Monday, April 27, 2015


Yet another long dormant project is being revived, this time in Boynton Beach. There is an enormous tract of land behind the Boynton Town Center on Congress Ave, widely considered to the center of the city. Back in 2005 1,120 town homes, apartments and single family homes were approved behind the retail shopping center. The retail center was built and the residential was not. Now it is back, reborn as 1,108 residences and a 24,000 square foot sober home facility. It will have a 3 acre park, with 1 acre dedicated to dog parks. The new found population behind the retail should bolster the retail stores and add needed population to downtown Boynton. Given the long time to complete this project, this is a good time to talk about development. The cycle typically takes between 3 and 5 years to build something, depending on what type of project and what city it will be built in. That timeframe could change either way if there are problematic issues with zoning, environmental, traffic, etc. There is a degree of risk in any development since you cannot control the market, which could go for or against you during this time. All the while you are spending money preparing a site plan and trying to get it approved by the city. Once you have that you are in a position to get real construction estimates and begin marketing. Before you can receive financing you must have a certain percentage of space leased in a commercial development or a certain amount of apartments sold, unless it self-financed which is rare. And you thought you wanted to be a developer? Not so easy, and large risks. But large rewards are possible as well as many multifamily developers could tell you these days. Will this one work with a sober home attached to it? Time will tell, since other than that this sounds like it has all the makings of a successful mixed use project. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.
Boynton approves 1,108-residence Cortina development [The Palm Beach Post, Fla.]

Monday, April 20, 2015


It is still at least 6 to 8 years away, but plans have been made to create the largest mall in the U.S. in Northwest Dade. Triple Five, the developer who owns the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall, has announced the plans for American Dream Miami. It would be built on a 200 acre site and will go before the county commission in March for a preliminary vote. While there haven’t been a ton of details released on it yet, the new park is expected to have an indoor ski slope and a water park, among other attractions. Another of them would be a submarine ride that would allow visitors to view a live coral reef. There would be large rides both indoors and outdoors. The economic impact of such a huge project would be equally huge. It would create thousands of jobs and more development would follow it, particularly hotels, restaurants and gas stations. It fills a void in the area for an amusement park and would capitalize on the already healthy tourism market. Locals would enjoy and utilize it along with the tourists and it would generate millions in tax revenues. What is not to like? Northwest Dade has always struggled compared with the rest of the city but this project would immediately transform the area, and make it onto the list of every tourist itinerary. I think it would also help generate development in Southwest Broward as well, which would be close by. Just when you think that Miami is finally done with no room left for further development an announcement like this appears. It really makes you wonder what is next, and I promise you can read about it here once it is announced. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Proposed multi-million-dollar mall, theme park is perfect for South Florida, analyst says

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Every once in a while I will find a nugget of a restaurant through all the reading I do. This was the case last night when we visited the Royal Blues Hotel in Deerfield Beach, home to Chanson. This hotel is the first Relais & Chateaux in Florida, a chain known for exceptional lodging and dining. It is owned by a guy named Edward Walson, a Hollywood filmmaker and Broadway producer/director. It is rare when someone just wants to have something that is of the highest quality and really doesn’t care about profits. That is the case here at this 44 seat restaurant, that caught my eye by saying it had 5 star service and dining like New York City. The look of the place is amazing, specifically a 1,500 gallon fish tank on the ceiling which cannot be ignored. Everything is very chic and cool looking. It is right next to the ocean.

There is not a large menu and the staff will not make any changes to the dishes, fortunately they didn't need to. After some initial frustration, I finally settled on 2 entrees instead of the normal appetizer and entrĂ©e. But the first one was scallops, so it was not huge. But it was amazing, prepared with a sort of Indian spice (madras curry porridge) and vegetables. My brother Seth had a Maine lobster dish and my friend Bob had the Ahi tuna. While there were not tons of wines by the glass, the options they had were good. The entrees didn't disappoint either, I went with the black grouper, which was a snapper substitute instead, served with vegetables, brother had the Bronzino and Bob went with the tagliatele with san marzano tomatoes. While I loved my snapper, I was particularly impressed with the pasta. Sounds like the most simple thing but it was exceptional. Everyone loved their food and we were really impressed by now. Given that there were only 4 desert choices we decided to get them all despite being only a party of 3. I went with the s’mores, brother had the lemon meets pistachio and Bob with the lift me up which was an espresso sponge cake with mousse and caramel. We shared the Laura’s Pumpkin Pie. An amazing surprise occurred when I realized that they had one of the best desert wines I have ever had, called Gold by Deerfield Ranch Winery. We got a bottle of that and there was none left before long. This was one of the best restaurants I have been to in Florida or anywhere for that matter. If you want to treat yourself to an amazing experience you need to try this place. I cannot wait to return! As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Sorry there was no photo associated with this article. This deal could soothe the wounds created by the news of Office Depot leaving. Yes another Fortune 500 company is looking to settle here and make a huge investment in Palm Beach County. United Technologies, already with 70 employees in the area, would be adding 380 jobs with average salaries of $85,000 in the creation of a regional headquarters. They are looking to build a 280,000 square foot office building in the Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens. The building would cost $115 million dollars to construct. If it happens, and it looks like it will, it will have a 5 year economic impact of $662 million dollars. Right now the land isn’t properly zoned for this use so it must be voted on by the Palm Beach Gardens City Council. But if it is not approved they will go elsewhere (North Carolina) and take the 70 jobs with them so I like the chances here. If United Technologies doesn’t sound familiar you may recognize Pratt & Whitey, Carrier Air Conditioning and Otis Elevators, which it owns. It is very exciting that another large company wants to expand its presence here. This could give some badly needed momentum to the Briger development and could attract more companies to the area. Speaking of which, there is another large company, unnamed as of yet, that is also looking to bring 300 jobs to the area. Keep your fingers crossed, this could be a great month for Palm Beach county. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

United Technologies could bring 380 jobs at $85,000+ to county

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


It is time we took notice of what is happening these days at Boca Raton’s own Florida Atlantic University. Once known as a commuter party school, things are quickly changing thanks to new president John Kelly. We have a great 2 for 1 blog on this and let’s begin with the article on the new partnership announced. FAU has entered into a program for undergraduates and graduate students with The Max Planck Florida Institute and the Scripps Research Institute. It will focus on the science, medical and engineering fields and will open in 2016. A joint curriculum will be developed, new faculty hired and a selective admissions process instituted. These are the leading research firms in the U.S. and will attract the best talent from across the state and beyond. It raises the school’s profile tremendously. This brings us to the 2ndarticle, which focuses on the new leader of FAU, John Kelly. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak recently and this guy is extremely impressive. His goal is to turn the university into a top 20 school and attract the best faculty and students in the country. This is a great step, but not his first. He has a vision of “building student quality and the overall quality of the institution.” So far he has raised graduation rates 5%, raised the admission standards, and created a program for at risk students so as to better prepare freshmen. They have also added more advisors and streamlined their admissions decisions. He plans on recruiting top faculty and increasing research funding. Expect to see great things from FAU going forward as long as John Kelly is there. I am confident that he will be successful in achieving his goals and will transform the school into one that we can all be proud of. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Kelly gets high marks for first year as FAU president

FAU launching unique program with Scripps, Max Planck

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Florida Tops Nation in Home Insurance Cost, Doubles U.S Average


Sorry to beat a dead horse here but you know this is one of my hot buttons, insurance. I just couldn’t resist this one and I think the more attention it gets the better chance it has to get changed. Despite not experiencing a hurricane in over 10 years, the average home premium to insure a house in Florida topped $2,000 for the first time. It is almost twice the national average and completely unjustified. And over time we are getting ever less insurance for the higher prices. What really troubles me is that the rising water levels have not yet become a factor, because when they do it will also cause premiums to rise. So now is the time we need to see rates come down and our leaders are the ones responsible for this. Sadly, the insurance lobbists are very friendly with our governor and that is a big problem for residents. It is an unavoidable polical reality in the U.S. that large companies and interests buy influence with polical leaders. They give the hopeful leaders funding to help them get elected and when they are they are expected to pay their benefactors back with favorable rulings and treatment. Until the voters put an end to this it will continue unabated. At least the flood maps are being redrawn which will provide relief to some, but that is not the long term solution here. One thing is for sure, this can only get better because it can’t get any worse. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.