Southest Florida Business Briefs - Sept. 2004
Boca Raton -- Reed Elsevier Group, owner of the LexisNexis legal data business, is buying Seisint Inc. for $775 million. Seisint's main software product, Accurint, provides online access and analysis of public records to help customers with due diligence, debt recovery, pre-employment screening and identity checks. Its technology will help LexisNexis process its own legal content faster.
Boynton Beach -- The city can pay for its ambitious downtown plans, including land purchases, redevelopment and the creation of a trolley service, with a bond issue despite a projected deficit of more than $4 million next year, says Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Doug Hutchinson.
Everglades -- The South Florida Water Management District hired state Rep. Joe Spratt, R-LaBelle, as a liaison between the agency and growers.
Fort Lauderdale -- Arne Soreide, accused of using his Pompano Beach-based Accutel Communications company to lure long-distance customers with promises of discount service then bilking them with phony charges, was convicted on 68 counts, including fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and tax evasion.
Loxahatchee -- Climbing attendance and a planned $6-million face lift have executives at Lion County Safari predicting a robust future for the attraction, which had suffered from plummeting attendance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Miramar -- Workers are putting final touches on a new three-story, $16-million City Hall in the first phase of a planned town center that will eventually include a cultural arts center, a business and retail development, townhouses and apartments.
Palm Beach County -- The county has hired Abacoa Development Co. President Nader Salour to advise it during its property search for the development of the Scripps Research Institute technology park. ... Multinational real estate firm CB Richard Ellis has been hired as the technology park's real estate broker and consultant.
Palm Beach Gardens -- St. Petersburg-based Sembler Co. will build 28 retail and office buildings across from The Gardens Mall under a proposal approved by City Council members.
Port Everglades -- Port revenue for the first six months of the year from cruise, cargo and petroleum shipping is up by $9 million over year-earlier revenue of $48.9 million. The biggest jump was in cruise business. Cruise revenue jumped 26.5%, with 2.5 million passengers in the first six months of 2004, up from 1.9 million passengers in the first six months of 2003.
Port St. Lucie -- Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, has advised City Council members not to pursue a plan to annex 9,500 acres, saying that unbridled growth would strain state and local resources.
Planning and zoning board members have recommended approving a golf-course community planned by Wayne Huizenga on 120 acres that had been set aside for conservation. Huizenga has agreed to set aside another 120 acres of his property for conservation and pay $200,000 to a city land preservation account.
Stuart -- The Downtown Business Association is supporting a suggestion to tap downtown business owners to create a downtown improvement budget -- up to a point. The group's board agreed to a budget of $12,500, about $38,000 less than suggested by the city attorney.
City commissioners are considering a proposal to protect the city's historic district from being homogenized by chain stores and restaurants by limiting businesses to 2,000 square feet.
LOOKING FOR BUDGET RELIEF
FORT LAUDERDALE -- City commissioners are mulling a proposed budget that calls for the largest tax increases in more than a decade. Under the preliminary budget released in mid-summer, residents would see property tax hikes of 24% as part of the city's efforts to recover from its financial woes.