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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1997 The Palm Beach ftst PAGE 9B fife -1 Codes for 24-hour financial updates Page 103 B 1VF.QQ II l 1 1 -j Produce growers, processors unhappy with USDA ftPfpposed guidelines to make produce sate trom Tooa-Dorne illnesses are called burdensome. By Michael Utley Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ..WEST PALM BEACH Some of the most prominent members of the Florida agricultural concerned about your so-called guidance." The FDA recommendations that drew the most criticism from Florida growers involved detailed record-keeping procedures, water protection measures, worker hygiene practices, and animal control efforts that include limiting access to crops by birds and other pests. Controlling the flight path of birds isn't a very realistic suggestion, said Douglas Archer, a University of Florida professor and former FDA official. "I don't think you can enforce a no-fly zone over large portions of Florida," he said. Archer, head of UF's food science department, said those kinds of impractical recommendations have resulted from the FDA's hurried pace. Please see PRODUCE 15B us right now," said Dan Richey, president of the Indian River Citrus League, during a town hall meeting hosted here Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The federal agency is holding similar meetings around the country this month to gather comments on the proposed new guidelines, drawn up two months ago in response to recent outbreaks of food-borne infections linked to fresh produce. Even though the FDA guidelines are voluntary, produce growers are taking them seriously because of the strong likelihood that retailers will require their suppliers to comply. "I don't care what you call them, they will wind up being de facto regulations," said Larry Beasley, crop research director for A. Duda & Sons, one of the state's largest vegetable growers. "I am very What's ahead The FDA will host three more meetings to get public comment on a draft list of voluntary food safety guidelines for the produce industry. Meetings are scheduled for Monday in San Antonio; Wednesday in Salinas, Calif., and Friday in Clackamas, Ore. The FDA must submit a progress report to President Clinton by the beginning of January. Final guidelines are expected to be pub- , lished by October. 'community made it clear Friday they are not - pleased with the federal government's efforts to ''' Establish new guidelines for growing and processing fresh produce. j The proposed guidelines intended to minimize the threat of food-borne illnesses have been jdrafted too quickly, they said, and some of the rec--ommendations are overly burdensome. i We don t need this kind of curve ball thrown at In brief Kodak, U.S. lose The Post offers new Weekend Stocks section I trade fight The World Trade Organization rejects claims From Palm Beach Post staff, I The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters Want more stock news? Order i Weekend Stocks, a weekly special sec- tion with 20 pages of stock listings and related stories. Weekend Stocks is delivered each Saturday at no additional charge to all Palm Beach Post subscrib-I ers who request it. To receive Weekend i Stocks, subscribers must call (888) 645-i 1899. ! Republic sells six dealerships J FORT LAUDERDALE Republic I Industries Inc. (NYSE: RII: $26) said ! Friday it has agreed to sell six Saturn I dealerships that it had acquired earlier this year to Saturn Corp. The dealer ; nat si's r-, m aw?" I ill rfs lu-J fe k:;fr m Ur liiii JliLLus .v ,m C ships three in the Orlando area and three in Arizona were part of a larger acquisition and don't fit with Republic's strategy of developing retail clusters in major markets around the United States, the company said. CFI Mortgage sells off stock WEST PALM BEACH - CFI Mortgage Inc. said Friday it has sold $2 million of Series A convertible preferred stock to institutional investors. CFI President Christopher Castoro said he THE PALM BEACH POSTFILE PHOTO Area brokers say the Esperante building could fetch between $44 million and $52 million. FILE PHOTOTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS In addition to the Sears Tower (above), TrizecHahn is completing a deal to buy the Watergate complex. against Fuji and Japan. The Associated Press ' WASHINGTON The World Traderi Organization issued a preliminary ruling J against the United States Friday, reject-' ing claims that Japanese photo film.i company Fuji conspired with the Japa-'' nese government to keep Eastman'"' Kodak products out of Japan. The decision, in a high-profile case filed last year, was made available to both governments and the results were conf' firmed by Kodak and Fuji officials. : s Kodak Chairman George Fisher called the ruling "totally unacceptable." "This ruling ignores market reality. Japan's market is closed and in desperate ' ' ' need of deregulation and reform. The1,! U.S. government was right on the fact$ Jk and on the law," Fisher said in a state1-' ment. In light of the adverse ruling, Fisher;' 5 called on the Clinton administration to come up with a "concrete plan" to open1 ! the Japanese market. ' r j There was no immediate reaction , ; from the administration. In 1996, Presi'- dent Clinton's trade negotiators decided' against imposing trade sanctions on Japan because of the film dispute, prefer , . ring to send the case to the Geneva-', based WTO. " The WTO film case was filed by the ' ' United States in June 1996. A WTO panel , examined more than 20,000 pages of ev-1' j idence from the U.S. and Japanese gov- 'j1 , ernments. A final ruling is expected , early next year. (ij In Tokyo, Japanese officials said they ( were still studying the preliminary rul-n ing and had no comment. ' ,'v The United States had sought to' demonstrate "deliberate and extensive" efforts by Japan since the 1960s to block Kodak from competing in the Japanese i , film market. Fuji strongly denied the charges of m its major international rival. It said it had never conspired with the Japanese government to keep Kodak products off Japanese store shelves. The battle had been seen as a major test case for the WTO, created in 1995 as a successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Canadian realtor angles for Esperante i believes the placement should allow I CFI to increase its credit lines. CFI, j which went public earlier this year, is a mortgage company focused on the orig- ination, purchase and sale of noncon- j forming sub-prime loans. i First Union fined $300,000 I "JACKSONVILLE First Union Corp. has agreed to pay Florida regula- I tors a $300,000 fine for failing to proper has spent $1.42 billion since November 1996, when it was created out of a merger of Horsham Corp., a Canadian company, and Trizec Corp. Ltd. Besides the Sears Tower, TrizecHahn has bought Houston's Allen Center, New York's Grace Building and Jersey City's Newport Tower. Last month, it lost a bid to buy control of New York's Chrysler Building. By the end of this year, the company said it will close a buy of the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. If the sale closes, the Esperante building will be TrizecHahn's only property in Florida and that could send local first-class office and retail rates even higher, brokers say. "Over time it just ratifies the excitement, the future potential expected for West Palm Beach," said David Frisbie, a Clematis Street developer. The certificate sent to Sunrise Vacation and Travel states, "The Tenant understands that TrizecHahn Esperante Inc. and other parties may purchase the Building or a controlling interest in the Landlord." Esperante's owner, Miami-based Florida Acquisition Fund Esperante Ltd., bought the building for $31.4 million in 1992. Darryl Parmenter, the principal in the investment group, would say only, "I can't discuss it at this time." TrizecHahn's Laurie Ludwick also declined to comment. Area brokers estimate Esperante could fetch between $44 million and $52 million, or between $170 to $200 a square foot. Phillips Point sold for $88.8 million, or $209 a square foot, last December, the highest-priced office sale ever in Palm Beach County. TrizecHahn (NYSE: TZH: $24.50) By Sanjay Bhatt Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH A Canadian real estate company is close to buying the Esperante building, adding it to a portfolio that includes the Sears Tower and the Watergate complex. The TrizecHahn Corp., based in Toronto, has sent several of Esperanto's tenants estoppel certificates this week, including Todhunter International Inc. and Sunrise Vacation and Travel Service. The certificates, usually required by lenders before the closing of a sale, ask tenants to confirm that the terms of their leases are still in effect. "I don't think they've closed yet, but I think the closing is imminent," said A. Kenneth Pincourt Jr. of Todhunter International, who signed his certificate Thursday. ly register some of its branch offices to sell securities. As deregulation allowed banks to begin selling securities from their lobbies, new rules required banks to register their brokerage units, brokers and offices with Florida regulators. The bank registered its units and brokers but failed to register 152 branches, Bill Reilly, financial administrator of the state comptroller's Division of Securities, said Thursday. As part of the settlement, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company has offered to rescind transactions made before the offices were registered. The bank also agreed to limit expansion of its brokerage unit in Florida for six months, which could be costly in terms of lost business. First Union also agreed to pay for an independent arbitrator to handle brokerage customer complaints. Cox Radio buys 2 stations ATLANTA Cox Radio Inc. said Friday it agreed to acquire radio stations KONO-FM and KONO-AM in San Antonio from Radio Kono Ltd. for $23 million. Cox Radio said it also acquired an option to purchase KRIO-FM in San Antonio from Radio KRIO Ltd., an affiliate of Radio Kono. The company experts to sell or swap this option next year. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of next year. Royal clpl Smart Choice ends talks to buy Stuart dealership ram , -H Royal Palm seeing changes along SR 7 Beach Ivedere Rd. Southern Blvd. 1 12 Mile , Market closed at: 8,149.13, up, 98.97 Minute by minute c) ROB BARGEStaff Artist 6180 n i i I l l I 8160 tv 8140 Ar y 8120 -S 8100 TvS 80807 , 8060 -i' 8040 -I 8020 y 8000 ' i i I I I I dealerships. An analyst speculat-!r ed that at least two factors con-; tributed to the breakdown. "After further reflection, I think (Smart Choice) decided that the used car market is a little '.' more profitable and the returns ' on investment would be higher,'' ;j said Gerald Lewis, an associate at V Atlanta-based stock brokerage; Stephens Inc. "Their balance;; sheet is kind of fully leveraged, sq y where they use their cash is really precious." Despite recording net earh-n ings of $134,681 on sales of $7.X million for its quarter ended Sept:: 30, Smart Choice logged a net loss of $7.1 million on sales of t $14.7 million in the first three'4 quarters of 1997, securities filings, A show. Lewis said the loss is due mainly to the cost of an earlier merger, adding that Smart Choice's operations "are really" quite profitable." ; Trading of Smart Choice" (Nasdaq: SMCH) closed at $4 i Friday, down 6 cents. -,7, Steve Redditt said the family's J dealership, which it has owned for 30 years, remains for sale "if we get our price." The dealership; located at 4501 U.S. 1, keeps 300 new and 100 used cars on its lot ' The Titusville-based automotive group and Bill Redditt Ford can't reach terms. By Kris Hudson Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Smart Choice Automotive Group announced Friday that its negotiations to purchase Bill Redditt Ford in Stuart and another dealership in Cocoa have ended. Neither side would say exactly what caused the talks to fail. Titusville-based Smart Choice issued a statement late Friday saying only that it "could not agree on terms" with the two separately owned dealerships. "We just couldn't get together," said Steve Redditt, vice president and general manager of Bill Redditt Ford. Executives of the Cocoa dealership, Warren Wooten Ford, could not be reached to comment late Friday. Smart Choice announced early last month that it had signed letters of intent to purchase the two dealerships, potentially boosting its total to five new car dealerships and 19 used car Fox Nature Preserve. The commercial property sits in front of the preserve and extends to the south side of Okeechobee Boulevard. Fidelity Federal has bought the lot on the southwest corner, said William Meyer of Fox Property Venture, which owns the project "We've cleared the land, and we will be doing our site development work in the first quarter of '98." Meyer said two other commercial parcels are under contract, but he refused to name the buyers. Site plans on file with Palm Beach County show plans for a 7-Eleven on the southeast corner parcel. Meyer said his company is negotiating to sell the entire 25-acre site on the north side of Okeechobee to a single user. The land nearest the Royal Palm Beach High School is planned for multifamily housing. The project is designed as a geriatric center, a plan that dates back to the early 1970s and is required to remain intact by a multiagency settlement agreement. Western communities' res- By Angie Francalancia Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ROYAL PALM BEACH -As bulldozers shape the earth where State Road 7 will be widened, the land fronting its northern end is being transformed as well. The woods have been stripped from land that was part of the Fox property. And a Regal Theater is under construction on land purchased this summer for $1.6 million from Absolute Holdings of South Florida Inc. The Fox property is on both sides of Okeechobee Boulevard at State Road 7. About 75 acres will have a mix of uses, including a geriatric center and retail space. Nine acre-size lots will line Okeechobee Boulevard four on the north and five on the south. At one time, the Fox Property was nearly 1,700 acres. The county approved an adult community with a geriatric center, but a fight over saving environmentally sensitive land kept the project in courts for nearly two decades. In 1994, the county bought 1,500 acres for $15 million and created the 10 11 a.m. 12 1 2 3 4 p.m. - Dow: week by week 8200 I I Aa L I I I j idents were shocked to see the entire parcel stripped bare of trees lining that portion of State Road 7. Both developments began in coincidence with State Road 7's widening. But neither was contingent on it Farther south, the 76,000-square-foot 18-screen Regal Theater is under way. Absolute Holdings is marketing the remaining 15 acres through Bill Wright's Colony Realty. Wright is a principal in Absolute. The land is approved for a 25,000-square-foot strip shopping center and five parcels fronting the road, Wright said. "We're talking to individual users of various sizes, like ice cream stores, dry cleaners, We're looking for uses that will complement the theater," Wright said. 7200 I ft II H 1 -ttmrnmr mm hhhb I I I I 10-6 10-20 11-3 11-17 12-1 9-8 9-22 Sneaks indicate market holidays. ' 'Opening price does not have to match the Hosing price from the day before. Opening price can reflect trading and news that occurs after , the market closes. However, market change is measured from close to close.