MIA Could Soon Add Flights To Africa, Ireland And Israel

Regularly scheduled passenger flights to Africa, Ireland, and Israel could soon be added at Miami International Airport. South African Airways is considering connecting MIA to three African cities. The airline would add a triangular Johannesburg – Cape Town – Miami – Johannesburg route. In addition, a second flight from Johannesburg would fly to Abidjan, Ivory Coast and then on to Miami. In order to start the service, South African is requesting an exemption from Star Alliance to enter into an agreement with another carrier, and a meeting between the two sides is scheduled for this month. Should the alliance and airline’s board approve, the flights could be announced later this month and start in May 2016. To Ireland, Aer Lingus is considering a Dublin-Miami flight. MIA officials traveled to Ireland to meet with the airline in August, but were told that the service likely wouldn’t start until the Summer of 2017. Airport staff also continue to heavily court El Al, and held discussions with the airline in recent weeks. Traffic between Miami and Tel Aviv has grown 55 percent since 2009 despite the lack of a nonstop flight. Some of that traffic was funneled on American Airlines through Philadelphia, and MIA officials hope that American’s decision to pull out of Israel will lure El Al back to Miami. KLM has also recently expressed interest in returning on the Amsterdam-Miami route. At the same time, Amsterdam’s airport has been lobbying American Airlines to start the route. Source:...

More Luxury Brands Heading to Miami’s Design District

Miami’s Design District will soon be home to the first stores in Florida for trendy designers Isabel Marant, Alice & Olivia, Joseph, and Zilli, as the neighborhood continues to transform into a luxury shopping destination. On the heels of Hermès launching its new flagship store in the Design District last week, Dacra said more than a dozen upscale retailers have signed leases, including high-end brands Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, Tod’s and Loro Piana. In addition, Turkish jeweler Sevan Biçakçi will open its first location in the United States, and Be Miami, a high-end sneaker and contemporary streetwear concept will launch an original flagship. Among specialty stores, perfume house Creed will open its first location outside New York. Skincare line Aesop will also open a store, and high-end Italian marble furniture showroom Citco will launch its first location in the United States, which will feature a Zaha Hadid collection. “We’ve been for the past year basically a large construction site,” Dacra President and CEO Craig Robins told The Real Deal. “The opening of Hermes, for me, was the tipping point, where all of the sudden we have a small but very solid critical mass of brands that are now open, and we can see more activity in the neighborhood.”   Source:...

FIRST LOOK: Plans For Underline Linear Park In Miami

The designers of the Underline, a linear park that’s proposed beneath part of the Metrorail tracks in Miami-Dade County, unveiled their plans on Nov. 4. The county hired James Corner Field Operations to design the walkways, bike paths and parks on the 10-mile corridor from the Miami River to Dadeland South. They held a series of public meetings to come up with the plans, which need final approval from the county.  The 10-mile Underline will be Miami-Dade County’s first mobility corridor integrating all modes of transit. The Underline is the spine of a future connected network of countywide bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure and trails. | Source: https://www.theunderline.org The Underline would feature a series of parks and activity nodes along the trail, along with more friendly paths for pedestrians and cycling. Dozens of intersections would need to be improved. The parks would have features such as rock climbing, play grounds, fitness equipment, and pop-up retail. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden worked with the designer on a plan to restore native plant life to the area along the paths. The Friends of the Underline non-profit group that’s supporting the initiative estimated the project would cost $120 million to build. It aims to combine public funding with donations. The Related Group has already signed on as a major supporter. Its goal is to build the Underline by 2022, but some of the parks in Brickell would come on line first. Source: biz journals.com, The...

All Aboard Florida Unveils Trains, New Name For Miami-Orlando Service

  All Aboard Florida, the speedy new passenger-train service scheduled to begin operations between Miami and Orlando in 2017, unveiled some of its new trains Monday, and then promised an immediate upgrade — from eight inches long to about 80 feet. “I promise you the real thing will be a lot bigger than this,” said All Aboard Florida president Michael Reininger at a press conference where the company released some details about the trains, including the tiny, brightly colored model cars and a name for the service: Brightline. Actually, the current size of the cars seemed much to the liking of some of the politicians invited to the event. “I feel like Godzilla!” exclaimed Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, towering over the models and — prudently, after the cameras finished clicking — launching a ferocious mock swipe at them. While Bovo relived his childhood fantasies of terrorizing Tokyo, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had more practical concerns, carefully inspecting his ceremonial first Brightline boarding pass. “Is this first class?” he inquired. Ground broke on new stations and upgraded track for All Aboard Florida late last year. The privately owned and operated line plans to run 16 round-trip trains a day between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, covering the 235-mile route in about three hours. Monday’s disclosures included the Brightline name and a color scheme to match — cars painted vivid shades of red, orange, green, blue and pink. With yellow locomotives — because Florida. The trains will have food and drink service, reserved seating, facilities for carrying pets and free Wi-Fi service and...

Home-Loan Borrowers Bypass the Banks

Almost half of home-purchase loans now come from independent mortgage companies, which say they can offer faster, cheaper loans.   Look out, banks. Home buyers are increasingly turning to independent mortgage companies for their loans. In 2014, nondepository independent mortgage companies originated 47% of completed home-purchase loans and 42% of refinance loans, according to data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. That’s up from 43% and 31%, respectively, in 2013 and the largest share of the mortgage market held by non-banks since 1995. Examples of nonbank lenders include Quicken Loans, now the nation’s second-largest retail-mortgage lender, behind Wells Fargo.Another lender, Irvine, Calif.-based Loan Depot, filed an initial public offering in October. And Finance of America Holdings, a Blackstone Group company, is poised to become one of the nation’s largest nonbank lenders after recently completing the acquisition of Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services, Pinnacle Capital Mortgage and certain assets and operations of PMAC Lending Services Inc. The vast majority of nonbank mortgage volume is still from conforming mortgages backed by Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, but nonbank lenders are eager to increase their market share of jumbo loans, says Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication that tracks originations. Jumbo mortgages have dollar amounts above conforming loan limits of $417,000 in most areas and $625,500 in some pricey home markets, such as New York and San Francisco. Still, banks may have an edge in the jumbo market. Because these loans exceed government limits, lenders either must sell the loans to a tiny secondary market of mortgage-backed securities (less than 3% of all jumbo mortgages), or hold them in portfolio,...