South Florida Businesses Suffer In Troubled Economic Climate

It seems like these days we can’t get away from reporting on historic and beloved businesses struggling due to the weakened economy. Another one to add to the list is the 80-year-old Miami River fixture, Merrill-Stevens Dry Dock Co. They’ve been hit so hard by the plummeting marine industry that they’ll only exist for boat storage. The famous boatyard serviced yachts of big names, like Delta misfit Ivana Trump.

And yes, you can blame the economy. Case in point: spending on luxury items, including boats and yachts has plummeted since 2007 as vessel owners have found more urgent needs for their liquid assets. Additionally, owners are delaying yacht repairs, which forces companies like Merrill-Stevens to lay off workers while business is slow. And with bank lending at an all time low, it’s difficult to break into new business arenas, such as specialization in larger yachts. The likelihood of finding private investors in this economic climate is highly unlikely.

In the same boat, pun intended, are plenty other troubled South Florida establishments. The famous Sagamore Hotel on Miami Beach faces a foreclosure suit after missing up to three mortgage payments. Lucky for them, however, their expensive collection of contemporary art has attracted the attention of Playboy Enterprises looking to boost their lifestyle brand. Heff and team are hoping to team up with the iconic hotel on South Beachm assuming the administrator of the mortgage gets behind the partnership.

Cocowalk, the open-air shopping mall in Coconut Grove, faces a foreclosure suit as well. And Suncruz Casinos, which operates gambling ships, has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Someone, a life vest please; We’re a sinking ship out here!