Lawmaker says state ‘being cheap’ in under-funding agencies

By Eliot Kleinberg – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 4:28 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WEST PALM BEACH — Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of budget items that would have sent millions of dollars to Palm Beach County let down legislators from both sides of the aisle who worked together to get them, Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, told Wednesday’s monthly luncheon of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.

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UPCOMING: Wednesday July 15th Dave Kerner A Report on the Legislative Session


Palm Beach Outlets Adds Big Box Stores To Its Mix

By Jennifer Sorentrue – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Seven months after the opening of the biggest redevelopment project in Palm Beach County since the Great Recession, a wave of big-box stores is setting up shop over the next two months on the outskirts of the Palm Beach Outlets. Nearly a dozen new stores, including T.J. Maxx, Ulta Beauty and DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, are scheduled to open by early-November just west of the open-air outlet mall on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. The 300,000-square-foot Marketplace at the Outlets, will ultimately house roughly 20 stores, most of which will be national chains.

“Those large box retailers all want to be together in one place, and that will create more synergy for the center,” said Rebel Cook, a commercial real estate broker based in Jupiter and president of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County. As the stores relocate, Cook said the vacant space with be redeveloped or taken over by other retailers. Retail space along Okeechobee Boulevard is desirable because of the amount of traffic along the road every day and its proximity to other shopping areas, experts say.
“Palm Beach Lakes, it used to be the center of West Palm Beach,” Cook said. “If you traveled up 95, you got off at the old mall. Then the area died. Now, you have a resurgence of activity.”

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Economic engine or traffic gridlock — where is Indiantown Road going?

By Bill DiPaolo – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 12:36 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014

New restaurants. A luxury movie theater. A gated community with 275 residences, retail and biotech. A bigger gas station. A new medical office building. A $150 million entertainment center. More retail All these are being built and proposed on Indiantown Road, the town’s main east-west roadway. The road starts at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre on State Road A1A and goes west about a dozen miles past Florida’s Turnpike to the Beeline Highway. In between are local places like Average Joe’s Pub to auto dealerships to giant retailers such as Wal-Mart.

But Rebel Cook, a north county commercial property Realtor who is the agent for a 2-acre vacant parcel on Indiantown Road near Town Hall, said Indiantown Road is a future economic engine for Jupiter. “If I had five properties on Indiantown Road, I could sell them right now,” Cook said. The fact that there is little undeveloped land on the town’s main road to and from the beach makes the property valuable, Cook said. As that inventory shrinks, the properties with older buildings will be redeveloped, said Cook, whose office is off Indiantown Road near Wal-Mart. “The traffic is not that bad. The complainers are old-timers who don’t want growth or development. But they have to understand that development brings revenue to businesses and tax dollars to local government,” Cook said.

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Property values: Who’s sitting on a gold mine?

By Jennifer Sorentrue, Kavya Sukumar and Fedor Zarkhin
Palm Beach Post Staff Writers
Monday, Aug. 25, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH — Although many local governments boast they will hold their property tax rates flat next year, the increase in taxes paid to Palm Beach County taxing districts will more than double under preliminary tax proposals released last week, a Palm Beach Post analysis found.

Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits addresses the county’s Economic Forum Wednesday, August 20, 2014, at the Kravis Center
Members of the Economic Forum listen Wednesday, August 20, 2014 as property Appraiser Gary Nikolits gives a talk at the Kravis Center
“I would be concerned if next year we came in at 13 percent or higher simply because the market is probably correcting itself a little bit faster than it should,” Nikolits told the Economic Forum Wednesday.

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Palm Beach County Judicial Candidates Face Off At Kravis Luncheon

The Palm Beach Post
By Jane Musgrave – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH — Primed to puff up their own qualifications and credentials, two opponents in a contentious judicial race were thrown a curve Wednesday when they were asked to say something nice about each other.

“I was thinking we were going to talk about me,” Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis said, garnering chuckles from the roughly 80 who gathered for the luncheon meeting of the Economic Forum.

After a long pause, Lewis praised the apparent good health of her opponent, Jessica Ticktin, who two months ago gave birth to her second child. Ticktin, in turn, gave what appeared to be grudging credit to Lewis for her years of public service. “She has been a judge,” she said. But at every opportunity, Ticktin quickly returned to the recurring theme of her campaign to oust the two-term judge: In a Palm Beach County Bar Association poll of its members, lawyers gave Lewis low marks for impartiality, demeanor and common sense.

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Few differences among candidates in debate: IG’s office, Seven50 plan

The Palm Beach Post
By Joe Capozzi – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH — Four people seeking the Palm Beach County Commission’s western district seat agreed on most, but not all, topics Wednesday at the first candidate’s forum.

Moderators Sharon Merchant and Ken Spillias asked the candidates 13 questions submitted by members of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County, which hosted the event. Each candidate was given one minute to answer.

As an audience of about 150 business and elected leaders finished a lunch of chicken and iced tea at the Kravis Center, Melissa McKinlay made a dramatic opening by holding a piece of rusted pipe that she said came from the ground in Belle Glade.

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Bass Pro Shop planned for Carl’s Plaza north of PGA Boulevard

By Bill DiPaolo – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 12:54 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Palm Beach County might soon be landing its first location for Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Worldwide Sportsman.

The plan for the 6-acre site on the east side of U.S. 1 north of PGA Boulevard calls for renovating the former Carl’s Plaza for retail, warehouse, office and vehicle and boat sales and rental. Several stores are vacant in that area, including several in North Beach Plaza, a shopping center on the west side of U.S. 1 north of Carl’s Plaza.

The new sporting goods store should give an economic boost to the area, said north county commercial Realtor Rebel Cook. “A large retailer like Bass should help the other retailers,” Cook said.

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Robert Weisman – Palm Beach County Administrator

Thursday, April 24th

“State of the County”

Always an engaging speaker, Bob Weisman returns to the Economic Forum to discuss all happening in Palm Beach County  that affect the budget and the economy. Never afraid to take questions and engage in comments, this promises to be another interesting meeting and Q & A.

11:30 a.m. Meet & Mingle
12:00 noon Luncheon
Reservations are $60 for non-members
$45 per person for Members & their guests
(Guest policy limited to two visits per guest)
Checks must be received by the Friday before the event.
Payable/Mail to: Economic Forum
P.O. Box 14834
North Palm Beach 33408
For more information call our
Administrator, Jon Kline @ (561)622-9920 / Mobile 561-373-5488
The Kravis Center
Cohen Pavilion
701 Okeechobee Blvd.
West Palm Beach
FREE Garage Parking


Robert Weisman - Palm Beach County Administrator

Economic Forum Speakers Optimistic About 2014

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
By Jeff Ostrowski – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Even after U.S. stocks turned in their best year since the 1990s, two investment strategists say the economy and stock market are primed to keep rising this year. Tepid consumer confidence, cautious banks and weak hiring have all created “room to run,” said Charles White, an executive managing director at investment bank Sterne, Agee & Leach of Birmingham, Ala.

“There’s a lot of what we call dry powder in the economy right now,” White said Tuesday during a presentation to the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.

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