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August 14, 2018
Dig it: Port Everglades gets the OK to dredge

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Some ships, like this one carrying jet fuel, have to wait for high tide to enter Port Everglades.

Southeast Florida Roundup

Dig it: Port Everglades gets the OK to dredge

Finally, Port Everglades gets the OK to dredge.

Mike Vogel | 9/28/2015

This summer, some 19 years after Congress authorized a study looking at improving the Fort Lauderdale seaport, the U.S. Army Corps cleared the project to seek congressional funding.

The widening and deepening of Port Everglades waterways will cost $374 million in federal, state and port funds and generate 2,222 construction jobs. The port wants construction completed by 2022.

Central to the project is dredging a key channel from 42 feet deep to 48 feet, which allows an effective depth of 50 feet. That would let the port handle larger post-Panamax ships, but the deepening isn't just a play on the canal expansion. Only a fraction of the port's trade is with Asia anyway — most is north-south trade — and Everglades already handles post-Panamax vessels, though the ships must come in lightly loaded.

An equally important part of the project is widening the channel so that cargo ships can pass massive cruise vessels.

The challenge for the port has been finding a way to expand capacity while allaying environmental concerns. Original projections foresaw the destruction of nearly 53 acres of mangroves; now, slightly more than one acre will be affected.

The approval came as the port enjoys the fruits of other investment. In the last 12 months, it opened a flyover so that vehicles can access the port directly from I-595. Florida East Coast Railway increased its volume at the port 26% in the year since it opened a container transfer facility.

"Port Everglades has been very aggressive in working with what they have," says Tom O'Loughlin, a CBRE first vice president in Fort Lauderdale.

The channel work will be up for congressional authorization next year. Funding follows after that. Corps approval and bipartisan support from Florida's congressional delegation would seem to assure that's a done deal. Port CEO Steven Cernak hopes so, but "the project really isn't done until the last bucket comes out of the channel."

Profile Enigma Haunt

As a child on Halloween in Pennsylvania, Billy Groeneveld visited a "haunted house" where he put his hand in the bowl of spaghetti meant to simulate brains and grapes that simulated eyeballs. He then was given a hotdog. He thought, "I just touched brains, eyeballs and I'm getting a hotdog. This is the greatest holiday ever." Halloween is the prime season for his Boca Raton-based Enigma Haunt, a 5-year-old company that opens its two "haunts" on select nights in October. Haunts, the shorthand for such attractions, are a decent little business with national conferences where operators learn best practices in safety and get pitched by an array of vendors selling scents, sights and increasingly expensive props. "It's not running out of the corner and yelling, 'boo' any more," he says.

Last year at Groeneveld's haunts, some 13,198 people bought tickets. The two haunts, "The Abyss" and "Realms of Terror," each cost $20 apiece, or $30 for a combined ticket.

Groeneveld says the word at conferences about operating a haunt is that "it's going to be three or four years before you break even. We're right on track."

Citrix CEO Mark Templeton plans to retire. The move came on the same day the company announced organizational changes sought by an activist investor. A successor is being sought.

Shane Strum has been named senior vice president of Memorial Healthcare System. He had been vice chancellor of business development for Keiser University. Also, President and CEO Frank V. Sacco announced his retirement effective Feb. 29, 2016.

Business Briefs

BOCA RATON - The state Department of Transportation awarded a one-year, $187,000 grant to Florida Atlantic University's engineering college to develop unmanned surface vehicles to inspect bridges. > Audio and video tech company Avid Technology will add 100 jobs in the next few years as it expands its North American headquarters. > Consumer products company Jarden will pay $1.35 billion to acquire Waddington Group, a maker of disposable dishes, from a private equity fund managed by Olympus Partners and others. Waddington should contribute $800 million to 2016 revenue. > Boca West Country Club chose Hedrick Bros. As construction manager for a 155,000-sq.-ft. golf clubhouse and activities center.

FORT LAUDERDALE - Patriot National acquired Fort Myers-based prehire intelligence company Global HR Research for $24 million in cash and $18 million in stock. Cruise line Silversea Cruises will relocate its Florida office to Miami's Wells Fargo Center from Fort Lauderdale. Related Group will build a second phase, 349-unit luxury rental project on a river waterfront site that housed Apex Marine until its lease ran out. Related sold its 382-unit Manor at Flagler Village apartment building for about $149 million to an affiliate of pension fund TIAA-CREF.

HOLLYWOOD - Repair company Aerospace Precision is adding 25 jobs to its current 40 as it moves distribution to Hollywood from Seattle. Related Group, 13th Floor Investments, Key International and sbe launched sales at the 40-story, 77-condo and 265-resort unit Hyde Beach House Hollywood. Related and sbe are partnering on several projects in southeast Florida. Construction is scheduled to begin next year with completion in 2018. Units are priced from $430,000 to $1 million.

JUPITER ISLAND - L i b - erty Media billionaire John Malone paid $38 million for the nine-acre estate of the late Playmobil toy maker leader Horst Brandstatter. The price is said to be the highest ever paid in Martin County. The home includes a living room built on a turntable so it can be positioned for views of the sunrise over the Atlantic or sunset over the Indian River. It originally was listed for $45 million.

OKEECHOBEE - G u y Harvey Resorts will build one of its Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts at a lakeside campground at the mouth of the Kissimmee River to cater to Rvs, anglers, hunters and eco-tourists. Opening is scheduled for spring 2017. The Okee-Tantie Campground and Marina will be transformed into the resort, including the addition of wet slips, a boat barn, a store, RV pads, rental cabins and a lodge. Lightsey's Restaurant, a local landmark, will reopen as Guy Harvey's Fish Camp Grill and Anglers Bar.

POMPANO BEACH - Nashville-based Sitel will hire more than 1,000 full-time employees at a new center that will handle calls for an undisclosed financial services firm. VERO BEACH - Citing weak demand for its planes, manufacturer Piper Aircraft reduced its workforce by 115.

WEST PALM BEACH - The county Solid Waste Authority put its new, $670-million waste-to-energy plant into service. It is the authority's second such plant and the first built in the nation in more than 15 years. The county authority partnered with consulting engineer Arcadis and contractors KBR and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group. The plant can provide enough power for 44,000 homes and businesses. Developer and builder Minto Communities named its 3,800-acre Minto West project Westlake. The western Palm Beach County project is slated for 4,500 single- and multifamily homes and 2.1 million square feet of nonresidential space.

Players

Citrix CEO Mark Templeton plans to retire. The move came on the same day the company announced organizational chang- es sought by an activist investor. A successor is being sought.

Shane Strum has been named senior vice president of Memorial Healthcare System. He had been vice chancellor of business de- velopment for Keiser University. Also, President and CEO Frank V. Sacco announced his retire- ment effective Feb. 29, 2016.

Tags: Southeast, Transportation

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