16 May

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, attended a meeting with several Houston, Texas public officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner. During this meeting, the group discussed, among other topics, what the UAE could do to help the city in its recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

In 2017, the government of the UAE granted Houston $10 million to help with rebuilding, with the embassy, in particular, hoping to assist further. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba spent the meeting discussing the natural disaster with those in the city, hoping to better understand the scope and scale of Hurricane Harvey to better plan assistance.

Additionally, other UAE leaders met with Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba later in the day to celebrate the official opening of the Houston UAE Consulate, which will hopefully facilitate more immediate and understanding help in rebuilding. From the UAE, the Minister of Energy, Minister of State, and Consul General in Houston all attended a ribbon cutting ceremony alongside local Houston city council member Amanda Edwards.

The group attended a reception following the initial ceremony, hosted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and the others also spent time with patients receiving treatment at the cancer center, focusing on those with UAE origins.

The entire day demonstrated the alliance between Houston and the United Arab Emirates, with Consul General Saeed Al Mehairi emphasizing the bond between the city and his home country, adding, “The Consulate in Houston is a testament to our commitment to Houston and the local community.”

This is far from the first time the UAE has pitched in to help the United States after a disaster. For several years, the UAE has helped the US endure and rebuild after several major tragedies. For example, when the 2013 Jopin, Missouri tornado swept through the city, the UAE’s embassy called to offer their help, eventually assisting in rebuilding the city with a focus on the school system.

As such, Hurricane Harvey is only one of the latest natural disasters for which the UAE has come to America’s aid. It likely won’t be the last, either.

24 Apr

Grand Cayman: More Than You Can Imagine

Imagine living on a Caribbean island where the sun rises and sets on the water. A place where every indulgence is satisfied and where safety and comfort is at the forefront of your existence. A place where the living is easy, and the fun and excitement is intense.

This does not have to be a figment of your imagination as Grand Cayman has all of this and more to offer. In fact, it’s not hard to make this Grand Cayman dream a reality by owning a gorgeous, luxury Caribbean villa at Casa Luna. Life does not get any better than this.

The Ultimate Island Lifestyle
Consisting of eighteen freestanding villas that are right on the waterfront, Casa Luna Villas have an extraordinary design coupled with much-desired tranquility. The property is conveniently managed to provide you with a stress-free environment. The tropical living at Casa Luna Villas is very contemporary, and the design was influenced by historical architecture. The villas are exclusively located on the south-west shore of Grand Cayman, and in a park like setting that combines the best of Caribbean and European traditions. The landscape of the property was well thought out and brings out the best characteristics of the property. These are the components needed for an ultimate island lifestyle.

Casa Luna: Interior and Exterior
This breathtaking island resort has more than exciting beachfront homes. It is adorned with plant life, lush vegetation, a babbling brook, and even a bridge. The detached homes sit on a four-acre property, with each one slightly elevated from the other. the homes range from three to four bedrooms and are positioned to maximize the view of the sea.

The Casa Luna villas allow moderate sun exposure, and they are connected by shaded courtyards, stone staircases, and walkways that are secluded, and private. The exterior of the villas features terracotta roof tiles that accent the contemporary design of the interior. The sleek, elegant designs are varied, allow the owners a choice of interiors.

Whether you want to buy a villa for personal living, or as an investment property where you can see vast returns on your investment. Renting to vacationers who want to enjoy the island atmosphere would be well worth the investment. Consider a luxury villa at Casa Luna as your Caribbean paradise when it comes to relaxing living on your own, personal beachfront property.

31 Jul

On July 7, 2017, an anticipated change of leadership took place at the C-III Asset Management sector of C-III Capital Partners. Kevin Donahue, who has been the company’s acting president and senior managing director has stepped down to take a backseat role in the firm citing personal reasons. In an email shared with The Commercial Observer, the company noted that Barry Davis has taken over the position now as the President of the C-III Asset Management sector for C-III Capital Partners.

Donahue who had joined the firm in a management position in November of 2012, stated that he had made a personal decision “to spend more time with his family”. He stated he needed time to “recharge” and refocus more on his personal life. While he does intend to remain active in the industry to some capacity, the extent of his involvement and his future endeavors remains unclear at this moment.

Davis, who is the new acting president, joined the firm in 2010. He has served as the Chief Operating Officer of C-III Capital Partners since 2011. The company will now be run by a core management group of which Davis will lead. The core group will include Davis as President, Lindsey Wright as Senior Managing Director and Jenna Unell as the company’s General Counsel. These three will comprise the core of C-III Asset Management’s executive management team as the company moves forward with their future plans and endeavors. C-III is managed under Chairman and CEO Andrew Farkas.

In a statement released by the firm by Frank Garrison, President of C-III Capital Partners, the company acknowledged their deep appreciation for all of Kevin Donahue efforts for the firm since his hiring in 2012; “We appreciate Kevin’s many contributions to C-III Capital Partners. His leadership helped navigate the firm” citing his help was pivotal through an extraordinarily busy period for the firm.

Frank Garrison further stated his excitement as the company looks towards the future during this transition. He noted that he felt very confident with Barry Davis’s expertise, noting his appreciation for the new incoming President Barry Davis’ abilities to carry the C-III Asset Management sector to new levels of future success, “We are fortunate to have someone of Barry’s caliber.” He cited that he had the utmost confidence in Davis’ years of industry expertise as well as his time and dedication with the firm. He believed that Davis will help the firm with the transition with little disturbance and will readily help them with their future growth in the real estate industry.

21 Jun

Known for natural beauty and resources, Maine has a tradition of being a rural, scenic state. Readers of Steven King will be well acquainted with the image of Maine’s unique beauty and charm. Maine is carrying this tradition into the future, while still finding room for new business and industries to grow and bring much needed additional capital into the state.

Sparked by the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) introduced in 2001, Maine is now better positioned to compete in the economy. The NMTC has led to new job opportunities throughout the state at both new and existing businesses. The US Treasury department allocated more than $80 million through the legislation to be used as tax credits to economic development projects. A prime example of this is a plant in Baileyville; in operation since 1905, the plant had a pressing need to upgrade to modern equipment and infrastructure. With the passing of the NMTC, the plant was able to save 300 existing jobs and create almost 100 new positions.

By focusing on the areas with a higher level of poverty and unemployment, the NMTC drives cost effective private investments and provides special financing opportunities for small to medium sized business. The legislation is credited with saving or creating more than 1500 jobs, and has had a secondary effect of supporting thousands of additional jobs in the communities served. This show of innovation has attracted new investors and projects to Maine, breathing a fresh life into many neighborhoods. Portland based CEI Capital management is reported to have used tax credits received for 90 projects since 2004, and has saved and created over 4700 jobs. Projects have been used to support growth in manufacturing industries, as well as the arts, health care, conservation, technology,  hospitality, and agriculture.
Olympia Snowe, a former Maine Senator, was outspoken in her support of the New Markets Tax Credit. Her confidence in the acts ability to drive industry and capital to Maine has been infectious in other states considering similar programs. By empowering investors to become more active in Maine, and creating incentives to keep existing industry where it is, Maine has found the perfect solution to both high unemployment rates and increased people living at and below the poverty line. Maine residents are assured prosperous years to come, in part thanks to the New Markets Tax Credit.

27 Mar

IGY Marinas (Island Global Yachting Marinas) has broadened its Florida marina holdings with the opening of One Island Park – Miami Beach. The super yacht locale on Miami Beach’s Terminal Island is a sign of the company’s intended growth strategy in Florida.

Tom Mukamal, IGY Marinas chief executive officer, commented in a statement that One Island Park – Miami Beach will not only enable the company to draw attention to its services but will also appeal to even larger vessels.

The marina has the capacity for private vessels up to 222 meters or 730 feet in length and a depth of 12 meters or 40 feet as well as dockside electricity. In addition, the marina is exempt from Captain of the Port (COTP) zone regulations, which means vessels can arrive and depart without advance notice. It is situated nearby the U.S. Coast Guard Station. The marina is also located close to Miami’s trendy shops as well as dining, restaurants and leisure activities.

Located on site, concierge BWA Yachting provides the vessels with support services that range from last minute specialized concierge requests to the handling of a single port call. Furthermore, the company announced Gili Wojnowich would take on the position of general manger of One Island Park – Miami Beach.

Wojnowich handled the responsibility of making direct support available to the company’s decision makers as well as presenting detailed examination and underwriting assistance in his most recent position as operations manager for IGY Marinas corporate. He had previously worked as general manager for several IGY marina locations including Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina in New York and Marina at Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas.

One Island Park – Miami Beach will also take part in IGY Marinas global community outreach program, Inspire Giving Through You. The philanthropy program brings volunteers together to give back to the local communities and non-profit organizations that surround the marinas where the company operates.

IGY Marinas, which was launched in 2005 and founded by Andrew Farkas, specializes in servicing and managing luxury-yacht marinas worldwide. The company carries its business out in Colombia, Mexico, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Panama and Turks & Caicos as well as in the US.

16 Feb

The 2011 Ideas Festival was hosted by United Emirates Ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba and his wife Abeer at Nobu Matsuhisa. The Festival was held in honor of Walter Isaacson who was the CEO President of Aspen Institute. It was a private business dinner by invitation only. The event attracted numerous guests in an array of fields from factory work to media. The chef of the hour was Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. The event was sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

The event was held to discuss an array of topics from 9/11 to green technology to the meaning of happiness. Many significant leaders included Alan Greenspan, Sandra Day O’Connor and Robert Putnam. Among the topics address included the rise of the Tea Party in the 2011 elections and other imminent changes that could affect the future of American Policy.

The AIF (Aspen Ideas Festival) Blog that year was titled How Refugee Children Envision the Future. In it, Lina Sergie Attar spoke about life in Syria. Attar’s family moved to Syria from upstate New York when Attar was just 12 years old. She described Syria being so war-torn that families make refugee camps their home and the children there cannot imagine their futures without it. In Syria, compared to the U.S., citizens are expected to submit to authority down to the letter. Attar has since founded the Karam Foundation, which is designed to provide aide to Syrian refugees.

Some other ideas discussed during the festival were preventing gun tragedy in schools, educating students more holistically for success, bridging the gap between the working wealthy and machines that can “craft smarter”.

In the prevention of gun tragedies, Perri Peltz, Maria Cuomo Cole and Nicole Hockley stated that, on average, 95 people are killed due to gun violence and six of those are in their teens or younger. Nicole Hockley’s six-year-old son was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy, which motivated her to found the Sandy Hook Promise. Maria Cuomo Cole is a film producer whose documentaries have focused on social issues such as PTSD and gun violence. If that’s not an idea worth promoting, then one has to wonder what is.

In Beyond Test Scores, Shirley Brandman, Tom Shriver, Pamela Cantor and Jim Shelton discuss the fact that too many schools are missing the true point of educating children. This is due to the fact that schools still emphasize only the academics and this is not working anymore. As a result, social and emotional competencies need to be emphasized as well.

10 Jan

Recently, National Harbor Marina has been acquired by IGY Marinas. The acquisition of this marina allows IGY to offer its services to the Washington D.C. area for the first time, making the deal of great consequence for the company.

IGY has a targeted expansion strategy in place, and has had its eye on National Harbor. The marina has become a significant tourism terminus and source for new development projects, making it an ideal target for expansion opportunities. Alongside Chairman Andrew Farkas, IGY CEO Tom Mukamal claims that National Harbor has been a top priority because of the high success of the development in the area. The marina can also provide significant potential as destination for yachting. Mukamal is excited to work with the area’s stake holders and their partners to make National Harbor a yachting top location for the nation’s capital.

IGY will immediately begin implementing its services and operations within National Harbor Marina. They will also use their existing relationships in hopes of raising the profile of the marina through special events and philanthropic initiatives.

National Harbor offers special feature and is known in the area for their excellent customer service. It has over 70 floating dock slips that can quarter yachts over 150 feet long, and up to a draft of 9-feet. The marina also has amenities that include water and refuse bins, Wi-Fi and cable, private showers, laundry facilities, and a security gate to name a few.

IGY was founded in 2005 and the company has the focus of acquiring, managing and servicing marinas and the real estate properties that surround them. IGY is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but also has offices in St. Thomas and New York City. Their network of properties has set new standards in nautical tourism all over the globe. The have an unrivaled collection of marinas that cater to a plethora of vessel types like cruisers, sailing, motor yachts, and sport fishers.

IGY is a participant in 10 of the world’s biggest fishing tournaments, making some of their marina locations highly desired. Their locations are renowned for their levels of service. IGY’s service division has a wide variety portfolio that provides solutions for each and every owner including accounting, insurance, development, branding and marketing, and design and engineering. The company even has in-house staff members with the expertise to help their clients.

They approach every situation as if they are owners themselves. IGY has a complete understanding in managing local relationships and logistics. IGY is an affiliate of Island Capital Group, LLC.

22 Nov

A commencement speech affirms your graduation into the new world. Attending college is a thirst for knowledge and each year, a commencement speaker reminds you that your thirst for knowledge doesn’t have to stop with your graduation. Your hard work and dedication should guide you to help reach your dreams and goals. Speakers encourage graduates to take their commencement into the future and never stop learning. You’ll new embark a journey into a world outside of college that thrives on your ability to keep learning and be willing to grow. Some of the most prominent graduation speakers this year include:

President Barack Obama
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, gave a historical commencement speech at Howard University this year. As the leader of this country, he went on to encourage the future leaders of tomorrow. He was very personal with the audience ensuring them that he knew it took a long hard road to get there. He affirmed how college has allowed some to gain lifelong friends and others to discover what they are truly made of. As a strong believer in the progress of humankind he encouraged the new graduates to do the same. In addition, President Obama encouraged them to embark on their special responsibilities and to seek the spirit of achievement. He received a well-deserved standing ovation for his commencement speech.

Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba gave a heartfelt speech at the New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus. Stressing the importance of uniting the United States and the UAE his speech further reinforced his efforts to improve the bond between the two countries. The ambassador was selected to his stance on the value of openness. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s speech encouraged graduates to embark on the new world with peace, diversity, and tolerance for all people.

Larry Ellison
Founder of the Oracle, Larry Ellison, gave a moving commencement speech at the University of Southern California. In his speech, he advised the 2016 graduates to pursue their dreams. He offered up advice that he learned from Steve Jobs who was a good friend of his for over 30 years. Larry Ellison also encouraged the graduates to be committed to the improvement of the lives of others throughout their work after graduating. He noted achievements throughout life are as valuable as academic success.

6 Sep

Following a substantial donation, the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami Health System (UHealth) recently honored the Soffer Family. The charitable gift, given to the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami make research, education, and clinical care possible. To honor the Soffer Family, the Clinical Research Center has been renamed the Don Soffer Clinical Research Center. Don Soffer was joined by his children, Jeffrey and Jackie Soffer at the ground breaking. This name change marks the possibilities that are now possible through the gift, and recognize the incredible community that has formed around the Miller School of Medicine.

Founded six years ago, the Miller School of Medicine is just one part of the UHealth System, but the ability to educate is vital to the University. Present at the celebration were current and past students, faculty, and community leaders, all there to support the university and the new goals it has set with the funds that were made.

In addition to supporting new research happening at the research center, the money donated will also go to building a new center of education that will complete the campus’ medical center. This medical education building broke ground on the same day as the renaming celebration and puts the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine at the forefront of medical education.

School leaders noted that having access to, and being able to provide students, doctors, and patients with access to, education resources, research facilities, and areas to practice care make for a fully sustainable health center. It also makes the university a healthy competitor among health centers and educational institutions.

Drawings of the new building to come were part of the unveiling, and on hand for guests to view. New technology, access to more medical resources, and a new auditorium are the most prominent features to be added to campus within this new space. The Soffer family gave $25M to the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute earlier this year, in what is the largest donation the Institute has received. The majority of the funds will go to continuing stem cell research already being conducted, as well as funding new research. Stem cell research is important to creating therapies in the fields of aging, sports injuries, and cardiology, which doctors at UHealth specialize in.

10 Jun

The Perez Art Museum of Miami’s art collection has just increased in size thanks to generous donations. The PAMM recently received 100 works of art donated by Jorge Perez, the namesake for this contemporary art museum. Perez is a Miami resident with roots in Latin America, and his collection and home express his cultured tastes.

The PAMM has a new head of operations, Franklin Sirmans, and the patrons of PAMM are very excited, and the collection shows it with the addition of donated works by Perez and others.

An additional 100 pieces were recently given to the PAMM by real estate power couple, Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer (wsj.com). Robins like many in the Miami art community is very excited to have Sirmans taking over the helm at PAMM. Sirmans seems to be at home in this exciting city that represents the best of the Americas.

Miami has been in need of an exciting contemporary art museum to rival galleries and art museum like the Hirshorn in Washington; D.C. Miami is a new city with a strong cultural background when compared to art centers of the world; Paris, Rome, London. Moscow, and New York. But with the energies of Miami, it could rapidly become on par and surpass the other art capitals. The city of Miami has done everything right in situating the PAMM in a prominent location and should help the city to elevate its position as a tourist destination for art lovers as well as beach lovers.

Miami has become an international destination. Long regarded as a tourist destination known for great beaches and warm ocean surf. It is regarded as a perfect place to live, work and enjoy everything that a great city can offer: professional baseball and football, an annual world-class tennis tournament, off-shore fishing, and skin diving. Florida has a history of not being affected by drastic economic slumps. Residents enjoy a nearly perfect climate and a thriving entertainment community with fine restaurants, even public transportation for tourists. Miami citizens and guests have all the requisite items necessary for a Shangri-La with the possible exception of tropical storms, hurricanes, and a rising sea level.

Perez and Robins have made great contributions to the culture of Miami, and now it is up to Sirmans to continue the PAMM on its way to becoming the central point in the Miami cultural world.