Southeast Florida Roundup
A hotel surge in southeast Florida
A Palm Beach-based developer has projects all over the state.
Palm Beach County is seeing a flood of new hotel rooms, including the construction of the first hotel in downtown Boca Raton. Discover the Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for the county, says 708 hotel rooms will be completed in the county by March 2017. About 1,290 more are proposed, in addition to the 635 added from mid-2014 to February.
Given the danger of overbuilding, Scott Webb, president of Kolter Hospitality, the arm of West Palm Beach-based Kolter Group that's developing the Boca hotel, is glad to have the site he does. "Boca's an amazing location. Our Delray hotel has done incredibly well. Boca is way better," Webb says.
Kolter broke ground in March on a 13-story, 200-room Hyatt Place hotel at Palmetto Park Road and Federal Highway, Boca's equivalent of "Main at Main," as Webb says. It's within walking distance of retail, restaurants, bars and entertainment. Walkability has become an important factor for corporate travel bookers and travelers in general, he says. Plus, the downtown Boca office market totals 11.3 million square feet, according to CBRE research. Kolter expects completion in the third quarter of 2016.
Kolter also is planning a 300-room hotel in Palm Beach Gardens across from Scripps but won't break ground until after 2016. It also has acquired a site on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale for a hotel/ condo project. It hopes to break ground on it in the second quarter.
Additionally, Kolter is building a 255-room Hyatt Place with another 141 condos on the water in Sarasota; completion is scheduled for September 2016. It plans to break ground in February on a 174-room hotel in downtown St. Petersburg.
Kolter already owns and operates Hyatt Place hotels in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and on 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale and Estero near Naples.
Maritime Professional Training
Family-run Fort Lauderdale vocational school Maritime Professional Training describes itself as the "largest private maritime training school in the nation." Courses for yacht and commercial vessel crew members range from seamanship and basic safety up to chief engineering and captain's licensing. Students train to work with vessel engines, handle cargo and even can take - for the yachting sector - wine studies.
MPT, run by the Morley family for two generations, declined to provide revenue, but individual courses range from $250 to $5,000. Collectively, students take more than 10,000 courses a year. The school has a 25,000-sq.-ft. expansion under way that will enlarge it to 61,000 square feet.
St. Mary's Medical Center CEO Davide Carbone resigned following the West Palm Beach center's decision to close its pediatric cardiac surgery program. The program had been the subject of a critical report on CNN about patient deaths. The center said "inaccurate" media reports had made it difficult to build sustainable volume.
The 291-room Sawgrass Grand Hotel in Sunrise hired Fred Hansen as general manager.
BELLE GLADE - Rehabilitation company Passages will open an addiction and eating disorder treatment center in a former hospital that will employ 225.
CORAL SPRINGS - Mumbai-based pharma company Lupin opened a research center, employing 45, that will focus on products for treating asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung diseases. As it expands into Florida, Colorado-based natural foods store Lucky's Market, which bills itself as "organic for the 99%," will open a store later this year in Coral Springs followed by one in Plantation. It's also opening in Naples. > Hoerbiger will open a new factory, adding 420 to its work force of 277. It will move administrative and production jobs to the site from Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Texas.
DANIA BEACH - Chiquita Brands International will relocate its banana division headquarters and 70 to 90 jobs from Charlotte, N. C., to the Design Center of the Americas.
DEERFIELD BEACH - Convey Health Solutions is hiring 500 for its new contact center.
FELLSMERE - Florida Organic Aquaculture hosted a South Africa government delegation.
FORT LAUDERDALE - UBS investment adviser Paul Tanner broke from UBS to found his own firm, Las Olas Capital Advisors, which will focus on wealth management and merchant banking for entrepreneurs and ultra-highnet- worth families. It has more than $400 million in client assets. JetSmarter, a mobile marketplace for private jet charters, raised $20 million. Vehicle retailer AutoNation bought 16 dealerships in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland and Tennessee with a combined $600 million in annual revenue. The purchase price wasn't disclosed. > The Campbell Foundation awarded the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University and the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center $30,000 each for HIV/AIDS research. The North Broward Hospital District, the special taxing district behind Broward Health, will pay $69.5 million to settle federal charges it engaged in improper financial relationships with referring doctors. Dr. Michael Reilly, who raised the allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit, will receive $12 million from the recovery.
MIRAMAR - Univita Health laid off nearly 800 and declared bankruptcy.
PLANTATION - Motorola Mobility closed its plant and laid off 198.
PORT ST. LUCIE - Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, a bioscience research outfit recruited in 2008 with $60 million in state money and a local match, closed its doors and laid off its remaining 34 employees. The city is on the hook for the debt on the VGTI building. City administrators proposed a tax increase to cover the debt from VGTI and Digital Domain, an entertainment company that also failed.
SOUTH FLORIDA - Delivery company Shipt began delivering for Publix customers in south Florida.
STUART - Martin County sued to stop the sale of tax-exempt bonds for passenger rail company All Aboard Florida.