IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. Sun Sentinel: “South Florida lures more corporate headquarters”

Jan 19 • 804 Views • View Comments

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Sun Sentinel: “South Florida lures more corporate headquarters”


“South Florida lures more corporate headquarters”

Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel

January 19, 2014

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Lured by the sun, low taxes and a diverse workforce, an increasing number of companies are setting up corporate headquarters in South Florida.

Eighteen corporate headquarters have expanded or moved to Broward and Palm Beach counties since the recession officially ended in 2011. 

Seven of those offices moved from other states or countries; 11 expanded here.

Twenty years ago, few large companies called this area home, but Broward County now counts 150 regional or national headquarters. Those include AutoNation and Citrix Systems, as well as Latin American headquarters for Emerson, Microsoft and Wendy’s.

Palm Beach County has about 60 headquarters, including Office Depot, ADT Corp. and newer entrant Garda World, the cash services base of a Canadian security company.

But South Florida has been particularly successful attracting regional or Latin American headquarters, which also offer high-paying jobs and invest in the region

The primary reasons headquarters come here are easy access to international airports, a multilingual and skilled workforce, options in leasing or building office space, lower energy and construction costs — and no state income tax, Swindell and Smallridge said.

St. Louis-based Emerson, a $25 billion global manufacturer and technology company, considered Texas, Panama, Costa Rica and Brazil for its Latin American headquarters, before picking South Florida.

We’ve been here for two years, and it’s probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” said Emerson’s Latin American operations president, Leo Rodriguez, who now oversees 100 employees at the headquarters in Sunrise.

Palm Beach County’s scramble in late 2013 to retain Office Depot is an example of how corporations make headquarters decisions. When Office Depot merged with Illinois-based OfficeMax, Illinois dangled a big incentive package.

Smallridge worked with Gov. Rick Scott, who had made it clear he didn’t want to lose Office Depot, to retain the company. She and other economic officials pointed to Office Depot’s $123 million annual economic impact to the county and to its philanthropy: Office Depot has its foundation in Boca Raton and supported the local community with contributions valued at $2 million from 2008 to 2012, according to company data.

As an example, Smallridge points to Stephan Cretier, founder and CEO of GardaWorld Cash Services, which bases its cash logistics headquarters in Boca Raton. The company so far has created 500 jobs — more than five times what it promised in 2011 — and last year announced a further expansion.


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