The Union Labor Life Insurance Co., a union-owned insurance company based in the District, and six union pension funds will provide $44 million in refinancing for the renovation and upgrading of a 141-acre resort in Hollywood, Fla.
Work will begin immediately on the Diplomat Resort and Country Clubs, a 1,000-room complex that includes a hotel, a motel and a country club.
"This agreement is not only an investment in a great resort, it's a commitment to the future of South Florida as a growing and vibrant economic area," ULLICO President Daniel E. O'Sullivan said.
The Florida complex has long been the site of union meetings, said Doyle Niemann, a spokesman for ULLICO. Four years ago the AFL-CIO convention was held there. "Labor union and trade officials were well acquainted with it and were sympathetic to the needs of the hotel," Niemann said.
Of the total refinancing package, $35 million will be applied to debt repayment. The balance will be used for working capital and improvements.
Two professional services firms, ICF Inc. of Fairfax and Lewin and Associates Inc. of the District, have merged to form a company with concentrations in the health and energy fields.
The transaction took place through an exchange of common stock.
The merger will create two related companies: Lewin/ICF Health and Pensions Group, which will operate out of Lewin's offices, and ICF/Lewin Energy Group, which will operate out of ICF headquarters.
ICF provides scientific and engineering work in a number of fields, including the environment, energy, health care and advanced computer systems. Lewin has done work primarily in energy and health, according to Sara Brenner, spokeswoman for ICF.
The two companies provided "very compatible services," Brenner said, noting that ICF and Lewin have worked together and have competed on projects. "The feeling was that this was a natural combination," Brenner said.
"There is a remarkable symmetry between our two firms," said James O. Edwards, chief executive of ICF. "We expect our work and our clients to benefit tremendously from this new association."
The combined companies will have 1,000 employes at two locations.
The Lewin/ICF Health and Pensions Group will be directed by Lawrence S. Lewin, former president of Lewin. Vello Kuuskraa, former executive vice president of Lewin, and Kenneth A. Schweers, senior vice president of ICF, will codirect the combined ICF/Lewin energy group.
Sheladia Associates Inc. of Riverdale and The Leon Bridges Co. of Baltimore have merged to form one company with 215 employes and 10 offices. The new company retains the Sheladia name and is based in Riverdale.
Sheladia, an architectural and engineering firm, "needed to increase their architectural component. The Bridges Co. had no engineering component," said Leon Bridges, senior vice president.
Principal members of Bridges will form the core of Sheladia's architectural division, to be called Sheladia/Bridges.
Both companies are minority owned and operated. All employes of both firms kept their jobs through the merger, Bridges said.
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