by Mike Vogel
Updated 3 months ago
A developer tries to sway commissioners, but in Martin County that goes only so far.
If a developer’s customers include global celebrities, it makes sense to call in the big names when seeking approval in growth-adverse Martin County.
Discovery Land Co. wants to develop Atlantic Fields, 317 homes on 420 acres and another 2,300 acres held as recreation, ag and conservation land. CSQ (C-Suite Quarterly) has said of Discovery founder Mike Meldman, “you’re most likely to know him as your favorite celebrity’s favorite real estate developer.”
Discovery has developed 27 private golf course developments in North America, the Caribbean and Europe but none so far in Florida. “The Luxury Real Estate Empire Where Tom Brady and Reese Witherspoon Can Hide Out,” reads an Architectural Digest headline.
Buyers in Discovery’s projects include Gisele Bündchen and Brady, Witherspoon, Michael Jordan, Cindy Crawford and a slew of CEOs. Among those popping off e-mails of support — some of which were form letters — for the Martin County development were Brady, golfer Will Zalatoris, Michael Strahan and executives from Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Strahan said he planned to buy a home there. E-mailed Brady, "As Discovery members, my family and I are truly looking forward to spending time at Atlantic Fields for years to come. I hope you see the many positive benefits of the project and support us on Tuesday so we can move forward with the project.”
In Martin, the gliterrati communications went only so far. Commissioners deferred a vote on the land-use change to “rural lifestyle” that the project needs.
- West Palm Beach-based nursing home company MorseLife will pay $1.75 million to settle federal allegations that it diverted COVID-19 vaccines when first available in December 2020 to wealthy donors ineligible at that point for the jabs. MorseLife denied the allegations. A federal judge sentenced Delray Beach businessman Marc Sporn, 59, to 14 years in prison for defrauding the government of more than $20 million by peddling unnecessary tests and products to Medicare beneficiaries.
- Nashville-based financial tech company MyBambu will employ 82 at a new office in West Palm Beach. Israel-based inspection and monitoring company Percepto will add 100 jobs in Riviera Beach.
- Structural composites maker Renco USA is adding 100 jobs and moving its headquarters to Jupiter from Miami.
- Palm Beach voters in November will decide whether to approve a $200-million bond offering to fund workforce housing.
- West Palm Beach City Commissioners voted to require landlords to give tenants 60 days’ notice if raising rents by 5% or more.
- Stuart approved plans by New Urban Communities to develop a 52-apartment, mixeduse project by the Martin County Courthouse.
- Forest Development and Royal Palm Companies formed a joint venture to develop Nautilus 220, a mixed-use project in Lake Park with 330 condos in two, 24-story towers, plus restaurants, retail and offices.
- United Way of Broward County created Housing United, which is raising money to develop 2,500 housing units in five years. It launched with a $10-million endowment from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
- The Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Complex west of Palm Beach Gardens will add 40 acres in two years to develop archery, RV, picnic and administrative facilities.
- Bahkta Farms plans a rum distillery in Indian River County.
- Lemnature AquaFarms, a supplier of a plant-based food ingredient to the food, beverage and nutrition markets, will hire 46 after receiving approval from Indian River County for up to $200,000 in job grant money.
- Latin American pharma company Procaps Group will create 200 jobs at a facility in Riviera Beach.
- Florida Atlantic University’s president since 2014, John Kelly, 67, will retire at yearend. Under Kelly, the university improved its graduation rate and ranking within the State University System.
- The federal South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act, passed in a bipartisan vote in Congress, requires a federal assessment and plan to reduce harmful algal blooms in area waters, including the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie River Estuary, Florida Bay, Biscayne Bay and the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
- New York-based art storage company Uovo opened a site in West Palm Beach, its second in the county, adding 15 jobs.
- Discount startup Norse Atlantic Airways began flying from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo and plans to add Paris and other European cities, the first direct service from Fort Lauderdale to Europe since Norwegian Air Shuttle ceased operating from there.
- Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted to pay Elon Musk’s Boring company $375,000 to study building a tunnel from downtown to the beach.