Northwest Florida Business Briefs - Dec. 2005
In the News
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- Developer Redfish Harbor plans a first-quarter construction start for Shelter Cove, a 30-acre, waterfront community along Bayou Garcon near Pensacola. The estimated $75-million project is a village-style design by Adache Group Architects of Fort Lauderdale, featuring a marina and 244 condominiums in two-unit, two- and three-story buildings.
The Navy will demolish seven historic Hurricane Ivan-damaged buildings at Pensacola Naval Air Station, but nine others originally proposed for razing will be spared, following protests from historic preservationists. Homes on Admiral's Row, dating from 1874, have National Historic Landmark status.
GRACEVILLE -- Under a state contract, GEO Group of Boca Raton will design, construct, finance and operate a $68-million, 1,500-bed prison in the Graceville Industrial Park. The prison, authorized in the 2004 legislative session, could create 300 jobs when it opens in 2007.
MARIANNA -- Alliance Laundry Systems' decision to phase out a 37-year manufacturing plant by September will mean job losses for about 400 employees. Alliance, which makes Speed Queen and other name-brand commercial and consumer laundry equipment, will consolidate operations at its Ripon, Wis., plant. Alliance executives cited the cost of maintaining two manufacturing locations amid competitive pressures of a world market.
MONTICELLO -- Jefferson County administrative departments, scattered about town since outgrowing courthouse quarters years ago, will be consolidated in the new Jefferson County Governmental Complex, a former high school that will undergo $1 million in renovations.
NAVARRE -- A planned $70-million commercial/residential project will be the first major development since the community adopted stricter building guidelines this year in the core district. The Boardwalk at Navarre, expected to get under way before the end of this year, will have 200 condominium units, retail and business office space. The Charter Cos. of Auburn, Ala., paid $9.6 million for the 20-acre site.
NICEVILLE -- Land speculator Stephen Alford and attorney David Fleet were found guilty of defrauding investors by selling total interest in beach property to two different parties. Alford and Fleet, who collected $12 million, hoped to acquire the land in a swap with Eglin Air Force Base.
NORTHWEST FLORIDA -- Bernard Jacob, vice president of external affairs and corporate services with Gulf Power Co., has been elected chairman of Florida's Great Northwest Inc. The regional economic development partnership represents 16 counties from Pensacola to Tallahassee.
PANAMA CITY -- St. Joe Co. (NYSE-JOE) will transfer 4,000 acres near West Bay for construction of an airport under a recently approved agreement with Panama City-Bay County International Airport Authority. In addition, almost 10,000 acres will be donated for environmental mitigation and conservation. Groundbreaking, pending Federal Aviation Administration approval, could come in early 2006.
PENSACOLA -- Pensacola Regional Airport, responding to record passenger levels, will start $50 million in expansions and improvements in February that will include new concourse gates and jet bridges and additional parking. Boardings since 2001 were up 50% as of September.
Ken Ford, CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, has been named to the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. Of IHMC federal funding, approximately 70%, or $15 million in 2004-05, comes from Department of Defense agencies, including the Army, Navy and Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Network Telephone Co. is being acquired by Talk America, a publicly traded phone and internet service provider based in New Hope, Pa. The $20-million deal, pending regulatory approval, will close in early 2006. NTC provides phone and internet service and employs 375. NTC operations and personnel are expected to remain in place.
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State University's new Applied Superconductivity Center will start setting up shop in Tallahassee's Innovation Park in January, joining forces with the university's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has awarded FSU's Learning Systems Institute a $6.2-million grant to develop national performance standards and training curriculum to increase security at the nation's 350 commercial ports.
The Florida Board of Governors named Mark Rosenberg chancellor of the State University System. Rosenberg was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Florida International University.