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Miami-Dade Business Briefs - Dec. 2009

CORAL GABLES — A group of more that 50 investors, led by bank founder and CEO Steven D. Hayworth, paid $93 million to buy Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust from Boston Private Financial Holdings.

» Healthcare entrepreneur Mike Fernandez filed for an application to launch a Medicaid HMO called Simply Healthcare Plans. He expects approval from the state this month and to file for Medicare approval in 2010. The HMO is funded with $100 million from his MBF Healthcare Partners venture capital firm.

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KEY WEST — Regulators seized Key Federal Credit Union, placing the 13,000-member, three-branch credit union into conservatorship under the National Credit Union Administration. It is the second Florida credit union placed in conservatorship this
year.


MIAMI — The city’s preservation board declared Bacardi USA headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard north of downtown a historic landmark. The buildings, built in 1963, include murals and tile decoration. The company is moving to Coral Gables.

Bacardi USA headquarters
[Photo: Robin Hill]

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» Law firm Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod signed a 15-year, 80,000-sq.-ft. lease to become the first signed tenant at Rilea Group’s 1450 Brickell office tower. The 35-story tower, one of three major projects under construction in the downtown area, is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2010. Pharmaceutical firm Opko Health (AMEX-OPK) paid $16 million to buy Chilean pharmaceutical distributor Pharma Genexx from Chile-based FASA and Laboratorios Volta. Genexx had 2008 sales of $11 million. Opko also announced that it will raise $30 million in a private placement.

» America’s Capital Partners sold its 7.6 million-sq.-ft. office portfolio to Orlando-based Eola Capital. Reports valued the portfolio at $1.1 billion. As part of the deal, former America’s Capital President Rudy Touzet, co-founder of Miami-based Banyan Street Partners, joined Eola as CEO; he will be based in Coral Gables.

» DAS Family Holdings invested $4 million in medical device maker Medical Technologies.

» Spanish Broadcasting Systems’ Mega TV signed affiliation agreements with HDTV Inc. in Tampa and Charleston, S.C., bringing its total market affiliations to eight.

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MIAMI BEACH — Miami-based real estate private equity firm Brilla Group and Chicago real estate investment company AJ Capital Partners paid nearly $30 million to buy the 105-room, beachfront Raleigh Hotel from New York hotelier Andre Balazs.

» Lehman Bros. will fund up to $200 million of mortgage loans for condominium buyers at WSG Development Co.’s Canyon Ranch Living project. The bankrupt Wall Street firm was the construction lender on the project, which has sold 223 of 580 units.

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MIAMI-DADE — Madrid-based outsourcing firm Grupo Eulen plans to create 500 jobs in the county over the next eight months. It recently moved its Latin American headquarters from Mexico City to Coconut Grove and acquired a majority stake in Miami-based American Sales and Management. Grupo Eulen plans to invest $30 million in its area operations.

» A 16-month stalemate between the school district and teachers union ended with a three-year contract that will include average pay raises of 1.8% this year, with renegotiated salaries at the start of each of the next three years. The district also dropped its health insurance provider and became self-insured.

» Jackson Health System balanced its budget with plans to close nursing homes and primary care centers and reduce funding for other programs for the poor. To find new revenue for the public health system, the board asked the county commission to let residents vote on creating a special taxing district for Jackson.

» Ontario-based Waste Services purchased the Miami-Dade operations of Republic Services and DisposAll for a combined $48 million.

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MIAMI GARDENS — Gun maker Taurus International Manufacturing will stay in the city and, over the next three years, add 123 employees and invest $7.8 million in renovating and expanding its facilities. If it does so, the company will earn incentives of $73,800 from the county and $295,200 from the state.

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PALMETTO BAY — The South Florida Water Management District approved three contracts valued at about $25 million that will allow engineers to deconstruct parts of the C-111 canal in southern Miami-Dade County. Currently, water released from the canal into the bay upsets the balance of fresh and saltwater, creating “dead zones.”

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SOUTH FLORIDA — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the $4-billion loan portfolio of Chicago-based Corus Bank, including some $1 billion in south Florida condo construction loans. The portfolio includes thousands of unsold condos in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and is expected to be sold shortly.