Realtor associations in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach County announce merger

(Getty Images)

The main Realtor associations in Palm Beach and Broward counties are merging, reflecting an industry-wide wave of consolidation.

The combined Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors will have 25,000 members, making it the third-largest regional Realtor association in the country after organizations in Miami and Houston.

The merger will generate savings of a few hundred dollars a year for agents in Boca Raton, who often join both associations, said Dionna Hall, chief executive of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches.

“We saw an opportunity to cut down on that cost, and cut some of the red tape,” Hall said.

Ron Lennen, president of the Fort Lauderdale association, said the combination will create an organization with greater clout.

“It’ll give us a stronger political voice,” Lennen said. “We’ll have more power when we go to Tallahassee or Washington, D.C.”

The two associations have been in merger talks for more than a decade, Hall and Lennen said. The merger happened now in part because of a 2013 change to the structure of the multiple listing service for Palm Beach County, Hall said.

Lennen said the crucial strategy was involving just three people from each organization in negotiations.

“The key was having just a small group in the merger talks,” he said. “When you get too many people together, there are too many opinions or egos.”

Members of both organizations must approve the combination.

“We think this is such a big win for them that they will be more than happy to approve the merger,” Hall said.

Talk of a combination was renewed after the Miami Association of Realtors in 2015 expanded into Palm Beach County by buying Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound Association of Realtors. That move led to speculation that the Broward and Palm Beach associations might join forces to fend off the growing Miami group.

In March, the Miami group announced the opening of its third office in Broward County. And the Miami association has put out a flurry of press releases touting the Rock the Market event it hosted in Jupiter, also in March.

The Miami association and the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches once were allies. They worked together on training events until the Miami association bought the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound association in 2015, a deal that spurred a lawsuit and accusations of fraud by the Palm Beach group against the Miami association.

The expansion-minded Miami Association of Realtors has 46,000 members — more than many state associations of Realtors — and calls itself the nation’s largest local Realtor association. The Miami Association of Realtors reported $16 million in revenue in the year ended June 30, 2015, dwarfing the revenues of the Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach associations.

In 2011, the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale filed suit in federal court against the Miami Association of Realtors, saying the Miami group aimed to poach its members.

In mailings and ads such, the Miami Association of Realtors marketed membership to Broward and Palm Beach County members of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale. But the Fort Lauderdale group says the Miami association exaggerated the cost savings from switching associations and has overstated the number of agents who have transferred affiliations.

Says the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale in its suit: “MAR has caused loss and injury to RAGFL through an on-going campaign of false and deceptive advertising by which MAR has brazenly sought to divert and has diverted real-estate licensees from being members of RAGFL and injured the good will and reputation of RAGFL.”

And in 2015, the Palm Beaches association sued the Miami association for fraud.

 

Darth Vader 2.0: Office tower gets reboot

Northbridge Centre in West Palm Beach

The Force is awakening at the old Darth Vader building in downtown West Palm Beach.

Plans are in the works to do a major upgrade of the Northbridge Centre, the 21-story office building informally named after Luke Skywalker’s father, thanks to its ominous black-glass exterior.

Inside, however, plans are to brighten the 515 N. Flagler Dr. tower with a $10 million upgrade.

Rendering of lobby renovation planned for Northbridge Centre

The goal is to lure new office tenants to the city’s downtown, before talked-about new office towers start rising during the next couple of years.

City business and government leaders have been crying for months there’s not enough office space in the city’s core, prompting developers such as The Related Cos, Charles Cohen and Jeff Greene to draft or consider plans for new office towers.

But owners and brokers at Northbridge say there’s plenty of space in their waterfront building, especially for those coveted hedge funds and private equity firms that the county’s Business Development Board is trying to hard to lure.

“We’re the last game in town, and we’ll be the best game when these renovations are completed,” said Peter Reed, managing principal at Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

“With nearly 100,000 square feet of vacancy, we’re the only building with any appreciable waterfront space left in the market,” added Angelo Bianco, managing partner of Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners, a co-owner of the building.

Commercial Florida is representing Northbridge, along with Tower Commercial.

They are working to draw attention to the sometimes-overlooked property that was acquired last year by Greenfield Partners of Connecticut and Crocker. The companies paid $68.24 million for the 294,000-square-foot building, which includes a separate four-story pavillion with a rooftop garden.

Northbridge, which now houses a number of law firms, is about 70 percent leased. The property was built in 1984.

Plans are afoot to make the building physically as appealing as those waterview vistas, Bianco said.

For starters, gone will be those red stripes on the outside of the building. (Darth Vader didn’t have them; Northbridge soon won’t have them, either.)

Inside, plans are underway to build an upscale conference center that will be able to hold about 140 people. The roughly 3,000-square-foot space will feature all the latest high-tech gadgets and will serve as a building amenity to tower tenants, Bianco said.

Crocker also will add expand the health club and build a brand new café. Bathrooms and floor lobbies will be upgraded and new elevator cabs put in, Bianco said.

Bianco said the building is well-positioned in the market. Physically, it’s right next to the new Flagler Memorial Bridge, which is nearing completion.

Once this north bridge opens, Reed said it will provide less congested traffic flows with easy access to the property, compared to other office towers clustered around the middle bridge at Okeechobee Boulevard.

“Follow the compass rose north, the direction West Palm Beach is moving,” Reed quipped.

From a price perspective, Northbridge’s rental rates are a better bet, too, Reed said.

Rents at Northbridge go for around $30 per foot not including taxes, maintenance and insurance. That’s about $20 per square foot less than buildings such as Phillips Point or CityPlace Tower, where rents start around $50 per square foot, Reed said.

Not surprisingly, Northbridge’s’ brokers are going after the same tenants everyone else in town wants: Mid-sized tenants needing 3,000 to 7,000 square feet of space.

The building upgrades are expected to be completed by May 2018.

 

 

 

 

Hidden cameras in the women’s bathroom, DMX raps, billion-dollar enforcement actions and other high drama from Ocwen

Ocwen’s Atlanta mansion: Sweet deal for Bill Erbey

To the uninitiated, the phrase “subprime mortgage servicer” sounds deadly dull. To followers of West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Financial Corp., the sobriquet evokes high drama of the sort that unfolded Thursday, when Ocwen shares cratered amid an onslaught of federal and state lawsuits.

Ocwen (that’s “new co” backwards, if you didn’t know) has elicited consumer complaints in eye-popping numbers.

“Since April 2015, Ocwen has received more than 580,000 complaints and written notices of error from more than 300,000 different borrowers,” the federal Consumer Financial Protection Burea said in its suit.

But Thursday’s headlines were just the latest in the company’s two-decade history. Other lowlights:

Hidden camera shooting up women’s skirts. In 1999, police arrested an Ocwen employee and found on his video camera footage from a hidden camera placed under a desk in the company’s West Palm Beach mailroom. Two of the women who appeared in the video sued, saying they were harassed at work even after the cameraman was fired. In 2005 they won $1 million settlements after a jury trial in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. They said that in addition to the under-the-desk camera, they also saw a man’s hand moving ceiling tiles in a women’s bathroom. Their complaints to management went unheeded, the women said.

“Y’all gon make me lose my house.” In 2008, about 30 protesters crowded into the lobby of Ocwen’s offices, where they chanted to the tune of the DMX song: “Y’all gon make me lose my house, up in here, up in here.” The protest was sparked in part by Ocwen’s rep for losing homeowners’ payments and making them wait on hold for hours. Another spark: A Government Accountability Office report said Ocwen, as the property manager for thousands of foreclosed homes owned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, neglected maintenance and charged taxpayers for repairs that weren’t made.

A sweet deal for the billionaire chairman. In a generous perk for its chairman, Ocwen in 2012 bought William Erbey’s Atlanta mansion for $2 million more than he paid at the peak of the housing market. Ocwen paid $6.48 million for Erbey’s house in so he could move to the tax haven of St. Croix. “It is really ironic that a company that is a subprime mortgage processor would give a sweet deal to its executive chairman that its own customers couldn’t get,” Vineeta Anand, chief research analyst at the AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment, said at the time. Ocwen put the mansion on the market for less than it paid. Ocwen finally unloaded the house in 2016 for $3.6 million — a 44 percent haircut.

The $2 billion fine that cost only $67 million. In late 2013, federal and state regulators hit Ocwen with a $2.1 billion settlement for cheating homeowners. But investors shrugged off the news. Ocwen told the Securities and Exchange Commission its actual cost to settle the regulatory action would be about $67 million.

Delray Beach legal impresario joins forces with Boca Raton law firm

Michael Weiner

Delray Beach legal eagle Michael Weiner is joining forces with a Boca Raton law firm renowned for its prowess in homeowners and condominium law.

Sachs, Sax & Caplan will be the new home for the longtime zoning, land use and administrative law attorney.

Weiner, 68, is a ubiquitous figure at municipal hearings on behalf of real estate developers. Even his website’s name is all about his business: zonelaw.com.

And although he’s best known for his work representing Delray Beach real estate developers, Weiner’s practice extends from Boca Raton to Lake Worth.

But starting April 1, Weiner will become of counsel to Sachs, Sax.

Weiner, who has had his own law firm for more than 30 years, said he decided to join Sachs, Sax because he could not figure out a way to clone himself.

“I can only be in so many places at once,” Weiner said. And cities love to hold meetings on Tuesday nights at the same time, he added.

On a more serious note, Weiner said that Sachs, Sax’s land-use department complimented his own practice.

In addition, he said the heft of a full-service law firm with a wide geographic reach will help him better serve clients, particularly on topics such as climate change and transportation.

For its part, Sachs, Sax said Weiner broadens its expertise.

“The firm’s practice will be further diversified with Weiner’s extensive background in land use and zoning litigation, private property rights, historic property redevelopment, property tax challenges, and code enforcement defense and appeals,” the firm said in a statement.

“We are confident this milestone will benefit our existing clients while opening the firm up to new growth opportunities,” said Peter S. Sachs, a founding partner of Sachs Sax Caplan. “Our firm will undoubtedly be stronger and better positioned for the future with him on board.”

Sachs, Sax handles matters from Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter. With Weiner on board, the firm now will be able to handle not only matters throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties, but also from suburbs in the west to cities along the coast, east of Interstate 95.

Helping make the move more palatable is the fact that Weiner’s Delray Beach offices, at10 S.E. 1st Ave., soon could be transformed into a Delray Beach location of Louie Bossi. That’s the sizzling new Italian concept by West Palm Beach’s Big Time Restaurant Group.

In addition to community association and real estate law, Sachs Sax Caplan handles commercial litigation and appeals, estate planning and marital and family law. The firm’s main office is in Boca Raton, with another office located in Tallahassee.

 

 

Related’s Perez to Trump: I’m not interested in building your wall

Ivanka and Donald Trump at a January 2007 event for the proposed Trump Tower Palm Beach condo on North Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.
Ivanka and Donald Trump at a January 2007 event for the proposed Trump Tower Palm Beach condo on North Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. Photo by Allen Eyestone.

President Donald Trump, seeking to find a builder for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, is turning to old real estate friends for help.

Full Donald Trump coverage: Galleries, news, video

Among them: The Related Group’s Jorge Perez, who once partnered with Trump on a proposed West Palm Beach condo dubbed Trump Tower Palm Beach.

In a recent Wall Street Journal story, Perez said he received an email  from Trump with this message: “Any interest in building a 2,000 mile wall—30’ high—between U.S.A. and Mexico? Call me.”

“I told him I thought the wall was immoral and it wouldn’t achieve the goals he wanted to achieve,” Perez told the Journal. “Plus, I have lots of business in Mexico—I’d be finished here.”

During the real estate boom ten years ago, Related partnered with Trump to try to develop a 23-story, 150-unit condominium at 4308 N. Flagler Drive.

Originally called Icon Palm Beach, Perez changed the name to Trump Tower Palm Beach because the Trump name would be a lure for international buyers. “The Trump brand is so strong, it expands your universe of buyers,” Perez said.

... A model of the Trump Tower Palm Beach in the sales center. Real estate mogul Donald Trump unveiled his new condo project in partnership with the Related Group.
A model of the Trump Tower Palm Beach in the sales center. In 2007, Trump unveiled the condo project in partnership with the Related Group. Photo by Allen Eyestone.

Ten years ago, Trump Tower Palm Beach held a glitzy event to show off a model of the proposed luxury condo.

Attendees included real estate brokers, prospective buyers, city bigwigs and the media.

RELATED: A peek inside Donald Trump’s historic Palm Beach palace

As guests dined on sushi, the Trumps held court.

Present at the glamfest were Trump, his wife, Melania, and The Donald’s daughter, Ivanka.

Ivanka and Trump sat for television interviews and chatted with print reporters about the Intracoastal Waterway project.

Despite the hype (and the sushi), the project’s timing wasn’t great: The recession’s cold winds already were starting to blow as the demand for condominiums slowly sank, then cratered.

By October 2007, Trump acknowledged to this reporter that the real estate market was looking iffy.  “The market in West Palm Beach is not exactly great-looking,” Trump said. “We won’t go forward unless we see a robust market.”

When pressed for details about Trump Tower Palm Beach sales, Trump was vague: ” “We’ve done very well with pre-sales. We’ve had substantial sales,” he said. “There’s no reason to be specific.”

But a Related executive gave some hints in June 2007. At that point, less than half the project’s 150 units had sold (prices ranged from $900,000 to $2.4 million). Developers were shooting for at least 60 percent, or about 90 units, before starting construction. But that didn’t happen and the condo wasn’t built.

Now it’s a decade later and there’s a new real estate boom.

And Related Group still is building condos on Flagler Drive, but a little farther south, at the Rybovich Marina.

The company also built a number of apartments and condominiums in West Palm Beach’s downtown, including CityPlace South Tower, The Slade, The Prado and the Tower Condominium at CityPlace. The Related Group’s most recent Palm Beach County project is an apartment complex in Delray Beach.

 

Winter of discontent? Life with Trump as a neighbor

Billionaire Jeff Greene, who plans The Greene School for elementary and middle-school students in West Palm Beach
Billionaire Jeff Greene

President Trump shines the spotlight on Palm Beach when he leaves the White House to travel south to his part-time home, Mar a Lago, as he did last weekend.

But for some Palm Beach residents, including billionaire investor Jeff Greene, last weekend’s visit also brought gridlock and a hit to one of his businesses.

Read the Post’s coverage on President Trump here

Greene said he lost reservations at his Tideline Resort & Spa due to Trump’s visit. Tideline is at 2842 S. Ocean Blvd. on Palm Beach.

In fact, “a big group went to the Seagate Hotel in Delray Beach because they didn’t want to deal” with the traffic and the hassle of Palm Beach, Greene said.

The Secret Service effectively closed off a portion of Palm Beach near Mar a Lago during the weekend while Trump was in town. West Palm Beach wasn’t much better on Saturday: Trump protesters clogged the waterfront along Flagler Drive.

Other Palm Beach businesses, including some restaurants, lost reservations, too, said Greene, a Palm Beach resident who lives at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd., “two doors down” from Mar a Lago, which is at 1100 S. Ocean Blvd.

(In truth, these are very big doors: The property just south of Mar a Lago is the Bath and Tennis Club, followed by Greene’s $24 million oceanfront estate.)

Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, said she’s aware some tourists were having a hard time getting back to their Palm Beach hotels with the security checkpoints and roadblocks.

And shopping on Worth Avenue? Some tourists were afraid to try:  “People don’t want to be inconvenienced. They’ll shop elsewhere,” she said.

Baker said she’s now wondering how life in the future will be affected by Trump’s visits to Palm Beach.

For instance: The Palm Beach Boat Show, set for March 23-26.

Although the actual show only lasts a weekend, the set up takes considerably more time. The week before and the week after, a number of yachts cruise into the Intracoastal and go right by Mar a Lago.

If Trump were to fly down to Palm Beach during this time period, boats would be forbidden from cruising on the eastern side of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs near Trump’s “winter White House.”

Baker said she figured with Mar a Lago booked for 25 events this season, Trump  was going to skip his winter visits because of the tight security that surrounds him.

But that’s evidently not going to be the case, she said.

In fact, Trump now is expected to visit Palm Beach again this coming weekend.

Greene noted that Trump likes spending all holidays, such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, at Mar a Lago, as well as his winter visits. “He loves it here,” Greene said.

So being president of the United States won’t change Trump’s routine.

Going forward, Greene said Palm Beach officials and the Secret Service need a better plan: “You can’t shut down a town for four to eight years,” he said.

Indeed, even into Monday morning, before Trump left for MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, getting around still was difficult.

Greene said it took him 45 minutes to cross the bridge Monday to take his son to school in West Palm Beach.

One bright spot to the weekend: Greene said he lives close enough to Mar a Lago to skip the traffic when he attended the Red Cross ball Saturday night.

“I walked,” he said.

 

 

Exclusive: Sales top $300 million at Bristol condo in WPB

The Bristol condominium site in West Palm Beach, now under construction
The Bristol condominium site in West Palm Beach, now under construction. Photo by Greg Lovett.

The ultra-luxury The Bristol condominium in West Palm Beach has sold 60 percent of its units, which equals more than $300 million in sales for the most expensive condo ever built in Palm Beach County.

The Bristol condominium
The Bristol condominium

At this rate, developer Al Adelson expects the 25-story, 69-unit property to sell out by season’s end. “We thought it would take three years to sell out, and it looks like it’s going to take less than a half and a half. We’re extraordinarily happy with sales,” said Adelson, a partner with developer Flagler Investors LLC.

This time last year, The Bristol had logged about $125 million in sales.

The sales prices are astronomical, ranging from $1,500 to more than $2,500 per square foot. The average size of a unit at The Bristol is about 4,500 square feet and costs $10 million.

The property is just south of downtown, along the Intracoastal Waterway, at 1112 S. Flagler Drive.

There are six penthouses planned, but all have sold except for one. That last penthouse is priced at under $30 million, Adelson said.

Word of mouth seems to be helping with sales at the 69-unit project, which has about 41 units sold now.

During a December party, several buyers brought along friends. And The Bristol lodged three more sales.

Some buyers are discovering the building because their friends at private clubs such as the Everglades Club on Palm Beach, or Trump International Golf Club, bought units, Adelson said.

Multiple purchases also are taking place.

One buyer bought on a lower floor and then decided to buy a penthouse, Adelson said.

The Bristol condominium site in West Palm Beach, now under construction
The Bristol condominium site in West Palm Beach, now under construction. Photo by Greg Lovett.

Another buyer bought two units on a high floor, totaling $25 to $30 million for both units. One unit is a residence and the other unit next door is for family or investment purposes, Adelson added.

For these prices, buyers enjoy private elevators; concierge services; intense security; 11-foot ceilings or higher; infinity pool; yoga and massage center; and so on. 

Tons of marble have been ordered for the project, and Adelson is excited about the 11-foot, floor-to-ceiling glass doors to the balconies. Not only are the glass doors hurricane resistant, they are easy to slide, he said.

The project’s sales success is welcomed by developers who are building or thinking of building luxury condos in the area. They are encouraged that people are willing to spend millions of dollars on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, across from Palm Beach.

Indeed, many of The Bristol’s buyers either hail from the island of Palm Beach or from in and around the West Palm Beach area, Adelson said.

The Bristol started fast out of the sales gate. As far back as May 2015, the luxury condo sold 17 percent of its units before it even had a sales center or website up and running.

Last year, the project broke ground and opened up its sales center.

In December, workers began pouring cement for the elevators, after six months of underground work.

Now buyers and would-be buyers will start to see the project rise out of the ground.

A completion is set for late 2018, and Adelson will be one of the condo’s residents.

So he has an added incentive to make sure everything is perfect, otherwise he jokes he’ll be hearing about it from his neighbors.

But he’s confident all will be well:  “It goes to show you how much confidence we have in what we’re doing,” he said.

Which real estate executive just got promoted?

Mark Pateman, Cushman & Wakefield managing principal for Palm Beach County
Mark Pateman, Cushman & Wakefield managing principal for Palm Beach County

The New Year is bringing new changes to the commercial real estate scene.

Cushman & Wakefield, the international brokerage firm, has named Mark Pateman to lead its Palm Beach County office.

Pateman, with the firm since 2006, has been a broker specializing in office leasing and investment sales.

His promotion to the newly-created position of Palm Beach County managing principal is part of a move by the company to decentralize leadership. Larry Ritchey, managing principal and Florida Market Leader, previously had run all counties.

But Pateman said this move will put the leadership “closer to the client.” Pateman will supervise about 25 brokers in the firm’s West Palm Beach and Boca Raton offices.

At Cushman, Pateman has worked on deals involving West Palm Beach’s most prominent office buildings, including Phillips Point, Esperante and Flagler Center. He also was involved in transactions involving One Boca Place in Boca Raton and 3801 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens.

Exclusive: Judge to Trump: No getting out of Jupiter golf club lawsuit

President-Elect Donald J. Trump at Mar-A-Lago on Palm Beach
President-Elect Donald J. Trump at Mar-A-Lago on Palm Beach

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra on Wednesday refused yet another request by Donald Trump to toss a 2013 lawsuit filed against his Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

The Dec. 7 order means the case continues against Donald Trump’s country club, even though Trump is set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January.

Club members say Trump hasn’t returned an estimated $6 million to members of his country club off Donald Ross Road. Trump bought the club from the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa for $5 million in 2012.

When the Ritz owned it, deposits ranging from $35,000 to $210,000 were refundable. But once Trump bought the club, some club members say Trump changed the rules and refused to return their deposits.

In July, Marra denied Trump’s request to throw out the lawsuit against Trump National. He also denied a request that the lawsuit not go forward as a class-action case.

In his Dec. 7 order, Marra made it clear that the issue raised in the July request were raised also in the trial held in West Palm Beach in August.

Eric Trump appears at federal court in August to testify in Jupiter golf club trial
Eric Trump appears at federal court in West Palm Beach in August to testify in the lawsuit involving the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fl

“The best course of action is for the Court to resolve these issues with the benefit of a full trial record,” Marra wrote.

In other words, Marra isn’t going to let Trump out on an easy procedural move.

Rather, he’ll make his decision on all the issues when he renders a decision based on the two-day August trial.

Trump lawyer Herman J. Russomanno III of Miami issued this statement: “Although the Trump Club would have been pleased if the Court granted their motion, it is the Trump Club’s position that as to the ultimate ruling following the bench trial, that the Court should find in favor of the Trump Club.”

Trump lawyer Herman Russomanno III of Russomanno & Borello in Miami
Trump lawyer Herman Russomanno III of Russomanno & Borello in Miami

Russomanno said the trial showed that the members had resigned from the club and therefore didn’t have the right to use the club after they had resigned.

The issue of whether members resigned, or were terminated as members by Trump, is a major sticking point in the case.

Club members who are plaintiffs in the case say Trump breached their contract, misled them and then refused to give them back their deposits. But at the trial, Trump son Eric Trump testified that the Trump Organization had saved the ailing club.

Donald Trump, who at the time was campaigning as the Republican presidential nominee, did not appear at trial. But his deposition was entered into the record. In it, he described how the Trump Organization had revived the club.

“We have done a substantial upgrade to virtually all the facility: the clubhouse, the courts, the course, the public areas, the dining areas. Everything,” Trump said in an April deposition. “It’s like a brand-new place.”

Donald Trump sent a Dec. 17, 2013, letter to club members that is a key piece of evidence in the case. In that letter, Trump said Ritz members could “opt in” to his new club, in exchange for agreeing their memberships were nonrefundable.

If members weren’t interested in opting in, and they remained on a club resignation list, Trump said he didn’t want them, anyway.

“You’re probably not going to be a very good club member … you’re out,” Trump wrote in the letter. “As the owner of the club, I do not want them to utilize the club nor do I want their dues.”

Sometimes judges give hints as to their trial decision in procedural matters such as this one, lawyers said.

But it remains unclear whether Marra will rule in favor the former club members or in favor of Trump.

The Jupiter golf course remains one of the last major lawsuits still unresolved against the billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star.

A federal lawsuit filed in California involving allegations of fraud at Trump’s now-defunct Trump University recently was settled. The case had been set for trial Nov. 28.

And Trump dropped his $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County over jets flying near Mar-A-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach.

 

 

 

 

Jupiter Medical to open urgent care center in Palm Beach Gardens

John Couris, chief executive of Jupiter Medical Center
John Couris, chief executive of Jupiter Medical Center

While Jupiter Medical Center plots its expansion to downtown West Palm Beach, the medical complex is opening up another urgent care center in northern Palm Beach County — this time in Palm Beach Gardens.

Jupiter Medical Chief Executive John Couris said an urgent care center is in the works for 3250 PGA Boulevard, across from The Gardens mall. The 96,920-square-foot building was sold last year to an affiliate of Stiles, a South Florida-based real estate developer.

This marks the third separate urgent care center in north county for Jupiter Medical Center, based at 1210 S. Old Dixie Highway

Jupiter Medical already has two standalone urgent care centers in Jupiter: One is at 1335 W. Indiantown Road and the other is at 5430 Military Trail in the Abacoa Shopping Center.

Couris said it’s likely Jupiter Medical will expand to western Palm Beach County, possibly Wellington, through the opening of an urgent care center and a physicians’ practice group, too.

Jupiter’s expansion to Palm Beach Gardens comes as the non-profit plans an urgent care and medical offices with Mount Sinai Hospital of New York. The two hospital companies are taking 15,000 square feet in the ground floor space of the Bank of America Centre at 625 N. Flagler Drive. Plans are to rename the building the Jupiter Medical Center Mount Sinai New York Plaza.

The center will offer urgent care and physician services affiliated with Mount Sinai, a respected center of clinical trials and research and a national leader in cardiac care.

It’s possible some medical services will compete with nearby Good Samaritan Medical Center, up the street at 1309 N. Flagler Drive. But the Jupiter Medical/Mount Sinai complex is not a hospital, and it will not have an emergency room or hospital beds.

Urgent care is a hot trend in the health field, and hospitals are opening up offices for minor emergency visits throughout the county, in a bid to compete with independently owned urgent care centers.

But urgent care centers owned by hospitals raise concerns that patients may be directed to that hospital if in-patient care is required, even if the hospital is not located close to the urgent care centers.

Couris sought to allay those concerns about Jupiter Medical’s new West Palm Beach location, which should open in the next six months.

Couris said if any patient comes into its urgent care centers and is diagnosed with a condition that requires immediate hospitalization, that patient will be directed to the nearest hospital — and not necessarily Jupiter Medical, if it’s not the closest facility.

For example, if a patient visited the West Palm Beach facility and say, tests showed alarming heart symptoms, “they will go to the nearest hospital,” even if it’s Good Sam, Couris said.

“We will always do the right thing by the patient,” Couris said. “You’ll go to the closest facility. Period.”