The biggest in business, technology for the year in Miami

Each year, technology continues to move at turbo speed, and 2017 was not excluded. This year brought more mini-supercomputers including a $1,000 iPhone, a new Nintendo device, major technology and financial breaches and an earth-shattering health care merger.

In local business, Opa-locka broke ground with the Carrie Meek International Business Park and Black millennials from Overtown got a shot at careers in electrical construction.

Here are the business highlights for 2017:

Economic opportunities also thrived in the Black communities in Miami.

Millennials learn trade at Worldcenter site

In October, an agreement was made between the real estate developer of the $1.7 billion Miami Worldcenter project, which is underway in Overtown, and the Southeast Overtown Park West CRA . It called for Worldcenter to hire apprentices and more experienced journeymen at wages above what they would receive in construction.

Worldcenter’s team has offered job training and, job fairs that give low-income residents — some with criminal pasts — a chance for a better life. Insiders say that contractors and subcontractors who bid for work on the massive project are checked on whether they are bringing Black millennials on their team.


China Town coming to North Miami

North Miami officials approved the Chinatown Cultural Arts and Innovation District in November, a concept the city had been pining over since February 2016. The new district includes 93 acres between 119th and 135th streets, along Northwest Seventh Avenue. The plans include spending millions on infrastructure. Many residents in the Sunkist Grove Community Center, a prominently Black neighborhood in the city decried the project.

Carrie Meek Business Park moves forward

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Carrie Meek International Business Park took placed in June 2017, The park sits on 97 acres near Curtiss St. and NW 42 Ave. and will be the future home of an Amazon warehouse, an additional warehouse and the Carrie Meek Foundation. The deal to develop the 120 acres of county land next to the Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport goes back to 2008 when the foundation secured the lease. The foundation has a 30 percent stake in the for-profit company, called CCRE Meek LLC, and Foundry Commercial, an Orlando-based development company, has the remaining 70 percent. The Amazon warehouse is expected to bring 1,000 jobs into the area.

Multimillion-dollar shopping center replaces Carol Mart

Miami Gardens residents said goodbye to one of the city’s landmarks, Carol Mart, best known as the 183rd Street flea market, in February. In its place will be Gardens Promenade, home to well-known retailers such as Wawa Grocery Store, Simons Sportswear, and Burlington, Ross and Marshalls department stores. Property management group, IMC Equity Group kicked off the $60 million project with its $7.1 million purchase of the property which is scheduled to be completed by February 2018.

Miami-Dade County issues first no-bid contract for a Black business

Chef Creole, a popular Haitian-American eatery was awarded a space at the Miami International Airport in March marking the first time that a Black business has received a no-bid contract. The no-bid contract process at the county level has been heavily criticized as unfair to Black businesses who say they were being shut out of deals given more often to Hispanics. The airport spot would be Chef Creole’s sixth location in Miami-Dade.



Some technology announcements caught readers’ attention as well.

Apple iPhone X changes the future

The new iPhone X, released on Nov.3, does not have a home button. It replaces presses with swipes and the fingerprint ID sensor with facial recognition.

Instead of pressing the home button to return to the home screen, users will swipe up from the bottom. The iPhone X also has a screen about the same surface area as the iPhone 8 Plus in a body that’s almost as narrow as the regular iPhone, which makes it more compact but more visually appealing for the streamers.

The Nintendo Switch, the game console for anywhere

Nintendo released its new handheld-console hybrid, the Nintendo Switch on March 3. It is a full game console that is small enough to be stored in any travel compartment — luggage or backpack. But the kicker is, it can work as a regular console as well. There is no external connector required. The Switch is like three machines in one. Wireless controllers attach to the game tablet for handheld gaming.

The technology boom also came with some qualms for American consumers.

146 million were affected by Equifax breach

Cyber hackers invaded Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus, in July and stole the personal data of millions exposing half of the country to identify theft. The credit bureau revealed the hack two months later. Consumers could see the impact for years with the growing black market.

3 billion Yahoo user accounts were compromised

Yahoo announced in October that a hacker group had stolen the names, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers of the users at the time — or triple the number of vulnerable users it had earlier reported. It was a breach that affected almost half the amount of the World population and the largest in history.

This year was also a year of mergers, the year’s biggest merger was the health care giant Aetna merging with CVS Pharmacy making health care history.

The $68 billion Aetna/CVS deal

CVS Health Corp. agreed to buy Aetna in cash and stock in a move to capture more of what consumers spend on health care. Aetna stockholders are to receive $207 per share — $145 in cash and 0.8378 of a CVS share, or $62, in stock, the companies announced on Dec. 3.

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