Spreading the Word: A businessman and book lover takes to the screen
Plus, business briefs and players for Miami, Miami Beach and the Keys.
Mitchell Kaplan founded independent bookstore chain Books & Books, and co-founded the country’s largest literary festival, the Miami Book Fair International. Now, he’s taking his books to the big screen.
This year, Kaplan’s film production venture with longtime movie producer Paula Mazur, Mazur/Kaplan Co.,released its latest full-length movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, based on the best-selling novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The film came out first in theaters in Europe and then via Netflix in the U.S. and other parts of the world. It’s a distribution mix Kaplan calls the “best of both worlds.”
Last fall, the two used a traditional theater release for The Man Who Invented Christmas, which traces the journey that led to Charles Dickens’ creation of A Christmas Carol. The movie is based on the novel by Les Standiford, who runs the creative writing program at Florida International University.
On tap: A film based on the novel The Silent Wife, slated to star Nicole Kidman, and a BBC television project based on the novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.
Kaplan says the bookstores, book fair, movies and television all offer ways to connect authors and audiences. The production company, he adds, is the most complex route he’s pursued, requiring millions of dollars in investment and intense collaboration among diverse talent.
-- Doreen Hemlock
BUSINESS Briefs for Miami, Miami Beach and the Keys
- Cybersecurity firm Teramind moved its headquarters from New York to Aventura, where it expects to employ 25.
- Telecom and utility builder MasTec entered the Fortune 500 at No. 428; the company is believed to be first Fortune 500 firm founded by a Cuban- American.
- Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden received a NASA grant of nearly $750,000 to create a center dedicated to food-growing technology.
- Private equity firm Aterian Investment Partners recently closed a $350-million fund, its third since its 2009 founding.
- Cybersecurity company Cyxtera Technologies acquired Miami-based online data security company Immunity. Terms were not disclosed.
- Dolphin Entertainment acquired New York-based public relations firm The Door for $11 million.
- George Feldenkreis, who founded Perry Ellis International, will take the fashion company private for $437 million. Feldenkreis’ son, Oscar Feldenkreis, will continue as CEO, and the founder will return to an active role in the company’s management.
- Indianapolis-based Duke Realty paid $180 million to buy three buildings — totaling nearly 1 million square feet — in Countyline Corporate Park from Florida East Coast Industries.
- City National Bank of Florida completed its acquisition of TotalBank; it now has $10.9 billion in deposits, $14.1 billion in assets and is the third-largest Floridabased bank. The company plans to close 11 branches in the county, largely in areas where the two banks overlapped.
- International Finance Bank will acquire the international deposits and banking team of New York-based Modern Bank and open an office in New York.
- Royal Caribbean will acquire 66.7% of Monacobased luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises for $1 billion in cash plus possible future stock. A Royal Caribbean subsidiary, Celebrity Cruises, will spend more than $500 million to renovate all of its ships between 2019 and 2023.
- Formula One racing postponed starting its planned Miami Grand Prix to at least 2020, in part because of issues regarding the route of the on-street track.
- Nicklaus Children’s Hospital will buy the Miami Medical Center campus out of bankruptcy for $30 million.
- Miami-based CityGrader, which lets members of the public review and grade local governments via a website, signed the city of Miami as its first public partner; Miami will be able to interact with people through the platform, and CityGrader installed its review kiosks at City Hall and the city’s administration building.
- Developer Melo Group is offering tenants at its Square Station rental apartments, which are adjacent to a Metromover masstransit station, a $100 monthly rent credit in exchange for not taking a parking space. New Jersey-based Prudential sold the 30-story 1111 Brickell office tower for $248.5 million to an affiliate of Orlandobased Parkway Properties and New York-based KKR.
- A Miami Beach resident who manages short-term rentals is suing the city, claiming its $20,000 fines for illegal short-term rentals — the highest in the nation — are pre-empted by limitations of Florida law and violate the Florida Constitution’s equal protection provision because the city does not impose them on historic buildings in one area of its North Beach neighborhood. Since it began imposing fines in 2016, the city has received payments for only $174,000 of the $12.1 million it has assessed, according to the Miami Herald. The city also introduced a “check your renter” online database of people and companies that have been fined for short-term rental violations.
- Developer Scott Robins and Philip Levine, the former mayor who failed to win the Democratic nomination for governor, sold 61,372 square feet of retail in seven buildings in the Sunset Harbour area for $68.75 million to Charlotte, N.C.-based Asana Partners.
- Florida International University received a U.S. patent for a magnet-based battery technology that can quickly power and recharge devices and electric vehicles.
- The city approved the development of Madison Square, which will include 50 low- and very low-income apartments and five retail spaces, anchored by a Family Dollar. The project must be maintained as affordable housing for 40 years and will be privately financed. The city has been working on the project, in a historically black neighborhood, for more than 20 years.
- Denver-based Grand Peaks Properties acquired the 304-unit Sundance Village Apartments for $65.6 million.
- Brightstar CEO Jaymin B. Patel resigned. Reza Taleghani, the company’s president and CFO, is interim CEO.
- Chris Cruzpino, Regions bank’s private wealth management executive for the tri-county South Florida area, added Miami- Dade County market executive to her responsibilities.
- The Dade County Medical Association installed its first female African-American president, Dr. Barbara Montford. Brightline hired Bob O’Malley as its vice president of government affairs.
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