Published On: Thu, Feb 24th, 2011

Boca Raton is a renaissance city complete with historical perspectives

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By Al Zucaro

For the last 18 months since marrying one of Boca Raton’s mystical personalities, Yvonne Boice-Zucaro, I have come to realize that there may be no other community in Palm Beach County with the treasures that this community has to offer.

The people, the place and the perception make for a truly different experience than any other in my 30 years of living in South Florida. The Boca Raton lifestyle is unique from that of those others places…. Hobe Sound, Jupiter, West Palm Beach and, even, Palm Beach cannot compare to this experience.

Boca Raton’s history is well documented and its resources plentiful.

Al Zucaro

Located equidistant between two major international airports; within reach of three deepwater seaports; home to three universities with world class cultural and entertainment venues and, offering a lifestyle attractive to the gamut of leisure and corporate interests, Boca Raton presents a unique experience as a world class resort city complete with two 18 hole golf courses within its downtown boundaries and equally attractive to the needs of tourism as well as for business, trade and commerce.

For those of you who know me and at the risk of being a one issue person, I extend the notion of business, trade and commerce to that of international business, trade and commerce — and in support of this proposition, I offer as an experiment, a little exercise.

Close your eyes…. imagine a map of the western hemisphere….now place a compass point on Boca Raton’s City Hall while drawing a circle with a diameter of 5,000 miles….

Alas, what do you see?

You see that Boca Raton is not located in the southeastern section of the United States but rather, you realize that Boca Raton is located at the epicenter of the western hemisphere.

Incredible…simply by branding, Boca Raton becomes an active player in international business beyond the borders of the city, even beyond the borders of the county and, alas, the country.  Truly a renaissance city complete with the historical perspective of those visionary personalities and their dreams over the last half century.

So, for the moment, I pose the following rhetorical question.  Is Boca Raton, with its character, resources, personality and people, the international business capital of Palm Beach County?

For purposes here, let’s simply say that it is.

Having said that, what evidence can be offered to support such a bold assertion?

Well, here goes…..

1)      Boca Raton already has global brand recognition;

2)      Boca Raton hosts international cultural events throughout the year.  Examples  are found in the Festival of the Arts, this year with cultural performances from venues throughout the western hemisphere; the Palm Beach International Film Festival featuring films from around the globe;  the Concours d’Elegance, featuring automobiles of international acclaim and recognition; and for a historical reflection, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education, to name just a few;

3)      Boca Raton attracts diplomatic interests too.  Upcoming examples are found in the February 9th visit of Ambassador Ritva Jolkkonen, General Consul in New York from the country of Finland; and on March 3rd Ambassador Luiz Augusto de Araujo of Brazil will be visiting the area.  Over the past two years, tours have been conducted with Consul Generals and Ambassadors from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, and Spain;

4)      Boca Raton is identified in a 2010 economic impact study published at www.worldcityweb.com.  Over 1,100 multinational companies conduct their hemispheric business affairs from headquarters in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.  The report suggests that Boca Raton zip codes host dozens of these companies quietly conducting their international business from within the greater Boca Raton area.

5)      Boca Raton is identified by the Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board as the most desirable relocation opportunity when corporate headquarters consider a move to south Florida as their desired destination.

These indicia are only a beginning.  Branding efforts by private sector interests supported by the local government; fast track permitting; significantly reduced real estate values in housing and commercial projects; and a mature network of public schools, roadways and infrastructure are but a few of the other factors that allow Boca Raton to be seen as the international business capital of the county.

So, what’s next?  Telling this story to the world, of course….loudly, clearly, and without hesitation.

Three inspirational statements that must be added to Boca Raton’s lexicon of beliefs.  These are as follows:

BOCA RATON IS THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CAPITAL OF PALM BEACH COUNTY.

BOCA RATON IS TO PALM BEACH COUNTY WHAT CORAL GABLES IS TO DADE COUNTY.

BOCA RATON IS AT THE   EPICENTER OF INTERNATIONAL BUISNESS WITHIN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

These statements can be true and defensible and may be immediately attainable as Boca Raton believes in them and states them as so.

If Boca Raton accepts these inspirational statements to be true, visions them as the truth, and projects them without hesitation as true,

then the end result is that they will be seen as absolutely true simply because Boca Raton says they are true!

Al Zucaro is founder and chairman of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, a Florida non-profit corporation. Since its inception in 1999, the center has distinguished itself as an advocate for international trade and economic development for Palm Beach County and the six surrounding counties that comprise the World Trade Center Palm Beach.  He was named one of the 101 most influential people in International Trade and Commerce by South Florida CEO magazine in April 2003 and 2004. He is an attorney by trade and has served as a member of the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission.


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