G4S Wackenhut, formerly known as Wackenhut, is in the final stages of moving into Abacoa in Jupiter. In Abacoa they will join the Scripps Institute, the Max Planck Society, and Florida Atlantic University Honors Campus in the core of the town. Abacoa is turning into an intellectual center and this offsets the dependence Floridians have always had on economic support from the housing industry and tourism.
Here’s what their new building looks like.
G4S Wackenhut was started in Coral Gables in 1954 by ex-FBI man George Wackenhut and three partners. Originally they provided manned security, but the company slowly evolved into a high-tech organization that found its way to profitable government, NASA, and nuclear contracts. As an example, in 1989 they won a $2.3 million contract to guard Metrorail stations in Miami and grew the practice into a nearly $20 million-per-year, no-bid contract. But this is small potatoes compared to the Federal contracts they have been awarded, especially since 9/11.
In the 1990’s, when George had his waterfront mansion on the market for $27 million, Palm Beach County paid his firm $1 million to relocate to Palm Beach Gardens and create jobs. In the end, most of the jobs were Miami transplants, not new jobs. Nevertheless, they are a clean business and provide jobs beyond the usual sources.
In 2002 the company was acquired for $570 million by a Danish corporation. In 2010 G4S Wackenhut is changing its name to G4S Secure Solutions to reflect a new business model.