Southwest Florida Business Briefs - Nov 2006
CITRUS COUNTY -- The Citrus County Commission approved a 27-mile extension of the Suncoast Parkway. The $879-million project will extend the road to U.S. 19 north of Crystal River and is set to begin in 2013.
CLEARWATER -- Completing phase one of the Entrada development, the Clearwater Beach Gulfview Resort opened a newly renovated tower featuring 100 new and updated waterfront rooms. Next will come the redevelopment of the hotel's second tower, a new convention center and a 13-story hotel that may include condos.
FORT MYERS -- First Home Builders of Florida, a unit of K. Hovnanian Co., is targeting Hispanic home buyers with its new brand, Primer Hogar, which means "first home" in Spanish. The brand includes a new logo, website with information in Spanish and a dedicated phone line with Spanish-speaking staff. A model center on Colonial Boulevard is staffed with Spanish speakers.
LAKELAND -- FedEx Corp. has purchased Watkins Motor Lines, a Lakelandbased company specializing in hauling less-thantruckload shipments, for $780 million. The company will be rebranded FedEx National LTL and FedEx Freight Canada.
NAPLES -- The D'Jamoos Group has begun leasing 140,000 square feet of commercial space in its 23-acre, $100-million mixed-use project, S?o Grato, located on the former site of H.M. Buckley Wholesale Growers. The project, slated for completion in 2008, will contain more than 62,600 square feet of shopping and retail space and 371,185 square feet of residential space.
? Hillcrest Bank Florida has opened its new full-service office in north Naples on Airport-Pulling Road.
SARASOTA -- Bayonne Development is planning a $300-million, three-level, open-air shopping center on 30 acres off U.S. 41 called the Shoppes at Grand Bay. The development also will feature 152 condominiums ranging from $500,000 to more than $1 million on a separate 70-acre parcel.
? The Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and the University of South Florida announced their new Center of Excellence in Marine Science BioSense, a flagship initiative that will address questions about the health of coastal waters and oceans, including red tide.
? Industrial Biotechnology Corp. has acquired Advance Pheromone Technologies, a subsidiary of the technology transfer company Utek, in a tax-free stock exchange. Advance Pheromone holds a license for biorepellant technology patents.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Allegiant Air, a discount airline based in Las Vegas, is considering starting service at St. Petersburg- Clearwater International Airport.
? Hilton Hotels recently opened a 227-room hotel in Carillon Park.
? Wikia, a for-profit spinoff of the St. Petersburg-based online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is moving to Silicon Valley. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says it's easier to find the web programming talent he needs out West.
TAMPA -- IT Resources Corp. has formed a service called Employ Our Veterans to provide assistance to former military personnel looking to get into civilian employment.
? University of South Florida researcher Jeffrey Krischer, professor and chief of the division of bioinformatics and biostatistics and director of the University of South Florida's Pediatrics Epidemiology Center, has received $20.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund a study to identify environmental triggers of Type 1 diabetes. The research will track 7,000 high-risk newborns for 20 years.