Southeast Florida Roundup
Palm Beach County benefits from 2017 federal tax cut
Palm Beach County benefits from the 2017 federal tax cut.
Around 2013, as high-tax northern states elected to ding their residents for more taxes, the Palm Beach County Business Development Board began knocking on the doors of financiers who lived part-time in the county to sell them on relocating their operations to Florida. Interest accelerated when the 2017 federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act limited state and local tax deductions for high-income individuals.
Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the board, says the effort has resulted in 70 financial services firms moving to Palm Beach County in the last five years, and the board is working with 15 more. “Wealth management firms seem to top the list, along with private equity and family offices,” she says.
Other regions of Florida also are drawing interest. “Hedge funds and investment managers looking for an environment with relatively low taxes, stable government, access to capital and lower operating costs have found the perfect home in Miami and South Florida,” says Raul Garcia, chairman of the Miami Finance Forum and a principal in the financial services practice at Kaufman Rossin in Miami.
Along with putting offices here, some financial firms have made investments, although the firms themselves don’t draw a cause-and-effect on their decisions. Dell Computer founder Michael Dell’s MSD Capital, which opened an office in West Palm Beach, for example, this year bought the 1,047-room Boca Raton Resort and Club from Blackstone for $875 million.
- After-market jet engine distributor International Aircraft Associates expanded its headquarters in the Miramar Park of Commerce.
- Resort owner Genting ceased its partnership with Germany’s FRS Caribbean in offering a two-hour ferry ride from Miami to Bimini, where Genting has a resort. FRS accordingly ceased the service. Genting switched partners to Spain’s Balearia Caribbean, which has had ferry service to Freeport from Broward seaport Port Everglades.
- Amazon will build a 60,000-sq.- ft. warehouse in Fort Pierce employing 200.
- Boca Raton-based theater chain iPic Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 protection. It has 123 screens in 16 cities. Sears closed its Indian River Mall store.
- Professional Bank hired Lee Frankhouser as executive vice president/private banker in Palm Beach Gardens.
- Robert H. Shapiro, 61, former CEO and founder in Boca Raton of real estate firm Woodbridge Group of Cos., pleaded guilty in a $1.3-billion Ponzi scheme that fleeced thousands, mostly retirees but also ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. According to prosecutors, the $25 million to $95 million that Shapiro took went for his estate in Los Angeles, chartered planes and art by Picasso, Renoir and others. He could receive up to 25 years in prison when sentenced in October.
- Tapping into Palm Beach County’s aerospace hub, engineering firm Cyient Defense Services will add 50 jobs, paying $85,000 on average, to its existing 150 and build a 30,000-sq.-ft. facility near Jupiter that handles engineering services and the machining of precision aerospace hardware.
- Deerfield Beach-based auto company JM Family Enterprises acquired Home Franchise Concepts in California, which sells franchises under the brands Budget Blinds, Tailored Living, Concrete Craft and AdvantaClean.
- Doctor staffing company Hayes Locums will keep its headquarters in Broward and add 250 support staffers to its 184-employee workforce in Fort Lauderdale after receiving $750,000 in state and local government incentives.
Co-founded by engineer CEO Zia Bhutta and chief automation officer Ahmed Zaidi, Sunrise-based Accelirate provides process automation and artificial intelligence services to help companies increase productivity and eliminate errors. It has 125 employees in South Florida, New Jersey and Houston. It expects to end this year with 160, with most being added in South Florida.
The company is launching new services this year and expects to end the year with $11 million in revenue, up from $3 million last year.
Read more in Florida Trend's October issue.
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