Association seeks to provide direction for Dadeland area

By Richard Yager….

Members of the newly formed Dadeland Business Association include (l-r): Stephen H. Smith, Levy A. Wong and Phyllis Sah McHenry of Dadeland Plaza LLC; Jack Goodrich, Datran Center; Mercedes Etcheberry and Jose Monros, Dadeland Marriott; Sue Carvalho and Sherry Halstead, Tate Enterprises, and Michael Berkowitz and David Markowitz, Berkowitz Development Group.

A newly formed Dadeland Business Association (DBA) organized to provide new directions and energy for Kendall’s major commercial hub is itself shopping for new members.

To maintain Dadeland as a prime destination for business and shopping, the association seeks to increase safety and security for shoppers, visitors and a steadily increasing residential population in newly opened condominiums and rental apartment buildings.

“Forming this group has built new strength for people coming to Dadeland as well as those making the area their permanent home,” said Phyllis S. McHenry, DBA president and an associate of ComReal Commercial Real Estate Development, one of three principal owners of Dadeland Plaza.

“We want to ensure that the Dadeland area remains safe, thriving and dynamic,” said McHenry who serves with Stephen H. Smith, vice president; Michael Ross Berkowitz, treasurer, and Levy A. Wong, secretary.

Others involved in the organization were Sue Carvalho, Tate Enterprises; Mercedes Etcheberry, Marriott Miami Dadeland; Jose Monros, CFO of MDM; Jurgen Ugalde, Best Buy, and Jose Clemente, Target.

In August, McHenry joined with Smith and Wong to create the association that has now embarked on a general membership drive among all area commercial interests within the triangular-shaped Downtown Dadeland area between S. Dixie Highway (US 1) and the Palmetto Expressway from Snapper Creek south to SW 98th Street.

During organizational meetings, the association created specific goals to help protect and enhance the existing Dadeland area. Among them:

• Aid beautification of Kendall Drive, S. Dixie Highway and Dadeland Boulevard;

• Maintain and improve safety throughout main thoroughfares and local streets of Downtown Kendall;

• Act as liaison between government and local businesses;

• Advance civic welfare in neighboring cities and county areas;

• Create and promote a signature appearance for Dadeland;

• Facilitate communication between business and property ownerships, and

• Provide a unified voice for Dadeland business interests.

In a historic sense, the development of the association represents still another step in Dadeland’s history that began in the early 1960s when Miami-Dade County’s largest shopping center first opened its doors.

Development of the Datran Center by the Green family interests on the south side of Kendall Drive began a second era of growth immediately south of Dadeland during the 1970s.

Then came the building of Metrorail with Dadeland North and South stations creating a rapid transit commuter link to downtown Miami, to be followed early in a new century with opening of the Miami-Dade Busway south to Homestead.

However, focus on Dadeland as a center of southwest Miami-Dade urban growth in need of a carefully planned future began with the Kendall Council of Chamber South’s three-year organizational effort that produced the now historic June 1998 charrette.

That weekend meeting of more than 100 people from the community helped create an overview for the future called the “Downtown Kendall Master Plan” that articulated project planning for pedestrian safety with regulations and environmental standards to ensure an integrated and appealing mixture of new business and residential development.

As explained by McHenry, part of the DBA’s purpose today is to maintain those standards, partly by suggesting methods of relieving traffic congestion while increasing safety to reduce incidents of vagrancy and graffiti, as well as increased policing to prevent crime.

“One of our main initiatives is to provide an increased police presence through more Miami- Dade Police Department funding,” she said.

On a positive side, the DBA also is forming its inaugural internship program with high schools and an “Adopt-a-Classroom” initiative in elementary grades to assist with computer developments.

“We’re a socially conscious organization that wants the Dadeland area to progress in every way possible,” said McHenry, who explained she became involved with the effort as “to give back and to get more involved with our community.”

McHenry, who currently serves as vice president of the Cloisters on the Bay Condominium Association, credited partner Smith, veteran in the local real estate community, with “creating a win-win situation” to develop DBA in the Dadeland area.

Among attendees at the recent DBA meeting were: Jack Goodrich, Datran Center; Jose Garcia, Publix; Darrin Durand, Marriott Miami Dadeland; Monica Strubbia and Claudio Andrade, Courtyard Marriot; Humberto Maldonado, Dadeland Mall; Ellen Blasi, The Green Companies; Bob Gallaher, Gallaher & Birch; Loria Pernia and Javier Aluart, Miami-Dade Police Department; Michael Miller, Miami’s Community Newspapers; Jan Barnet, The Metropolis; Jose Amador, CSS USA/ The Metropolis; Xavier Martinez, Creative Ideas, and Brad Dempton, Huckleberry Sibley & Harvey.

The next meeting of DBA is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at a location to be announced.

For meeting details, contact McHenry at For DBA information, visit online at or call 305-358- 5644, ext. 300.

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