Florida posted the highest foreclosure rate in the nation in 2012, eclipsing Nevada for the first time, according to RealtyTrac. In Florida, 3.11 percent, or one in every 32 homes, received some sort of foreclosure filing last year, the California-based data firm said. Much of the rising foreclosure activity represents loans that soured a long time ago, rather than a major new round of defaults. More from the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.
Argentina-based Chateau Group has used the real estate slump to expand from land sales in south Florida into condo development. Its first project is Chateau Beach in Sunny Isles.
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While Miami-Dade’s real estate crash brought most development to a halt, it provided Chateau Group with the opportunity to ramp up. The Argentina-based high-rise developer had been buying prime land in the county since 1998, selling it to other developers and learning about the market. Full story.
Gov. Rick Scott voiced his support for a broad review of Florida's controversial gun laws by state lawmakers Wednesday, saying the state's vital tourist economy depends on visitors being able to "feel safe" amidst an increasingly well-armed population. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty proposed major changes to the Florida property insurance system, especially for Citizens Property Insurance, at a presentation made to the state Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday. McCarty’s goal is to reduce the risk to state-run Citizens, which accounts for 21 percent of the market – generally the most vulnerable properties. [Source: South Florida Business-Journal]
Crowds from Orlando to Seattle are packing pubs and restaurants as a growing number of them launch Science Cafes: lively, informal talks featuring some of the nation's foremost experts in physics, psychology, biology and other sciences. Young and old, fascinated by the idea of rubbing elbows with scientists, have been drawn to the free programs that have started popping up in Florida in recent years. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami Beach's DecoBikes looks to expand [Miami Herald]
After accruing nearly 2 million rentals in less than two years of operation, Miami Beach’s DecoBike program is poised to expand to Miami and beyond.
› Everglades City's 'Art in the Glades' a window into area's past [Naples Daily News]
There are juried art shows in Southwest Florida this time of year, with national rankings, high-dollar price tags, and hotshot artists with their slick brochures and professionally crafted booths. And then there's Art in the Glades.
› Toy inventor hopes to build success with Qubits [Orlando Sentinel]
An inventor has brought what he hopes will be the next construction-toy craze to Central Florida. Mark Burginger, an architect and inventor whose Qubits toy was featured on the TV show "Shark Tank" in 2010, is beginning production of a new version of the plaything in Longwood.
› 3 Florida Keys hotels make top 25 list [Miami Herald]
Three lodgings in the Florida Keys have been named among the nation’s top 25 small hotels for 2013 by TripAdvisor, the user-review website. Marquesa House in Key West came in No. 4. Island Bay Resort in Tavernier came in at No. 7, and Orchid Key Inn in Key West ranked No. 9.
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› Scott, at Honeywell, touts plan to boost manufacturing [Tampa Bay Times]
Gov. Rick Scott toured the Honeywell Aerospace plant in Largo Tuesday, seeking to draw attention to his plan to boost manufacturing jobs in Florida by cutting taxes.
› Prepaid debit card marketers settle Florida case over disclosure of fees [Orlando Sentinel]
Five major players in the prepaid debit card business have agreed to settle an investigation into complaints about their sales and marketing practices in Florida, state regulators said Wednesday.
› Legislature likely to increase funding for school security [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
State funding for school security, after declining for years because of the lagging economy, will likely rise this year as lawmakers consider more deputies, unarmed guards, bulletproof glass and other measures in response to the Connecticut school massacre.
› Now they're cookin' with country club dining [Fort Myers News-Press]
Industry-wide, dining has evolved in country clubs, jumping a few rungs in importance, said Ken Kouril, general manager at The Sanctuary. He’s worked in clubs for 25 years, including the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, the Greenwich Country Club in Connecticut and the Loblolly in Hobe Sound.