Chiquita looks to cancel lease at Port Everglades

Chiquita Brands International is looking to end its office lease at Broward County’s Port Everglades. The county commission will vote on Jan. 24 to terminate the lease for most of Chiquita’s facilities at the port. It currently leases 13.1 acres with 14,097 square feet of offices and 28,352 square feet of warehouses to support its banana shipments.

The move does not impact Chiquita’s headquarters at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach, where it moved in 2015. Chiquita also has a separate warehouse lease at the port for a banana ripening facility that would remain in place.

Chiquita first leased space at Port Everglades in 2013, according to a county memo. In 2013, the company extended its lease to Sept. 30, 2018.

In 2014, Chiquita signed a deal with Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) to provide cargo service for its bananas, so Chiquita started using MSC’s facilities at Port Everglades for its shipments. Then in 2015, Chiquita was sold to Cutrale-Safra.

Port Everglades officials contacted Chiquita about its plans and the company said it wanted to divest its terminal and base all of its shipments out of MSC’s terminal, the county memo said.

Under the proposed termination deal to be executed by March 1, Chiquita would pay the county a $500,000 termination fee. The company would be responsible for any damage or remediation required at the property and the county would return a $300,000 letter of credit to Chiquita.

"The early termination of the Chiquita lease agreement will benefit the port by creating opportunities for the currently dormant Chiquita land and the warehouse and office space to be made available for other Port users to expand their businesses and generate new revenue through both ship calls and cargo throughput,” the county memo stated. "The port will also continue to receive grid revenue from Chiquita for the 6.59 acre parcel they will continue to use."

source: bizjournals.com

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