Photo: Tim Donovan/FWC
Southeast Florida Roundup
Long range plan: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission opens a shooting range
In 2004, Palm Beach County paid $60 million for 1,900-acre Mecca Farms, citrus grove land near Palm Beach Gardens, to house the future home of Scripps Florida and the biotech cluster of businesses that bio-boosters envisioned. The county spent another $91 million on design work and extending infrastructure before environmentalist protests overwhelmed the plan, and Scripps located in Jupiter instead. The county took a bath on its Mecca investment. It sold the site for $26 million to the South Florida Water Management District. As part of the deal, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission got 150 acres to create the Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Park.
BOCA RATON — Prison operator GEO Group acquired West Caldwell, N.J.-based rehab services company Community Education Centers for $360 million. Office Depot cited a restructuring for an undisclosed number of layoffs.
CORAL SPRINGS — Cleveland Clinic Florida began work on a $32-million, 74,000-sq.-ft. expansion in Coral Springs.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Kolter Group broke ground at its 100 Las Olas project downtown. Prices range from nearly $800,000 to more than $2 million for units in the 46-story building, the tallest in the city, with 121 residences and 238 Hyatt Centric-branded hotel rooms. It will be the first Las Olas hotel downtown since the Riverside was built in 1936. The Florida Venture Capital Conference will host its 2018 session Jan. 29-31 at the Marriott Harbor Beach.
FORT PIERCE — HCBF, parent company of Harbor Community Bank, acquired Oldsmar-based Jefferson Bank of Florida and its parent for $40 million in stock and cash. Jefferson had $296 million in assets and five branches. Harbor had 41 branches and $1.8 billion in assets.
JUNO BEACH — Florida Power & Light formally commissioned three new solar plants in Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties and says it will add eight solar power plants in Florida by 2018. MARGATE — The city imposed mandatory minimum lot sizes for charter schools, effectively blocking development of charters there.
MIRAMAR — Discount carrier Spirit Airlines says it cut complaints to the federal government from customers to under 4 per 100,000 customers last year from more than 11 per 100,000. Swiss Watch International, once on the Inc. magazine list of the fastest-growing companies, discontinued operations and laid off 129.
PEMBROKE PINES — Dietary supplement company Stemtech International filed for Chapter 11 protection.
POMPANO BEACH — Nashville-based call-center company Sitel laid off 804 after losing contracts. It opened the center in 2015.
PLANTATION — Augmented reality developer Magic Leap acquired Zurich-based Dacuda’s 3-D division.
SUNRISE — American Express completed a 400,000-sq.-ft. regional headquarters that will employ more than 3,000 consolidated from offices in Miramar, Plantation and Miami.
FWC, NRA, Palm Beach County and the South Florida Water Management District.
TIMELINE: A $3.8-million phase including rifle and pistol ranges opens this year at the Palm Beach County site. Further phases, including a sporting clays range, will be finished in 2018.
The facility marks the latest in a flurry of new government-run public shooting ranges in the state. Bay County, the National Rifle Association and FWC in November opened a range in the Panama City Beach area (pictured) that holds a sporting clays course and multiple rife and pistol ranges. The state also has plans for a new shooting sports park in Osceola County.
Abraham Fischler became the second president of what is now Nova Southeastern University in 1970. The school, then known as Nova University of Advanced Technology, had just a few dozen students and no accreditation. Fischler got Nova started in distance learning long before other universities ventured onto the internet to teach courses. The move propelled the school to rapid growth. At his retirement 22 years later, Nova had grown to 11,000 students.
Fischler died of natural causes April 3. He was 89.
The 230,000-sq.-ft. Fort Lauderdale Xtreme Action Park just off I-95 in recent months added an ultimate fighting gym, escape rooms, a roller rink and trampoline area to its existing go-kart track, arcade games, bowling and other amusements.
David Goldfarb, president of PrimeTime Amusements, one of Xtreme Action’s co-owners, says it’s getting 15,000 new customers a month. The new roller rink will be used for skating and derby and can be converted into flex space for events. Goldfarb partnered with real estate developer and car collector Michael Dezer and Aaron Parkinson on Xtreme. It adjoins the Fort Lauderdale Auto Museum, stocked with 300 Dezer vehicles. Dezer has an auto museum and Ninja gym in North Miami. PrimeTime, meanwhile, has arcades in the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal and is opening another facility at an undisclosed location in Florida this year.