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Miami-Dade Business Briefs - March 2011

CORAL GABLES — Entrepreneur Mike Fernandez plans to spend up to $100 million to create several provider service networks — HMO-like companies in which participating doctors and hospitals have a majority stake. The first PSN, Miami Children's Better Health, is a partnership between Miami Children's Hospital and a Broward County-based PSN called Better Health.

» Accounting firm Berenfeld Spritzer Shechter & Sheer, one of the region's largest, dissolved as 14 partners and 100 associates joined national firm Cherry, Bekaert & Holland. Berenfeld did tax accounting for Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's law firm as well as that of a major feeder fund.

DORAL — Commercial fuel distributor and servicer World Fuel Services acquired Tampa-based aviation fuel supplier Hiller Group for an undisclosed amount. World Fuel also plans to pay $68.5 million for Denmark-based Nordic Camp Supply, which supplies fuel to NATO, the U.S. and several European armed forces operations in Afghanistan.

» The federal government fined Century Homebuilders $460,000 for failing to complete a wetlands preserve it agreed to create seven years ago, one of the largest fines for such a violation.

KENDALL — Deutsche Bank's asset management division paid $95.3 million to buy the 299,103-sq.-ft. open-air London Square shopping center and office complex from Boca Raton-based Woolbright Development.

MEDLEY — Ryder System acquired Scully Cos., a California-based lease, contract maintenance, commercial rental and dedicated contract carriage company. The price was not disclosed.

MIAMI — 1st United Bank bought the assets of the failed Bank of Miami. The FDIC says the failure will cost its insurance fund $64 million.

» Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, the state's largest public accounting firm, merged with New York-based ERE.

» Six new restaurants and nightclubs have signed leases for 20,000 square feet of space in downtown's Macy's West building. The space has been empty for five years. The businesses are expected to open by June.

» Opko Health and Bristol-Myers Squibb signed a deal to develop and test a blood test to detect Alzheimer's. Opko also agreed to take a 10% stake in Boston-based drug maker Tesaro and licensed to Tesaro a drug that could prevent nausea and vomiting in patients being treated with chemotherapy. Opko will collect a $6-million upfront payment and royalties of up to $121 million if the drug comes to market.

» A group called Miami Icon Hotel Room paid $4.38 million to buy 15 units totaling
10,487 square feet at the Icon Brickell condo project from the consortium of lenders that took back the units from developer Related Group. The buyer purchased 15 units in the building in September.

» Clothing maker Perry Ellis International acquired women's sportswear maker Rafaella Apparel Group from Cerberus Capital Management for $70 million plus stock warrants.

» Luxury cruise company Seabourn is moving its headquarters to Seattle, joining sister cruise line Holland America. Both are units of Carnival Corp.

» Riverdale Capital paid an undisclosed price to acquire Nevada-based WSPVA Bio Products International, which holds the exclusive license to develop and market PVA plastic film in North America. The film is biodegradable, non-toxic and water soluble, and is generally used in plastic bags.

MIAMI BEACH — Lennox Miami Corp., a real estate and hotel company from Argentina, paid $14.7 million to purchase the Peter Miller Hotel, Miller Apartments and Peter Miller Apartments in South Beach. The three-story, 62-room hotel and pair of two-story, 12-unit apartment buildings were owned by Miami-based Kabo Realty Corp.

MIAMI-DADE — Assuming neither candidate is able to mount a successful legal challenge, voters will decide in a March 15 recall election whether to keep Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas in office. Voter anger about a budget that raised property taxes and gave pay raises to most county employees sparked the recall drive. If the mayor is recalled, the County Commission will decide whether to appoint a replacement to fill out his term or hold a special election within 45 days of the recall.

» Chicago-based Northern Trust bank launched a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-traditional family practice in south Florida, Southern California and Denver.

MIAMI LAKES — Real estate developers Easton Group and Marcus Partners paid around $8 million for a 394,000-sq.-ft. complex that once housed part of Cordis Corp.'s manufacturing. Framingham, Mass.-based heart pump maker HeartWare will relocate to part of the complex from elsewhere in the city.

SOUTH FLORIDA — Existing-home sales in 2010 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties hit nearly 75,000 — more than the 67,600 in 2006, which is considered the last year of the real estate boom. The total value of resales was $16.6 billion in 2010, versus nearly $26.9 billion in 2006. Twenty-two percent were short sales.