Job growth in Florida, Palm Beach County slows

Construction at The Bristol in West Palm Beach. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Florida’s labor market remains near full employment, but job creation has slowed markedly, according to state and federal reports released Monday.

Florida’s annual pace of job growth fell to 1.8 percent in January, down from 2.6 percent in December. The state routinely had ranked among the national leaders in job creation in recent years, but in January Florida fell to 10th place, trailing California, Texas and a number of smaller states.

Perhaps the cooling of Florida’s labor market was inevitable. Texas, for instance, long led the nation in job growth amid an energy boom, only to see its pace of job creation slow as oil prices plunged.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services, says Florida’s current pace looks “sustainable.”

“I would expect Florida will continue to see above-average job growth, just not as far ahead of the national average as it has been,” Faucher said. “You worry that if job growth is too strong, that’s going to overheat the labor market.”

Palm Beach County, for its part, turned in another tepid performance, with job growth of 1.3 percent, a bit below the national average of 1.5 percent.

Despite the slowdown in job creation, unemployment rates remain near historic lows. The statewide unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in January, unchanged from December and slightly below the national unemployment of 4.1 percent.

In Palm Beach County, the jobless rate rose to 3.9 percent in January from 3.5 percent in December. The county numbers aren’t seasonally adjusted, and employment peaks in December for the holiday shopping frenzy.

In his statement about the monthly jobs numbers, Gov. Rick Scott made no mention of the slowdown in job growth.

Construction remains a bright spot in Florida’s labor market. The construction sector was the fastest-growing industry, adding positions at a 5.8 percent clip over the past year.

In Palm Beach County, houses are under construction in the new city of Westlake and at Arden west of Lion Country Safari. The two projects mark a return to the large-scale homebuilding that fell dormant after the housing crash.

And construction workers have been building apartment complexes such as the Park-Line and Broadstone in downtown West Palm Beach, The Bristol condo tower on Flagler Drive and the new Southern Boulevard bridge between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach.

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Judge sets date for foreclosure auction of Keitel property in Midtown


A circuit court judge has ordered a foreclosure auction of this aging apartment complex at 237 Brazilian Ave. unless the owner pays nearly $6 million to settle a mortgage debt. 2017 photo by Meghan McCarthy / Daily News

An aging, vacant Midtown apartment complex is slated to be sold next month at a foreclosure auction unless Palm Beacher Frederick J. “Rick” Keitel III and one of his companies pay a Palm Beach-based trust nearly $6 million to settle a debt, a circuit court judge has ordered.

The court ruled that Keitel is liable for paying $5.7 million, plus additional interest accrued since Feb. 5, because he signed a personal guarantee on a $2 million mortgage issued to his ownership company for the property at 327 Brazilian Ave. Judge Edward A. Garrison’s order also says Keitel’s company, Florida Capital Management LLC, shares liability for the amount owed.

+ Rick Keitel

Palm Beacher Thomas B. D’Agostino Sr.; his son, Thomas B. D’Agostino Jr.; and their family trust — which had lent Keitel the $2 million — sued Keitel for not paying the mortgage in March 2013. The case dragged on until a final judgment for $5.09 million was rendered in June in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court. In October, the court added nearly $445,000 in attorneys’ fees to that amount. Accrued interest makes up the rest of the total.

Garrison issued his amended final order in the foreclosure action Feb. 5 and set a March 21 date for the online auction, which will begin at 10 a.m. through the Palm Beach County clerk’s website.

Keitel’s ownership company paid $2.5 million for the Brazilian Avenue property in 2005, courthouse records show.

RELATED: Judge says Palm Beach foreclosure case has ‘long and tortured history’

At one point during the proceedings, Judge Richard L. Oftedal, writing for the 15th Circuit Court, noted that the case had a “long and tortured” history, owing largely to an avalanche of legal filings filed by or at the request of Keitel, an attorney and real estate investor.

Related proceedings have taken place in the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal and U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Keitel is the subject of a federal Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy case, and his court-appointed bankruptcy trustee consented to last year’s foreclosure judgment. The trustee, Orlando bankruptcy attorney Richard B. Webber II, has told the Daily News he won’t comment about the bankruptcy case or the foreclosure judgment.

The property at the heart of the foreclosure action lies a few lots west of South County Road. Measuring four-tenths of an acre, it is home to a six-unit apartment complex that dates to the mid-1920s. The property has an estimated total market value of about $2.2 million in the latest Palm Beach County tax rolls.

But two Palm Beach real estate sources interviewed Tuesday said the property would probably be worth at least $5 million, and likely more, if sold in today’s market.

Keitel previously had told the Daily News that he and a business partner planned to buy the property back if a sale was ordered. He has floated the idea of building two luxury townhouses there.

+ In September 2016, the Architectural Commission approved this design for a two-unit luxury townhouse development to replace an aging apartment complex

… read more

Attorney Eric C. Christu of Shutts & Bowen confirmed Tuesday that he and his clients, the D’Agostino family, have received no offer from Keitel’s side of the aisle to settle the debt since Garrison issued his order.

The D’Agostinos and their trust asked the court for a final judgment in the case in May 2016, saying Keitel had not made a payment on the mortgage since missing one in September 2010, according to the D’Agostinos’ original complaint.

Meanwhile, the town has been levying a $500-per-day fine against Keitel’s ownership company for longtime and repeated code violations involving landscaping and maintenance at the property. The fines began accruing June 30, town records show.

In January 2016, Keitel lost in a $2.2 million court-sanctioned sale a house he had owned since late 1990 at 412 Brazilian Ave. It was down the street from the apartment complex. The buyer in that deal has since developed a house on speculation.

Also in January 2016, two of Keitel’s ownership companies sold in another court-sanctioned sale two office buildings at 230 and 240 Royal Palm Way for a combined $21.45 million.

The D’Agostino family has been involved in other business dealings with Keitel, courthouse and property records show.

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West Palm Beach Is Abundant In Exciting Attractions!

West Palm Beach Is Abundant In Exciting Attractions!

Stunning gardens, incredible museums, exciting nightlife, extravagant theater performances and unique animal habitats; yes, you’re in West Palm Beach and there’s plenty to see and do! In fact, the biggest challenge when you visit this destination is deciding which attractions to visit.

Just in case you are struggling to make your choices, we’ve prepared a quick guide to a few of the spots you may very well appreciate.

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Palm Beach in February is a great vacation

Time and space doesn’t allow me to write all there is to talk about when discussing Palm Beach County, Florida. So I’ll limit myself to one specific hotel and a little about the county.

The hotel is the Four Diamond Marriott Resort Palm Beach Singer Island, 3800 North Ocean Drive in Riviera Beach. It is situated on Singer Island which is actually a peninsula. But most of Singer Island is in Riviera Beach. You got that? The island is named for the family of the sewing machine magnate.

There are 192 rooms, all of which were recently renovated — and all are suites. I was told this is the only all-suite hotel in the county of Palm Beach. There are two pools and three restaurants not counting poolside dining. One pool comes with cabanas and the Lagoon pool has a 2-story slide. By the way, all rooms come with separate living, dining and sleeping spaces.

Marriott Pool in Palm Beach.

They have a fitness center and a terrific spa. I had the mudpack treatment. It worked for many days until the mud fell off. They’ll take care of you from head to toe. I loved walking the private beach and just a few yards offshore is a man-made reef. Usually, these are great areas for observing fish. In 2017 Conde Nast Magazine voted them the Best Hotel in Palm Beach County. That is a big deal because trust me there are many wonderful hotels located here.

If you like golf, the hotel is within minutes of about 150 golf courses, cultural venues, and shopping. Reach them at 561-350-1700 or go to As for Palm Beach County, it is the third most populous county in the state, the largest town within is West Palm Beach, it was established in 1909 and is reported to be Florida’s most wealthy.

There are 29 beach parks, 15 distinct districts and 47 miles of coastline. The beaches are quite inviting. Add the blue water and palm trees and there’s all you need for a day’s activity. Some of the towns include Boca Raton, Delray, Jupiter, Juno, and Boynton.

The number one industry is real estate development. There are magnificent houses here plus opulent condos. But for the traveler, tourism is their number one priority.

Take your pick of top-notch attractions like Lion Country Safari, Flagler Museum, the zoo, Science Center, Kravis Center, Rapids Waterpark, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Morikami Museum and Palm Beach County History Museum.

Shopping is second to none. Let’s begin with the best known, Worth Avenue. Most of the top names are here along with their top prices. The Avenue is so nice you may not want to go into a store. Mizner Park is a close second. Retail, theatre, and restaurants to occupy your time.

Also on your shopping list should be PGA Commons, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Outlets and City Place. All of these are designed to entertain and separate you from your cash.

In short, to be totally honest, I’d settle for any location in Florida in February.

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Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

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Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and “revisions are being considered.”

WEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his golf club, President Donald Trump offered support for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases Monday while staying largely mum in the last few days about the victims of the Florida school massacre and the escalating debate about controls on weapons.

One side of that debate was represented outside the White House as dozens of teens spread their bodies across the pavement to symbolize the dead and call for stronger gun controls, a precursor to a march in Washington planned next month by survivors of the Parkland school shooting and supporters of their cause.

At his Florida club just 40 miles from a community ravaged by the shooting that left 17 dead last week, Trump gave a nod toward a specific policy action, with the White House saying he had spoken Friday to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and “revisions are being considered,” but said “the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

The main action Trump has taken on guns in office has been to sign a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people. The president has voiced strong support for gun rights and the National Rifle Association.

The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. It was introduced after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church.

The White House statement comes as shooting survivors and other young people press for more gun control in a rising chorus of grief and activism. Their “March for Our Lives” is planned March 24 in Washington.

Ella Fesler, 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, was among the students at the “lie-in” in front of the White House. She said it was time for change, adding: “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”

But previous gun tragedies have not produced action in Congress. After the Las Vegas massacre in the fall, Republicans and Democrats in Congress talked about taking a rare step to tighten the nation’s gun laws. Four months later, the only gun legislation that has moved in the House or Senate instead eases restrictions for gun owners.

Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the measure Trump discussed with Cornyn would help to enforce existing rules but would not close loopholes permitting loose private sales on the internet and at gun shows. She’s pressing for a ban on assault-type weapons and for laws enabling family members, guardians or police to ask judges to strip gun rights temporarily from people who show warning signs of violence.

“We need a comprehensive system,” Brown said. “One of these isn’t enough.”

Trump, who visited first responders and some victims Friday, has focused his comments on mental health, rather than guns. The White House says the president will host a “listening session” with students and teachers this week and will discuss school safety with state and local officials. But they have offered no further details on who will attend those sessions.

Trump spent most of his weekend at his private Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. White House aides advised against golfing too soon after the shooting. But on President’s Day, the avid golfer headed to his nearby golf club. The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether he was playing golf.

President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a vacation just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist. He later regretted playing golf so soon after the killing.

Trump watched cable television news during the weekend and groused to club members and advisers about the investigation of Russian election meddling.

In a marathon series of furious weekend tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack.


Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.

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Tenet Healthcare Corp. subsidiary United Surgical Partners International and HSS proposes medical office building in West Palm Beach – South Florida Business Journal

Tenet Healthcare Corp. is seeking the first round of approvals for a surgery center that it plans to build near Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach.

In January, the hospital company (NYSE: THC) said its ambulatory care services subsidiary, United Surgical Partners International, signed a joint venture with HSS to build an outpatient orthopedic care and surgery center near Good Samaritan. The parties didn’t disclose the size, design or exact location of the new facility at the time.

At an upcoming city meeting, the public can have a look at Tenet’s plans.

On Feb. 14, the city’s Plans and Plats Review Committee will consider the site plan for a four-story, 53,721-square-foot medical office building at 300 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., directly south of Good Samaritan. 300 PBL Development LLC, an affiliate of United Surgical Partners International, acquired the 0.97-acre site for $5.5 million in July.

The property currently has a 46,310-square-foot apartment building that was constructed in 1970. It would be demolished to make way for the medical office building, which would be attached to a 142-space parking garage.

The project was designed by West Palm Beach-based architect Alfonso Hernandez in collaboration with Environments for Health Architecture. Hernandez couldn’t be reached for comment.

The design shows that HSS would have its signage on the building. HSS operates a hospital in Manhattan and more than a dozen outpatient centers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Its hospital first in orthopedics for eight consecutive years, and third in rheumatology.

HSS physicians would staff the new center, which would provide diagnostic services, ambulatory surgery, rehabilitation and sports performance assistance.


Ranked by 2016 net operating revenue

Rank Hospital 2016 net operating revenue 1 Jackson Health System $1.23 billion 2 Memorial Regional Hospital $975.54 million 3 Baptist Hospital of Miami $877.95 million View This List

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Man saved from sinking boat near West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A man has been saved at sea after his boat started to sink near West Palm Beach.

The Coast Guard snapped a photo 10 miles off West Palm Beach.

The man was taken to the hospital after what was believed to be some kind of chemical reaction while at sea.

Crews determined he’d been missing since the middle of January.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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3/2 beachfront condo with views, West Palm Beach, FL $239,000

Stunning 3 bdrm unit with high end updates. Tastefully renovated with tile floors on diagonal and wood laminate in 2nd/3rd bedrooms. IMPACT WINDOWS through out, stainless steel appliances and updated cabinets and granite counter tops, solid core doors through out, full size front loading washer, new bi-fold doors…bring your fussiest buyer…seller has thought of everything! Palm Beach House is located just south of the new Manatee Lagoon in the historic Northwood neighborhood, which is known for its quaint shops and restaurants and historic 1920’s homes. Close to downtown WPB/CityPlace right on the trolley line. PBH offers private beach, tiki hut, day dock, beachside bbq area, fitness center, pool, off street parking, I could go on and on but why don’t you see for yourself!

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Rosie O’Donnell Sells Her Waterfront West Palm Beach Estate for $5 Million

Rosie O’Donnell is switching up her real estate portfolio once more. The former talk show host recently sold her waterfront estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, for $5 million—10 percent below her initial $5.5 million asking price, and only slightly more than the $4.975 million she paid for the property back in July 2015. The 5,700-square-foot home features five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms (with a separate one-bed, one-bath guesthouse nearby), spanning two floors and with access to the Intracoastal Waterway. The home doesn’t correspond to any particular architectural style, but does boast an impressive amount of light and space, including a nearly 30-feet-long living room with a reclaimed brick fireplace and an entire wall of windows and French doors that open out to the waterside backyard, which features a 40-foot-long deep swimming pool.

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Why Is Property In West Palm Beach A Great Investment?

Realtors in West Palm Beach Florida are up beat about the prospects as far valuations are concerned as 2018 gets going.

There are a number of reasons for this – besides the undoubted lifestyle benefits of living in this sought after area. The first of these is the ascending value of the U.S. dollar when compared to other currencies. The strong dollar has led to a slight decline in interest from buyers in places like Canada – but there are other pockets of investors who are still tremendously interested in investment properties in West Palm Beach.

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