South Florida Business Journal
by Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter
Date: Friday, February 17, 2012, 1:47pm EST
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has directed his government to stop paying the rent on its Miami office.
It’s not often a landlord gets to evict a nation, but Tibor Hollo is doing just that to Venezuela and its consulate in Miami.
TWJ 1101 LLC, which owns the office building at 1101 Brickell Ave., filed an eviction lawsuit against the government of Venezuela, its economic development bank and its consulate office on Feb. 7. The building is owned by Florida East Coast Realty , led by Hollo, its president.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezannounced in January that he would close its consulate in Miami after Livia Acosta Noguera, its Miami consul general, was expelled from the U.S. She was subject to an FBI investigation over allegations that she was involved in a potential cyber-attack on the U.S. government – news unveiled by Univision.
Hollo said the Venezuelan officials have cleared out of his building and he hasn’t been able to contact them.
“Since January they haven’t paid rent, so I want to evict them,” he said. “The office is there. Nobody is in the office. All the furniture is there, but they aren’t there. I want my money or my space back.”
Hollo noted that Banco Industrial de Venezuela, a state-owned bank, is current on its lease payments for another suite in that building.
Having a bank office in Miami helps Venezuelans in South Florida with some financial transactions, but the loss of its consulate makes it harder for them to get documentation such as passports.
Given the eviction lawsuit, it looks like a Venezuelan Consulate in Miami won’t be reopened anytime soon.
Swire’s deep freeze puts icing on mega-project CitiCentre
By Scott Blake
Miami Today February 9, 2012
With its massive Brickell CitiCentre project, Hong Kong-based Swire Properties is bringing a different twist to downtown Miami development — underground parking — that also will involve a first for the city: groundwater freezing, a project official told Miami Today.
“It’s never been done in Miami,” said Steve Krysowaty, president of CBP Construction Consultants in Miami.
Currently, preparatory work is being done for the freezing around the perimeter of the site, he said.
Using rods or tubes containing super-cold liquid nitrogen, groundwater freezing is needed while building a barrier to prevent more groundwater from entering the site. Eventually, the water will be defrosted and sucked out of the ground to make way for the complex’s foundation and two levels of underground parking, he said.
Overall, plans call for a six-story shopping mall, two office towers, two condominium towers, a large hotel, and plethora of amenities such as restaurants, nightclubs, a movie theater and a bowling alley.
Construction is expected to start before the end of the year with completion hopefully sometime in 2015, Mr. Krysowaty said.
Project officials at Swire’s Miami office did not return calls for comment.
Until now, developers have avoided going underground for parking in Miami because of the extensive groundwater here. Likewise, groundwater is spread throughout the CitiCentre site, Mr. Krysowaty said, adding that the complex’s foundation will be anchored to bedrock some 50 feet or so below the surface.
The underground parking is necessary because Swire wants CitiCentre to be a “street level” development immediately accessible to both residents and visitors on the ground, according to people familiar with the project.
That’s a unique feature in Miami, where large developments typically have multi-level parking garages on the bottom floors, with the featured development on top.
In addition, pile testing has been done on the site to determine the ground’s capability in various spots to support the weight of the structures, Mr. Krysowaty said.
The CitiCentre site involved in the freezing is divided by Miami Avenue and located primarily along Southeast Eighth and Seventh streets. The parcels are boxed in on the west by Southwest First Avenue and go just east of the Eighth Street Metromover Station.