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The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance helped companies retain or create 757 jobs in Broward County in a span of six months, leaders of the nonprofit economic development organization said at its mid-year luncheon on Friday.

More than 600 people attended the gathering at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. The event was presented by Florida Power & Light and the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“Companies continue to choose Greater Fort Lauderdale’s highly competitive business climate and unbeatable quality of life,” said Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Below are economic development highlights from the Alliance between Oct. 1, 2021 and April 30:

West Marine, a national chain of boating supplies and retail stores, will create 225 jobs at its new national headquarters at 1 E. Broward Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. West Marine’s previous headquarters was in Santa Cruz, California. The company is also making an $800,000 capital investment to build out its 50,000-square-foot office space.

Icon International, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based corporate barter service, will add another 100 jobs as it increases its office footprint at 301 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale to 23,598 square feet this summer.

Project Play, the code name for an anonymous company that makes plush toys, action figures, collectibles, and musical instruments, has retained 75 jobs, created 150 jobs, and will make a $10 million capital investment in Plantation. Back in October 2021, Project Play was seeking up to $112,500 in incentives from Broward County in exchange for making more than $8 million in capital investments and creating 150 jobs by 2029 that pay an average salary of $80,874 a year. It’s leasing a facility that’s 100,000 square feet in size — the location of which can’t be revealed as yet.

Funtrition, a manufacturer of gummy vitamins affiliated with the Procaps Group (Nasdaq: PROC), that will be moving into a a 60,000-square-foot warehouse at 11600 Miramar Parkway in June. Funtrition will create 100 jobs, retain 42 jobs, and make a $9 million capital investment in Miramar.

CIG Financial, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in providing loans for automobile, will be create 30 jobs in a 7,800-square-foot office at 1475 W. Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale.

Pherros Biosciences, a biotech company based in Deerfield Beach that produces novel drugs and treatments, will create 20 jobs at its 25,000-square-foot space at 740 S. Powerline Road.

Norse Atlantic Airways, a low-cost airline based in Arendal, Norway, will open its U.S. headquarters at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport at 5520 N.W. 21st Terrace. Norse Atlantic Airways will create 15 jobs as it launches flights from Fort Lauderdale to Paris, London and Oslo later this year.

Swindell also touted other significant moves into Broward that either occurred outside of the six month period, or by companies that weren’t assisted by the Alliance. They include:

Stryker (NYSE: SYK), a multinational medical technologies company, which opened a facility at 3365 Enterprise Ave. in Weston in 2019 with the Alliance’s assistance. Stryker is in the process of adding 550 jobs, retained 351 jobs, and made a capital investment of $25 million.

TD Bank (NYSE: TD) and the Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation, will soon launch an innovation program that will create 200 new jobs in the Fort Lauderdale area.

JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), which leased 15,000 square feet inside The Main Las Olas, a newly constructed Class A building at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. JP Morgan Chase will hire 15 to 40 people, Swindell said.

Starr Insurance Co. leased 11,000 square feet at the Main Las Olas.

UK-based Vantage UAE opened a drone factory at 13798 N.W. 4th St. in Sunrise.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush also spoke at the event. He advocated a return to “decent politics” encouraged entrepreneurs to take more risks.

Other sponsors of the event include Delta Airlines, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Memorial Healthcare System, Seminole Heritage Services, the City of Hollywood, JetBlue Airways, JM Family Enterprises, South Florida Business & Wealth, AutoNation, Becker, Broward Health, Capital Analytics Associates, Duke Realty, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Hotwire Communications, Starmark, Verizon, and the South Florida Business Journal.

A partnership between private companies and Broward local governments, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance advocates for companies to move to Broward County, The organization also advocates for incentives on behalf of private enterprises that hire and make a significant capital contribution. Additionally, the Alliance helps with permitting and connecting outside companies with local businesses and officials.


Source:  SFBJ


When the decision comes down on whether Spirit Airlines’ corporate headquarters will remain in South Florida, it will likely happen 2,000 miles outside of the tri-county area.

“We’ve got a delegation ready to fly to Denver,” said Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Broward County’s leading economic development agency.

The Alliance and Broward Mayor Michael Udine are prepared to go to Colorado to make their case to keep Spirit’s high-paying corporate jobs here. They’ve mobilized just days after Denver-based Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: ULCC) and Spirit (NYSE: SAVE) announced a $6.6 billion merger transaction that encompasses debt, including a $2.9 billion purchase price for Spirit. Frontier would own a 51.1% interest in the new corporation.

A selection committee led by Frontier Chairman William Franke will determine where the newly formed company would be based, following expected regulatory approvals on the deal. If the committee rules in favor of Denver being home to the combined companies’ main base of operations, it could potentially mean a loss of high-paying jobs in the region. A decision won’t be announced until either June, or when the deal is expected to close.

“The average wage is higher in corporate offices whether it is legal, accounting, or financial jobs,” Swindell said.

Meanwhile, Spirit — currently based in Miramar — will still move forward with the construction of a new office complex in Dania Beach, a corporate spokesperson told the Business Journal.

Spirit is expected to relocate its headquarters there in 2023. Until then, the company leases 56,000 square feet at 2800 Executive Way and an additional 15,000-square-foot facility at 2844 Corporate Way, both in Miramar. Those leases will expire in January 2025, according to the company’s most recent annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The lease for its 26,000-square-foot expanded office at 2877-2899 N. Commerce Parkway in Miramar is expected to expire in February 2024.

For its Dania Beach move, Spirit purchased an 8.5-acre parcel for $41 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and also entered into a 99-year agreement to lease a 2.6-acre parcel of land, where it’s in the process of building the headquarters campus for over 1,000 employees. It broke ground in January 2021 with an expected completion date of fall 2023.

Spirit’s plan for its mixed-use complex at Dania Pointe would include up to 500,000 square feet of office space, a 103,000-square-foot flight simulator, and 200 corporate apartment units. The first phase of the complex is being constructed on the land Spirit bought, at the corner of Bryan Road and Radiant Drive. Spirit also stated it would hire an additional 225 people between 2022 and 2026 for the new corporate outpost.

What’s more, landing the Spirit-Frontier headquarters could mean even more corporate jobs in the area.

The merger will enable both companies to add 10,000 more jobs nationwide, and “thousands of additional jobs at the companies’ business partners,” a Spirit spokeswoman stated.


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