When you buy or sell a house you expect to pay documentary stamp taxes. The saying doesn't always hold true if your trading large office or industrial properties. That tax loop hold is now costing South Florida counties and the state, millions of dollars in loss revenue. In the most recent deal to accentuate this problem, pension giant, TIAA-CREF paid an estimated $123.8 million dollars for the Seneca Industrial Park in southern Broward County, but if you look at the official deed, it shows that this massive wharehouse complex only sold for $10.00. It's all perfectly legal thanks to a Florida Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled real property could be transferred from one corporation to a subsidiary with out paying dock stamps. Buyers then acquire the newly created company stock and get the Real Estate. The Seneca stock shuffle sidestepped more than a million dollars in potential taxes. It also conceals the complex's fair market value from the county property appraiser. The posh Philips Point office tower in West Palm Beach sold using a similar tax dodging structure last summer. In a time of falling values, government officials worry the revenue loss may mean higher taxes for everyone else.
By years end, scientists will fill SCRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE in Jupiter, Florida looking for ways to cure diseases. But for the time being a construction team is working just as hard to build these complicated structures. The three buildings are packed with 294 tons of duct work, 55 miles of plumbing and 473 miles of electrical wiring. The most visual architecual feat however is a 130 foot long DNA double helix which serves as an impressive spire. Palm Beach County tax payers are banking the 160 Million Dollar project and hopes that it will spur a bio technology cluster.
South Floridians are embracing Green! Not the color but the environmental movement. Local membership in the US Green building council is growing so fast that the regional chapter has now split into 3 branches, One for each county. The council is leading the national outfit promoting environmentally friendly building practices. It was founded by architects and best known for it's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEEDS Certification Program.