On Sunday, April 14th, folks from Everglades Earth First! joined South FL Smash Huntington Life Sciences’ (Smash HLS) demonstration outside of John Resuta’s empty suburban home. John is the Operations Manager at Primate Products in the Live Animal Division located in Doral. As a higher up who profits off of the selling of primates, he is not well liked. The protest, scheduled from 6-8, ended as it usually would…with a chant: You don’t know when, but we’ll be back!
by Panagioti, EF! Journal
Last month, Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) announced that it would be putting land developer Kolter in the cross-hairs of its campaign against Scripps Biotech and the destruction of Briger forest in northern Palm Beach County. Yesterday, they followed up with a bold office demo and theatrical hell-raising. [Check out the local news coverage here.]
Even the devil came out to shame Kolter
EEF! was joined by members of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition and Smash HLS, a South Florida-based anti-vivisection group. The demonstration, which included a menacing presence at the windows of Kolter employees, also entered the offices of Kolter and Kast (Kolter’s associated construction company) as well as their neighboring business, to let them know what is at stake if the Briger forest is lost.
A Kolter bulldozer aims for a young gopher tortoise
Though Palm Beach County politicians have declared the Scripps plan a done deal, Kolter has not yet closed on the deal to develop Briger. Likewise the South Florida Water Management District has not approved the needed Construction and Operation Permit (which requires presenting plans for protecting listed species such as hands ferns and gopher tortoises, as well as a hazardous waste management plan). The Scripps-Briger “Phase II” plan was slated to have begun construction years ago.
This condo costume came back out to the streets after having been created in the fight against Scripps back in 2005
This campaign against Kolter is only the latest stage of an anti-Scripps effort going on nearly nine years of organized opposition, when Jeb Bush first tried to ram through a scheme of biotech venture capitalism in Florida (funded by near $1 billion in corporate welfare hand-outs.)
Scripps Biotech was defeated in 2006 by a combination of protest and environmental lawsuits, after all the permits were approved and the developers (which at the time was Catalfumo famed domestic abuser and financial failure) had already poured concrete at Mecca Farms.
Joanne Davis of 1000 Friends on her trip with the New Times journalist who exposed Jeb’s original Scripps plan.
Over the next five years, a majority of the PBC County Commissioners who approved Scripps (four out of seven) were forced out of office for exposed corruption, with three of ‘em being sent to prison after pleading guilty to “Honest Services Fraud.” This County even landed itself a headline in Time magazine
From the perspective of having personally been there most every step of the way, I guess I would say “done deal” my fucking ass.
If you value these stories from the frontlines of ecological resistance, help keep us around by subscribing or donating to the Earth First! Journal.
Kids get revenge for the tortoise friend.
Tell Kolter to Drop the purchase of the Briger Forest!
Come out tomorrow ready to hoot, holler and have a good time at the expense of Kolter’s comfort! Rally at 3:30PM at 701 S. Olive St., West Palm Beach, FL. For more info, contact email@example.com
Various groups released a press release declaring their commitment to descend upon the HQ of Kolter Group Co. tomorrow. Press are already covering the event, below are excerpts of their press release:
From Everglades Earth First! “Are these developers actually insane, or just heartless? Will they not stop their crusade of pillage and plunder until every last patch of land is covered by concrete and strip malls– until the value of every single thing is measured by how much money it can stuff into the pockets of the already too rich? We can’t help but think what Palm Beach County used to look like before concrete was laid in the name of “progress”– before these developers got their greedy hands on this once beautiful place. When will it stop? How far will we allow this to go?”
From the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition:
Sara Henry from PBCEC says: “If preserved, restored, and made accessible tothe public, the Briger Forest has the potential to become a community resource of limitless value. I want Kolter to walk away from this deal. It’s not much to ask. The Briger Forest is an extremely unique cultural resource now that development has made this forest the last surviving ecosystem of its kind in Florida’s Eastern Corridor.”
Earth First! Activists With Puppets and Costumes Marching on Kolter Group to Protect Briger Forest
The environment is the focus of a West Palm Beach protest tomorrow, the second day of spring, courtesy of activists from the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition and Everglades Earth First! They’re concerned for the fate of Briger Forest, at 700 acres the largest bloc of undeveloped land in north-central Palm Beach County and one of the region’s last remaining stands of coastal pine flatwoods.
Briger has been in the sights of developers and the county’s business establishment ever since Jeb Bush birthed the idea of bioscience as the Holy Grail of local economic growth. Jeb’s brainstorm fizzled out. There’s still money to be made on the hustle, though, and now the Kolter Group is looking to cash in, with a scheme including housing, office space, and… more bioscience!
Whereas, faculty are concerned about the GEO Group’s management of its institutions in the U.S. and abroad; and
Whereas, faculty oppose important administrative decisions being made without participation or input from faculty, staff, or other FAU stakeholders; and
Whereas, the GEO Group’s business practices do not align with the missions of the university; and
Whereas, faculty think that the stadium naming has hurt the reputation of the university;
Be it resolved, that the faculty oppose naming the FAU football stadium the GEO Group Stadium.
Tepid as it is — and notable for its absence of any proposed response should the school stand by its complicity with the notorious human rights abuser — the resolution represents one small step for academic integrity.
Failure to pass the measure would expose the faculty as mere careerists and moral cretins. The French call it la trahison des clercs. Faculty, one hopes, know what it means. You can look it up.
Fire Ant — an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal bite — covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
Kolter in deal to buy Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
PALM BEACH GARDENS —
The Kolter Group Co. is under contract to buy the prized Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens, according to a Palm Beach County official and several real estate sources.
The deal, although not yet complete, is a big step forward in developing a prime tract set aside for a biotech research hub, an idea that first attracted the Scripps Research Institute to Florida.
The nearly 700-acre property is across the street from Scripps Florida on Donald Ross Road in the Abacoa development and is the largest piece of undeveloped land along Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County.
If Kolter closes on the deal, it is likely to get to work quickly on development, said Peter Reed, a principal with Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton. “This will help restart the market efforts of attracting other like-minded life science companies that want to cluster around there,” Reed said.
In 2010, the Briger tract was approved for 4 million square feet of biotech space.
In addition, the property is zoned for 1.2 million in office space, 500,000 square feet of retail and a 300-room hotel. Briger also is approved for plenty of housing, including 700 apartments, 1,400 multifamily homes and 600 single-family homes. The development would amount to about 170 acres for Scripps and bio-tech spin-offs, plus 500 acres for an Abacoa-like setup of shops, offices, a hotel and homes.
The approvals were obtained in 2010, but nothing has happened on the site until now.
“We think it’s great,” Shannon LaRocque, Palm Beach County assistant administrator said of the proposed Kolter purchase. “It’s critical to get a development partner and Kolter is a good one.”
A Kolter executive declined to comment. The Lester family, which owns the Briger tract, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
But several real estate sources said the deal is in the due diligence stage and a closing could come soon.
While no one knows the purchase price, estimates of $100 million — or more — seem likely, real estate pros say. One developer said the price could be as high as $125 million to $150 million.
Reed said Kolter is a smart choice. “Kolter is a known developer who comes without any question on their ability to perform, so you want that type of horsepower,” Reed said.
Kolter built One City Plaza and Two City Place condos in downtown West Palm Beach, has built Hyatt Place hotels in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach, and is building a luxury condominium in Gulfstream. It also is set to start building a luxury high-rise in North Palm Beach. Kolter has built several multifamily communities.
Real estate experts said the Kolter purchase would change the landscape of Palm Beach Gardens.
“Wow,” said Rebel Cook of Rebel Cook Real Estate in Jupiter. “I think it’s an amazing piece and will just add more economic growth to the area,” added Cook, who also serves as president of the Economic Forum, a Palm Beach County business group.
Richard M. Rendina, chairman of The Rendina Cos. of Jupiter, agreed that the in-town land is very important.
“The Briger tract is a great piece of entitled dirt,” Rendina said.
Before Scripps and the entitlements were in place at Briger, Rendina said his father, the late Bruce Rendina, tried to buy the property from the Lester family. Bruce Rendina was instrumental in bringing Scripps to Abacoa, which he helped develop.
Rendina said his company and Abacoa would be great neighbors. Additionally, if Kolter wanted a partner to develop the commercial, medical or biotech components, “we would be interested in joining forces,” said Rendina, whose company builds medical office buildings nationwide.
Indeed, Cook said medical office space remains in demand. That will likely increase if an admistrative law judge recommends to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration that it approve a $120 million, 80-bed teaching and research medical center on the Scripps part of the Briger property.
LaRocque said the judge’s decision, which is not binding to the agency, appears imminent.
The agency previously approved the project, but nearby hospitals, such as Jupiter Medical Center, appealed the decision, saying a new hospital is not needed.
Palm Beach County purchased 40 acres on the Briger site to allow Scripps to expand, and the Lester family donated 30 acres, LaRocque said. These 70 acres sit inside the part of the Briger parcel allocated for biotech development.
LaRocque said the teaching facility, a joint venture between Scripps and hospital giant Tenet, is not a hospital in the classic sense, but is an academic medical center for teaching and drug discovery, in collaboration with Scripps and Florida Atlantic University. The hospital, now known as the Florida Regional Medical Center, would feature 80 beds and collaborate with FAU’s new medical school.
Plans are afoot to redo the old Home Depot Expo building in Boynton Beach.
Retail broker Dan Lynch, of Atlantic Retail Properties, said the property’s new buyer is considering subdividing the 90,000 square foot space into two or three spaces. The property was sold to Boynton Expo Investors LLC for $5.1 million by Home Depot last year.
Lynch said he’s talking to a number of “junior” anchors that would be complementary to the Home Depot next door.
Making the space more attractive are plans to raise elevations on the back of the building so it is more visible from Interstate 95, Lynch said.
Alexandra Clough writes about the economy, real estate and the law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last night after 11:30PM the last item on the Jupiter Town Council meeting was a vote on the alignment of the island way road, which is slated to pass through Limestone Creek and Kennedy estates. The road, which was stalemated in the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners in mid-October in 3-3 locked decision, was unanimously passed last night by the Jupiter City Council. The decision specifically was to spend $600,000 to buy 7 parcels of property needed to install the road. This purchase will be fast tracked as a quick sale and is expected to be purchased no later than December 31st! There were only 6 people in opposition to the road present, one of which will have it right at their doorstep.
Although the county did not pass it in October, it can be revisited by them since it was a tie and the Jupiter Town Council stated that they intend to urge them to revisit it. Last night Karen Golonka invited all the opposition to contact her as she would not tolerate the misinformation and insults that the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners tolerated when they took the vote in October, so bring it to her folks!
Please call/send an e-mail to the council members of Jupiter and voice your opposition to this road!
-Thought this was a finished issue with the county. It is irresponsible that the council put this item on as the last item at the peak of holiday season after a huge town issue that went on for 3 hours. Agenda items are only released 2 days before a meeting, so it is difficult to organize quickly around issue.
-The road is slated to go through Limestone Creek a community that was founded by freed slaves and has been at the hands of colonialist decision making since its inception. This is no different. The residents of Limestone creek voiced their opposition to the road, and PBC Board of Commission was split because of this. The town of Jupiter should not ignore the concerns they had:
-increased pollution, noise pollution, and traffic of 5,000 vehicles per day
-unidentified bio-hazardous waste will be transported on this road.
An accident transporting it is not if, but when.
-picking a historically black community to put this road through is a strategy that bodies of power often do to win their poisonous proposals: put the most toxic substances through the communities that are least empowered to fight. This is why it is considered environmental racism.
-As the project is slated now, it will result in further habitat loss of the Florida state listed threatened Gopher tortoise.
PB Post Article about the vote before it happened. Please comment on article!
Article on the PBC Board of Commission dropping the proposal in October.
Environmental Racism, Endangered Species and the Biotech Nightmare
The threat of Scripps Florida reveals a new tentacle, as the Hawkeye biotech development plans unfold before us. The Palm Beach County Commission is scheduled to make a final vote on the road expansion, which is needed for the development to move forward, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9:30am, at 301 North Olive Ave (6th Floor).
[Help mobilize for this hearing, and educate yourself by reading the information below.]
Last week, the South Florida Times reported that dispute between a developer and residents of a historically black neighborhood in Jupiter has sparked a charge of environmental racism over a proposed new road—the southern extension of Island Way, off Indiantown Road.
No one, thus far, has attempted to refute the charge of racism. But the attorney for the developer was arrogant enough to say residents are wrong in believing the road would run through their Limestone Creek community.
Allen Ciklin, attorney for Hawkeye Unlimited said the road would not run through Limestone Creek but would be “built adjacent to Kennedy Estates.”
Residents at a September 11th County Commission hearing responded loud and clear that the Kennedy Estates neighborhood is part of the 100+ year old Limestone Creek community. It has only become so severed from the northern remnant of this historic community as a result of the racist road-building plans and real estate speculation schemes that now define modern Jupiter. Continue reading
By now, many have noticed that there is land clearing and development going on at the south edge of the Briger Forest. As it stands, the southwest corner of the Briger is the future home of a Jewish Community Center (JCC).
Nonetheless, we are getting organized to defend the forest from further incursion, in what the Palm Beach Post has called “The Building Boom on Hood Road.”
This Summer, the City of Palm Beach Gardens approved building plans for Franklin Charter School on the west side of the forest (also on Hood Road, west of I-95). This side of the forest was found by local volunteer research and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to be even wilder and less impacted than east of I-95.
And then there is the contentious Scripps-related hospital, which is being opposed by the Jupiter Medical Center.
Last week, Palm Beach County Assistant Administrator Shannon LaRocque-Bass said “The hospital is the trigger for getting the Briger property going.” Continue reading