Photo:The Bahia Mar Resort Hotel & Yachting Center
Southeast Florida Roundup
Missing the boat: A boat show venue finds itself grounded
Early next month comes the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, one of the world’s largest, an event that dwarfs the Super Bowl in economic impact. Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of Show Management, which produces the show, expects another banner year. The show will feature more VIP areas, new upscale dining, upgraded evening entertainment, improved fireworks, and air-conditioning for a key venue.
Less obvious is what’s happening — or more precisely, not happening — with one of the show’s key venues, the Bahia Mar Resort Hotel & Yachting Center. The Bahia Mar, in the words of the Sun Sentinel, is home to a world-class marina but also “a drab white Doubletree hotel and a big asphalt parking lot.”
An investor group led by Miami’s Jimmy Tate and Sergio Rok, who bought the property in 2014, wanted to bring full-time residents to the site with a plan that also would dedicate half the property to public use. They proposed upgrading the hotel to four-star status and building two 39-story condo towers — both later scaled back to 29 stories — along with a grocery store and marina village, restaurants and a new half-mile boardwalk.
After spending two years and $2 million on the plans, his group recently withdrew its proposal.
Tate says so many interests sought to use the project to advance their own agendas that it became financially unworkable.
The Bahia Mar sits on land leased from the city. The boat show subleases the marina through 2020. The city also wanted to make Tate’s plans conditional on locking in the boat show for decades. The rental demands from Show Management and the Marine Industry Association, which owns the show, were “not even close to being fair and equitable,” Tate says.
Meanwhile, Tate says his group will maintain the property and come forward with a plan that follows existing zoning, which caps building height at 12 stories.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Private equity manager Platte River Equity acquired aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul and commercial test company CTS Engines in partnership with CTS management. CTS will continue to operate out of Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter. Miami-based Key International, owner of the Eden Roc Miami Beach and Marriott Stanton South Beach, paid $9.6 million for a nearly one-acre site near the beach. Developer Terry Stiles, auto dealer Phil Smith and other investors are developing 36-home The Enclave at Coral Ridge Country Club on the site of a golf course closed since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Lots range from $785,000 to $1.35 million. Orlando-based First Green Bank opened a branch, its first in south Florida, that will serve as the office for its new CEO, Keith Costello, new CFO Debbie Kohl and new CIO Sameer Prasad.
JUNO BEACH — Regulators in Hawaii rejected the $4.3-billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric by Next-Era Energy, parent of FPL. NextEra has to pay the Hawaiian utility $95 million in breakup fee and other costs.
MIRAMAR — Megacenter Miramar, a real estate company backed by a Chilean real estate developer, paid Broward College $10 million for 14. 7 acres where it will build a 267,325-sq.-ft. warehouse, office and self storage project.
PALM BEACH — Miamibased independent real estate brokerage Keyes merged with independent brokerage Palm Beach-based Illustrated Properties. The combined firm generates more than $6 billion in annual revenue and is the largest independently owned real estate firm in Florida.
POMPANO BEACH — New York-based real estate investment manager Clarion Partners paid $77.25 million for the Pompano Business Center, four industrial buildings totaling 624,531 square feet.
RIVIERA BEACH — The Port of Palm Beach began constructing a $10-million mini-slip that will accommodate vessels up to 300 feet long.
WEST PALM BEACH — Clarence Shahid Freeman, community activist and Democratic Party operative, received three years in prison for attempting to extort the then-Palm Beach schools superintendent. Freeman offered to make an anonymously made misconduct claim against Superintendent Wayne Gent go away in return for meeting Freeman’s demands to pay $895,000 to a school employee with a grievance case, move a charter school and adopt an after-school program that had been Freeman’s goal.
Fort Lauderdale Boat Show
» World’s largest in-water boat show
» 1,500 boats
» 3 million square feet of exhibit space
» 1,000 exhibitors from more than 30 countries
» $508.3 million in sales by show participants
» $380.8 million in sales by Florida companies, $240.7 million of it from companies in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties
» $51.2 million in sales and excise taxes
» 58% of visitors are from outside the region, 54% from outside Florida, 10% are foreign
» Out-of-town visitors spend $208 per day on average for lodging, food, transport and retail shopping
Source: Marine Industries Association of South Florida and Show Management from a study by Thomas J. Murray & Associates with the University of Florida
German serial entrepreneur Steffen Bruenn’s latest company is an online yacht charter booking company, Yachtico. He started it in Berlin in 2011 but moved it to Boca Raton to be near industry hub Fort Lauderdale. Yachtico employs 20 and expects to hire 50 more by late 2017. Yachtico, which won’t disclose revenue or profit, offers more than 16,000 yachts in 2,300 places. Yachtico says boat owners, following the lead of real estate owners using Airbnb, have become more interested in renting out their vessels when they’re not using them personally.
» Fort Lauderdale-based Engage PEO hired Steve Scott, a veteran senior leader at several national PEOs, as COO, and Craig Hill, president of Paychex Business Solutions from 1996 to 2012, as CFO.
» Martin Health System promoted senior vice president and COO Robert L. Lord Jr. To president and CEO. Lord started there 18 years ago as vice president and chief legal officer. He replaces Mark Robitaille, who is retiring.