Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Urban sprawl: Urban living makes its way into the suburbs

In March, across from Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise in west Broward and a couple thousand feet from the BB&T Center arena, Richman Signature Properties finished the last building at its Portico project, a five-story, 417-unit luxury apartment development that’s the latest example of the growth of urban hubs in suburban southeast Florida.

“In a lot of ways, Sunrise is falling in that national trend of ‘surban’ — urban but in the suburbs,” says Kristen Gucwa, vice president of marketing and national lease-up operations for Richman Signature, the luxury division of Greenwich, Conn.- based Richman Group.

Urban downtowns are reviving, but it’s the suburbs that will draw at least 80% of the surge in new households as young families choose places that combine urban amenities with the traditional suburban pluses of good schools, value and kid-friendly living, says a recent report from the Urban Land Institute.

With raw developable land all but gone, Broward’s future will be mostly vertical and multi-family.


Developer Terra is at work on Pines City Center, a 47-acre mixed-use project combining entertainment, retail and 385 apartments next to the site where the city is building a civic center.

Business Briefs

BOCA RATON — Office Depot sold its New Zealand and Australia OfficeMax business to private equity firm Platinum Equity for undisclosed terms and sold its South Korean business to Hong Kong investment firm Excelsior. Boston-based communications tower company American Tower laid off 56.

DANIA BEACH — Phoenix- based PetSmart acquired online retailer Chewy for a reported $3.35 billion.

FORT LAUDERDALE — First Green Bank loaned private, not-for-profit Keiser University $10 million to acquire Keiser campuses in Daytona Beach and Orlando from a real estate company controlled by chancellor Art Keiser. Brazilian airplane maker Embraer launched its Embraer Foundation in Fort Lauderdale to raise funds for social and environmental projects. Airbnb agreed to start collecting hotel bed taxes in Broward and Miami-Dade. It will mean an additional $1 million a year for Broward and $6 million for Miami-Dade.

Developer Jimmy Tate, after withdrawing a previous high-rise plan in the face of criticism, put forward a new plan for renovating the Bahia Mar property to add 651 residential units and a 250-room hotel, plus shops, restaurants and a boardwalk. Boca Raton’s Crocker Partners sold One Financial Plaza downtown for $87 million to Walton Street Capital.

FORT PIERCE — The National Science Foundation gave Indian River State College $2.6 million to expand its Laser-Tec, a center focused on increasing the number of trained laser and fiber-optic technicians. The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, the non-profi t that supports FAU’s Harbor Branch research institute, sued FAU’s trustees, accusing the university, which took over the institute in 2007 and made it an FAU campus, of trying to take over the Harbor Branch endowment and money it receives from state license plate sales. FAU says the foundation misunderstands FAU’s intentions and goals.

HOLLYWOOD — New York insurer EmblemHealth Services laid off 221.

JUPITER — Dallas-based marina owner and operator Suntex Marina Investors acquired 11 Loggerhead Marina properties in Florida from Seven King Holdings of Jupiter, becoming the largest marina operator in Florida. The acquired marinas are in St. Petersburg, Daytona Beach, Vero Beach, Miami, Aventura, Hollywood, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and two in Lantana. Gas turbine designer Parametric Solutions will make a $1-million investment and add 200 jobs to the 255 at its offi ce and plant in Jupiter.

PALM BEACH — Real estate investor and former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt paid $77 million to Venezuelan banker Victor Vargas for an oceanfront estate with an 18,452-sq.-ft. home.


Adam Putnam

Innovation Salt Sales

When designer Jennifer Cramer saw the rack that her husband Brett Cramer made to display exotic salts, she knew it would make a good gourmet business. Spice Lab is now one of the largest U.S. importers of Himalayan pink salt and sells niche salts, seasonings, teas and gifts through 6,000 stores as well as online and at its own store in Fort Lauderdale, where the Cramers attended high school at Cardinal Gibbons. The company is No. 1651 on the Inc. 5000 with $6.8 million in 2015 revenue and is an Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. It regularly rolls out new products — recently a turmeric tea — and is launching a line of bath and body products this year. In March, it opened a 75,000-sq.-ft. plant, showroom and office.