment. New York. Happily Ever After 2. Miami International Airport.
been found by the US Department of Justice to violate the rights of inmates. Another consultant the county hired a few years ago is putting the finishing touches on the master plan update on the operational needs of the civil courthouse, providing the most current information to accompany the comprehensive master plan developed in 2008. At the same time, various stakeholders have been meeting and discussing possible locations for the new civil courthouse. To date, Ms. Smith said, it seems best to look at county-owned properties, given that there’s no dedicated funding as yet for construction. The locations task force members and stakeholders have identified are: ■The Miami-Dade County Courthouse. ■The West Flagler building. ■The Cultural Center. ■The Cultural Center garage and office building ■Stephen Clark Center land on the west side. ■Stephen Clark Center land on the north side. ■Downtown motor pool and lot. ■The Hickman garage. ■The Hickman building. ■Surface lot of the Children’s Courthouse. ■Overtown Lot #45. When the task force next meets, the Downtown Development Authority will be invited, said Commissioner Sally Heyman. “We want to find out what’s at play for all the stakeholders,” she said. “We will then come back with a report, possibly for our full commission meeting in April, and report on the findings.”
Kinetic Content. Los Angeles. Little Women Atlanta. Miami International Airport. N House Productions. Miami. Carters. Countywide. Stillmax Media LLC. Miami Shores. Fashion Catalog-Brice/ Laura. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide. P. Studios Productions Inc. Miami Beach. Top Shop. Countywide. Photography by Depuhl. Miami. Parks Department Photoshoot. Countywide. N House Productions. Miami. Next Directory. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide. Beth Studenberg Inc. Miami. Venus Swimwear. Crandon Park Beach. Spike Productions Corp. Biscayne Park. Klingel. Countywide, Miami Beach citywide. Paragon Production Services Inc. Miami Beach. Fashion Catalog. Crandon Park Beach.
In “So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures,” National Public Radio book critic Maureen Corrigan makes the case for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best-known work as a candidate worthy to be crowned the Great American Novel. Ms. Corrigan is guest speaker at a members-only meeting of the Brickell Avenue Literary Society scheduled for noon today (2/16) in Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St. (Details: 786-6914521 or contact@BrickellLiterary. org). The society is sponsored by Sabadell United Bank, the National YoungArts Foundation and Miami Today. “So We Read On” sets out to answer three questions: “How did ‘Gatsby’ come to soar so high and why does it stay aloft, fighting off critics and changing tastes in fiction? Why did ‘The Great Gatsby’ come to be the novel that shows up on curricula in high schools across the country? And why is ‘Gatsby’ the American novel that deserves to be read at least twice in one’s life, if not, say, every five years?” These conundrums, it turns out, are best answered in reverse order. Ms. Corrigan, who teaches the novel annually at Georgetown University and estimates she’s now read it “upwards of 50 times,” admits that on
first reading she was underwhelmed. “The bad news is that we read it in high school or even (shudder) junior high,” she writes, “when we’re much too young, too defensive emotionally, too ignorant about the life-deforming powers of regret.” Why, then, is “The Great Gatsby,” like algebra, a dreaded inevitability in high schools across the nation? The short answer: it’s short.At under 200 pages, Ms. Corrigan says – less than two-thirds the length of “So We Read On” – it fits nicely into the constraints of time and (presumably) short attention spans, alongside other notably slim classics such as “ATale of Two Cities,” “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Ethan Frome.” But why “The Great Gatsby,” which debuted in 1925 to disappointing sales, has endured for nearly a century is a tougher question. Attempting to answer it sent
Ms. Corrigan on a journey from the stacks of the Library of Congress to the Fitzgerald Collection at the University of South Carolina to her former high school, to sit in on classes where students were encountering Jay Gatsby for the first time. A short biography of Fitzgerald included in the book focuses on material that might help explain why a boy from St. Paul, Minnesota, became so fascinated with upper-crust New York during the Jazz Age. “I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich,” he wrote late in his short life, “and it has colored my entire life and works.” Whether or not readers agree with Ms. Corrigan’s assessment of the stature of “The Great Gatsby”in American literature, “So We Read On” is a great read, as entertaining as it is informative. Its greatest gift may be its celebration of the joys of reading, transmitted on every page through the enthusiasm of a reader par excellence. Maureen Corrigan, who also writes the Book World section of The Washington Post, is a winner of an Edgar Award for Criticism. She is the author of “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading.” “So We Read On,” by Maureen Corrigan, 344 pages, is $26 hardcover from Little, Brown & Co., an imprint of Hachette Book Group. Details: www.littlebrown.com.
PUBLIC NOTICE SOUTHEAST OVERTOWN / PARK WEST COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL SCATTERED PARCEL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY: DEVELOPMENT AND SALE OF 1611 NW 3RD AVENUE AND REAR PARKING LOT AT 1490 NW 3RD AVENUE RFP NO: 17-01 The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (the “CRA”) is seeking proposals for the development and sale of 1611 NW 3rd Avenue and the rear parking lot at 1490 NW 3rd Avenue, Miami Florida 33136. The CRA is declaring its intent to dispose of its interest in the referenced above property and is seeking proposals from private developers or any persons interested in undertaking to develop the property. Completed Responses must be delivered to the City of Miami - City Clerk’s Office, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, Florida 33133 no later than 11:00 am on Monday, March 20, 2017. Any Responses received after the above date and time or delivered to a different address or location will not be considered. RFP documents may be obtained on or after Wednesday, February 15, 2017, from the CRA offices, 819 NW 2nd Avenue, 3rd Floor, Miami, Florida 33136, or from the CRA webpage: http://www.miamicra.com/seopwcra/pages/procurement.html A non-mandatory pre-submittal meeting will be held at the CRA offices on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10:00 am. It is the sole responsibility of all firms to ensure the receipt of any addendum and it is recommended that firms periodically check the CRA webpage for updates and the issuance of addenda. The CRA reserves the right to accept any Responses deemed to be in the best interest of the CRA, to waive any minor irregularities, omissions, and/or technicalities in any Responses, or to reject any or all Responses and to re-advertise for new Responses as deemed necessary by the CRA without notice. For more information please contact the SEOPW CRA office at (305) 679-6800. #25369
WEEK OF THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
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