Around the State
Applied Card Systems of Wilmington, Del., is opening a 100,000-square-foot facility at the Blue Lake Corporate Center. Applied expects to create about 1,000 jobs within a year and 3,000 within three to five years.
The largest Palm Beach County-based commercial bank, 1st United Bancorp, has agreed to merge with the nation's 20th largest banking company, Wachovia Corp. of North Carolina, in a deal worth $222 million. Boca Raton-based 1st United has 33 banks in Palm Beach, Martin, Broward and Brevard counties.
Republic Industries (NYSE-RII) entered the European car rental market by purchasing EuroDollar Holdings, the second-largest car rental company in the U.K., for approximately $150 million.
BankAtlantic Bancorp decided not to buy Delray Beach-based Oriole Homes as previously announced. The Fort Lauderdale thrift, however, still plans to buy a real estate development company.
Film and photography industries were good to Miami in 1996, even though totals were down about $10 million from 1995. The Miami-Dade office of Film, Television and Print reports that more than $200 million was spent by filmmakers and commercial photographers, creating 22,000 jobs and a $715 million economic impact.
Miami-based Capital Bancorp's (Nasdaq-CBCP) has agreed to merge with Union Planters Corp. (NYSE-UPC), a $15 billion bank holding company headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. Union, founded in 1869, has offices in seven states. Capital has 28 south Florida offices and assets of $1.9 billion.
MasTec (NYSE-MTZ) has bought four telecommunications companies in Arizona, Texas, Virginia and the Midwest. The acquisitions are expected to increase the Miami company's revenue by at least $55 million annually.
CHS Electronics (Nasdaq-CHSE) acquired Karma International of Amsterdam for $160 million. Karma, a computer parts distributor, had 1996 revenues of $700 million. CHS also agreed to purchase European computer parts distributor Santech Micro Group of Norway for about $119 million.
PBSJ Corp., an engineering and planning firm in Miami, is buying Espey Huston & Assoc. (EH&A) of Austin, Texas. EH&A will be a wholly owned subsidiary of PBSJ, which has a staff of 1,600 worldwide.
Motorola's Land Mobile Products Sector plans to add 250,000 square feet to its existing 615,000- square-foot Plantation facility.
... for nine new skyscrapers have angered activists who want to limit development in Miami Beach. All the building, they say, would obliterate oceanfront vistas and transform much of the isle into a concrete canyon. New York developer Ian Bruce Eichner, for example, wants to build two 52-story residential towers and a 41-story time-share/hotel on prime oceanfront acreage in South Pointe. A few miles to the north, Orlando-based Central Florida Investments plans a 41- or 51-story oceanfront timeshare.
The mid-summer rush on city hall with the building proposals was inspired by restrictions on building heights proposed in July. The current hoopla over heights comes as land prices are soaring, and developers like Eichner - who reportedly has a contract to pay $54 million for 12.5 acres of oceanfront land - want to get their money's worth by building taller structures.
The anti-development crowd gripes that even the proposed restrictions don't go far enough - the law still would allow buildings as tall as 400 feet, or 44 stories, far higher than most buildings are now.
West Palm Beach
Paxson Communications (AMEX-PXN) acquired WVVT TV-66 of Washington, D.C., for about $45.5 million and sold two West Palm Beach TV stations, WPBF TV-25 and WTVX TV-34, for $119.3 million.
Fidelity Bankshares has an agreement to buy BankBoynton, a Boynton Beach-based thrift with $57.6 million in assets and three offices. Fidelity has 21 offices in Palm Beach and Martin counties.