In The News
Northeast Florida Business Briefs - March 2005
BAKER COUNTY -- County officials are negotiating with Miami-based Adar Developers over a potential residential development on 3,600 acres near Macclenny.
BRANFORD -- The hanging deaths of three middle school students in a three-month period has led to a series of community meetings among parents, school officials and mental health professionals. Investigators believe the deaths may have been part of a "game" in which the boys tried to choke themselves until the point of blacking out to produce a euphoric feeling.
GAINESVILLE -- City officials want The Hilton University of Florida Conference Center to start paying property taxes. The hotel, which is fighting the move, has been tax-exempt since it opened in 2000 because it was built on state-owned land. Alachua County Property Appraiser Ed Crapo says changes in case law will allow the city and county to collect $472,000 in taxes this year.
Beacon Hill, a $1.8-million, 14-unit condominium development, is being built on a one-acre lot two miles from the University of Florida at SE 16th Avenue and Williston Road.
Jacksonville-based Scott-McRae Group bought the former University Mazda auto dealership on North Main Street, renaming it Duval Mazda of Gainesville.
University of Florida researcher Catherine Price announced she has developed a program to help identify which elderly patients will suffer changes in memory, mood or attention span following surgery.
JACKSONVILLE -- The Duval County School Board wants the city of Jacksonville to stop charging the district for roadwork associated with new schools. City officials have billed the district $2 million for road-widening projects as part of a program that requires developers to help pay to widen over-capacity roads.
At a news conference announcing that hundreds of Jacksonville deputies will now carry controversial Tasers, Sheriff John Rutherford allowed himself to be shot by one of the stun guns. After screaming and momentarily collapsing, Rutherford pronounced the guns safe, as long as they are not used on people who "appear frail due to age... or physical infirmity."
A county judge sided with two homeless men in declaring the city's law against drinking in public unconstitutional. Judge Charles Cofer said the law was vague and selectively enforced, citing fans who are allowed to drink outside Alltel Stadium on football Sundays.
John Reyes, vice president of sales for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the new president of the Jacksonville & the Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau.
American Land Ventures will soon break ground on a 38-story condominium tower on the city's Southbank, the second phase of the Miami-based company's riverfront development.
Over the objections of residents and business owners who insist Baymeadows Road is already overcrowded, the City Council approved developer D.R. Horton's plan to convert the Baymeadows Golf Club into a 1,200-home subdivision.
LandMar Group announced it will complete The Shipyards, a downtown residential/commercial development abandoned by TriLegacy Group LLC after city lawyers objected to how the firm spent $26 million in tax incentives.
Tiger Telematics has signed an agreement with Buena Vista Games to develop Disney-themed games for Gizmondo, a GPS-based handheld gaming device made by a Tiger subsidiary. First up: A game based on "TRON 2.0," a remake of Disney's 1982 science fiction film.
MAYPORT -- State and local lawmakers are fighting the Pentagon's plan to decommission the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy in 2006 -- 12 years earlier then previously scheduled. Carrier advocates worry the loss of the Kennedy -- with its thousands of sailors and Mayport Naval Base support staff -- could significantly harm the local economy.
PALATKA -- Tax Collector Ken Mahaffey says his office has received a number of inquiries over the past 18 months from people who have bought land in the county on eBay. Mahaffey says many are buying property "sight unseen" at grossly inflated prices.
ST. AUGUSTINE -- The $77-million project to widen and restore the historic Bridge of Lions is under way. A two-lane temporary bridge will handle traffic over the Matanzas River until the five-year enterprise is complete.
A disabled local man and a south Florida advocacy group have sued the city claiming many of St. Augustine's old sidewalks are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.