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FAU New Stadium

Video Sponsored by: CHOPS Lobster Bar



Florida Atlantic University’s
strengthening football team is coming home
to Boca Raton and a new stadium.

On Sept. 18, FAU’s board of trustees unanimously approved a plan to build a 30,000-seat football stadium on its Boca Raton campus in a $62 million project.

The vote authorized FAU President Frank Brogan and his staff to secure bond financing, a letter of credit from a financial institution and assemble a design and construction team. In order to obtain financial backing, FAU will begin selling box suites, club seats, sponsorships and naming rights. The state university’s foundation will begin a fundraising drive.

Brogan said 15 people indicated they wanted suites before the stadium was even approved. He’s optimistic the university will meet all of its revenue goals for the project.

“When the Legislature gave us this university in Broward and Palm Beach counties, they didn’t say we had to be a second-rate university forever,” FAU board of trustees Chairman Norman Tripp said. “We have the right to make this a world-class institution now. We can bring to this university the full experience.”

The steel stadium will be on the northeast corner of the campus. One end zone would be left open to allow for expansion. Construction would start in spring 2009 and finish in time for the Fall 2010 season.

With 20,450-seat Lockhart Stadium, FAU’s current home, scheduled to be demolished in 2008 (should the Baltimore Orioles decide to stay in Fort Lauderdale), the team will need a new home for one or two seasons. FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos said it could rent bleachers to create a temporary on-campus stadium for up to $800,000 a year or play at Dolphin Stadium for $85,000 a game – if it can work around the University of Miami’s schedule. FAU should decide by February.

By Jim Freer and Paul Brinkmann

The four-bedroom waterfront house, at 23 Castle Harbor Isle in Fort Lauderdale, has marble floors, a pool and is one of about 8,000 local foreclosure properties that banks, lenders and loan buyers now own.

The new agent for the house, Fort Lauderdale Realtor John Byrne, is learning the nuances of selling “real estate owned” homes quickly. He expects the Castle Harbor Isle home to sell easily, but not at the $1.95 million the previous buyer paid in 2005.

“My recommendation will be less than the ’05 price,” Byrne said as he walked through the house. “The market has changed, and a foreclosure property does have problems.”

Officials of Irvine, Calif. based RealtyTrac, the source of the foreclosure statistic, many bankers and real estate officials are certain thousands more foreclosures are coming in South Florida. They’re not surprised by RealtyTrac’s number, which is based on that company’s examination of court filings.

As more borrowers default on home loans, in many cases because of rising adjustable rates, foreclosures will be a big factor in stalling a rebound in South Florida housing prices, they add.

The rate of foreclosure filings has tripled in Florida since mid-2006, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s surveys of loan servicers.

The trade group estimates about 25,000 foreclosures were filed in Florida during the second quarter. It did not provide a breakdown by county.

Lenders and borrowers often work out new payment methods after foreclosures are filed. Generally, more than half of homes that enter the process become real estate owned, or REOs, said David Dabby, president of the Dabby Group, a Coral Gables based real estate consulting firm.

The number of South Florida foreclosures “will get worse, just considering the number of subprime loans whose rates will adjust higher next year,” said Bruce Keir, president and CEO of Weston-based Community Bank of Broward, which is among numerous South Florida based banks that make very few residential loans they hold on their books.

“We have one residential REO, and we are getting ready to sell it,” Keir said.

By Brian Bandell and Darcie Lunsford

Business incentives are often hailed as vital to spurring job growth, but a Business Journal analysis finds most of the potential payouts are never collected.

South Florida's three counties and the state approved incentives for 43,030 jobs from 1993 to 2003, but incentives for less than half – 18,762 jobs have been actually paid out. (The Business Journal used that time period because more recent incentive deals may not have had enough time to create jobs and collect the incentive money.)

Even when the money is paid out, there's no guarantee the jobs will last. More than a third of the jobs ended up being eliminated after $6.1 million in incentives were paid.

The bottom line: 13,251 jobs had incentives paid and continue to employ workers, which represents less than one-half a percent of the region's 2.8 million workers. The cost for each of those jobs, given the $33 million paid out by four programs since the early 1990s, is $2,490 a job.

The Business Journal also found some companies just don't seem organized enough to collect their incentives, while others create some jobs, but not enough to hit their payday. It's arguable that taxpayers get a free ride in those cases.

In the largest program, run by the state of Florida, only 5 percent of the South Florida deals from 1996 through 2003 resulted in the company being paid in full – indicating they maintained the projected number of new jobs over the lives of their deals.

“That indicates the program was highly ineffective,” said Dr. Eric Shaw, the chairman of the department of marketing at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business and the Faculty Senate president. “That indicates a high risk and low return.”

There are some risks in job growth incentive programs, but Florida counties must meet what competitors around the country are doing to lure companies, said Charlie Caulkins, managing partner at Fort Lauderdale based law firm Fisher & Phillips and a former chair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

“Some of that stuff, you almost have to do because other states are doing it,” said state Sen. Steven Geller, D-Hallandale Beach. “But no state should be doing it.”

Results from Pre-2004 Incentives

Largest Payments to Companies
that Collected Incentives

Darcie Lunsford’s Hair provided by:
Wild Hare Salon and Spa | 2120 St. Andrews | Boca Raton


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