Southeast Florida Roundup
Mike Maroone has been buying dealerships again
In December, the Maroone name reappeared in the auto marketplace in South Florida. It had been as much a household name as any auto dealer can be when the family group sold in 1997 to Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation. Dealership group leader Mike Maroone joined AutoNation with his dealerships and went on to be president, COO and a board member of the publicly held company. When the retailer reflagged its dealerships in 2013, the family name came down from its former stores.
Maroone retired in 2015. In 2017, he purchased four dealerships in Colorado and later an interest in West Palm Beach’s Roger Dean Chevrolet, another longtime community name then run by Dean’s daughter, Patty. In December, Maroone bought her share of the business and reflagged the dealership under the Maroone USA banner.
Maroone, 67, serves as chairman of Cleveland Clinic Florida’s board and is a director on Cleveland Clinic’s enterprise board and on several corporate boards — he’s lead independent director of online used-car seller Carvana — and has investments in nearly 50 businesses. He says his return to auto retailing marks the “knowledge transfer” stage of his life, passing on what he knows to a sonin- law and two nephews just as his auto dealer father, now 98, did with him.
The city of Fort Lauderdale is considering tearing down a large downtown public garage on three acres adjacent to the main Broward County library. It had selected development firm Stiles to redesign the garage, but some officials are reconsidering that plan.
- Port St. Lucie will pay $400,000 to buy the site of the often-promised, neverdelivered 21-acre City Center from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which placed it under a receiver in 2015 after developer and Chinese national Lily Zhong was accused of defrauding investors through an EB-5 visa program. The property’s $46 million in back taxes and assessments discouraged private- sector interest in buying from the SEC.
- Coral Gables-based Kern wants to develop a 39-acre site near the Vero Beach Outlets mall for 900 townhouse and single-family houses and 308 RVs, calling the project Venetian Grove.
- Luxury developer Group P6 broke ground on its nine-story, 48-unit Royal Palm Residences in downtown Boca Raton. It expects to finish the project in 2022.
- Aventura-based Fontainebleau Development and Perko Development Partners broke ground on the 21-unit SeaGlass Jupiter Island. They expect to complete the units, priced $5.9 million to $10 million, in 2022.
- In West Palm Beach, Miami-based Carrfour Supportive Housing opened the 36-unit Dr. Alice Moore Apartments, Florida’s first supportive housing developed for formerly homeless people suffering from mental illness. Related Cos., the real estate firm led by New Yorker and Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross that owns Rosemary Square, the former City- Place in West Palm Beach, acquired the 448,914-sq.-ft. Phillips Point office complex for $282 million from AEW Capital Management. AEW acquired the property in 2015 for $246 million.
- The federal government is building a courthouse in Fort Lauderdale after deciding on a $13.5-million property a few blocks south of the Broward County Courthouse. The project won’t be completed until 2026.
- The $4 billion in donations that Mackenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave away late in 2020 included $10 million to the United Way of Palm Beach County, a six-figure donation — the largest in its history — to Meals on Wheels South Florida in Plantation and undisclosed amounts to United Way of Broward County, United Way of Miami-Dade and YWCA South Florida.
- Deerfield Beach-based Youfit Health Clubs filed for Chapter 11 protection as it worked to turn itself over to its lenders. Youfit had 61 of its 85 locations in Florida.
- Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute continued its research into bonefish with a study providing the first detailed documentation of the shallow-water fish diving 450 feet to spawn.
- FedEx plans a 245,000-sq.-ft. facility that will employ 40 full-time and 450 part-time in Tradition’s Legacy Park in Port St. Lucie.
- Two marinas in Deerfield Beach sold for $18.1 million to affiliates of Partridge Equity Group, which plans a multi-family development and marina. The sellers were the Pennell family for Pennell’s Marina and Todd Littejohn for Freedom Marina.
- Boat maker Gazza South will build a facility in the Treasure Coast Commerce Center.
- Loudon, Tenn.-based Malibu Boats, parent of Fort Pierce-based Pursuit Boats, bought Fort Pierce-based Maverick Boat Group for $170 million.
- Federal Judge Raag Singhal granted an injunction sought by Fort Lauderdale area bars, nightclubs and restaurants that sued Broward County over its bans on selling food and alcohol after midnight.
- Florida Atlantic University’s Peter Ricci, director of the university’s hospitality and tourism management program, predicts pent-up consumer demand will begin to revive the industry once 20 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. The cruise industry will see heavy demand through 2023. Business travel will take years to rebound, he says, which impacts hotels. He foresees a wave of acquisitions and foreclosures.
Read more in Florida Trend's March issue.
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