Miami-Dade Business Briefs - Feb. 2010
Round-up of business news
» Aventek paid $6.3 million for 20 condo units in Artech Residences at Aventura.
CORAL GABLES —
» Mercantil Commercebank received a $50-million infusion from its parent company in Venezuela, Mercantil Servicios Financieros. It is the third-largest south Florida-chartered bank by assets.
» Flagler merged its Flagler Real Estate Services division with the Rowley Group; Stephen “Pike” Rowley, former Rowley president, became president of the division and launched its new Asset Solutions group.
» Medical products maker Boston Scientific Corp. will move its 1,200-employee Doral operations to Costa Rica over the next three years.
» The Army Corps of Engineers broke ground on an $81-million project to replace a section of Tamiami Trail with a bridge that will help restore natural water flow —?a key part of Everglades restoration effort that was approved in 1989.
» The federal government bowed to a suit from the Miccosukee Tribe and agreed to suspend plans to rebuild the 24-mile-long Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve, pending an environmental impact study.
» Lennar Homes has spent more than $13 million for more than 1,300 home sites in Homestead over the last few months.
» FedEx Corp. unit FedEx Ground opened a 217,015-sq.-ft. distribution facility.
» The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened a probe of the city’s major bond offerings between 2006 and 2009; the probe is looking into the city’s presentation of its financial health.
» Ending a 20-month period in which no new cruise ship orders were placed, Carnival Corp. (NYSE-CCL) ordered a 130,000-ton ship from Italy’s Fincantieri. The company will pay around $738 million for the ship, which should enter service in 2011. Across all of its cruise lines, Carnival has 13 new ships slated for delivery between 2010 and 2012.
» Pending regulators’ approval, Apollo Bancshares will purchase a majority stake in Union Credit Bank, investing $15 million in the private bank and restoring it to “well capitalized” status.
» Spanish-language network Univisión created a Miami-based division, Univisión Studios, where it will produce its own television shows. Luis Fernandez, who had been president of Spanish broadcasting company Corporacion Radio Television Espanola, is president of the studio.
» Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida opened a 12,000-sq.-ft. technology incubator in downtown Miami. Incubate Miami will seek to nurture startup companies and complements the EDC’s existing incubator at Florida Atlantic University Research Park in Boca Raton.
Burger King’s $1 burger brouhaha
» Burger King’s franchisees have filed two class-action lawsuits against the company. One claims the company overstepped its authority in requiring franchisees to sell a double cheeseburger for $1, and the other seeks to keep the company from taking a portion of the rebates that franchisees receive from soda makers.
» Regulators seized the four-branch Republic Federal Bank of Miami and sold it to Boca Raton-based 1st United Bank.
» Vehicle Production Group announced it will begin manufacturing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle in October. It will be powered by a Ford engine and built by AM General at its Indiana plant.
» Indiana granted Southern Wine and Spirits of America full permission to operate as an alcoholic beverages wholesaler in that state.
» International long-distance service provider Papatel, which provides free phone service supported by audio ads and prepaid services, launched nationwide.
» Industrial laundry and dry cleaning machine maker Dryclean USA changed its name to EnviroStar.
MIAMI BEACH —
» According to a Miami Herald survey, nearly three-quarters of galleries exhibiting at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009 had sales revenue at least 15% higher than in 2008. More than one-third said sales were up more than 30%.
» Mortgage holder Lehman Bros. Holdings acquired the 336 unsold units at the Canyon Ranch Living condominium and condo-hotel complex as deeds in lieu of foreclosure. The project had been owned by a unit of Miami-based WSG Development Co.
» Mount Sinai Medical Center posted a profit in the third quarter and is on pace for its most profitable year this decade.
» Credit Suisse announced it will auction off ownership of the 334-room oceanfront Gansevoort South hotel. Credit Suisse holds a loan, now in default, which was secured with that ownership stake.
» Buyer 3010 Collins LLC paid $9 million for the 74-unit Habana Libre hotel, built in 1939.
» Federal prosecutors dropped the 2-year-old money-laundering indictment against prominent attorney Ben Kuehne.
» Hollywood-based Cornerstone Group and Richman Group of Companies received approvals for Mirabella, a 204-unit community that incorporates multifamily affordable housing and mobile homes, preserving the 30 mobile homes already on the site. Construction work should begin in the first quarter of this year.
» Ocean Bank bought the $18-million mortgage on for-profit Larkin Community Hospital in south Miami-Dade.
» At the request of the court-appointed receiver, the 29-acre Miami Airport Center industrial condo conversion project was turned over to its mezzanine lender, an affiliate of New York-based Hudson Realty Capital. Hudson had already taken control of project developer Tamach Airport and settled with the senior lender.