Central Florida Business Briefs - Sept. 2004
Cape Canaveral -- AJT & Associates and research/engineering company SAIC unveiled their self-contained mobile isolation unit and medical lab. The Mobilis Systems units are designed to quarantine victims of such diseases as tuberculosis, SARS and anthrax. The labs can be easily shipped by air, boat or trailer and contain a wastewater treatment system, an ozone decontamination and disinfection system, and computerized air control. Mobilis units can be customized to accommodate medical isolation, disease analysis and containment, WMD/hazardous materials and biochemical research.
Clermont -- Developer Carl Coccaro announced plans for a $27.9-million entertainment venue that would include a 14-screen movie theater, a two-thirds scale replica of Yankee Stadium with batting cages, miniature golf course, go-cart track, water park, virtual reality arcade, 700-seat amphitheater, two theme restaurants and 50,000 square feet of upscale retail space. Coccaro, president of C-Squared Inc. Land Development, says he is aiming for a February opening.
Daytona Beach -- Halifax Medical Center and Bert Fish Medical Center have ended a seven-year partnership that merged some of their business functions. A management agreement was signed by Halifax executives in 1999 but was never signed by Bert Fish executives. Bert Fish sought revisions to the agreement, and negotiations deteriorated earlier this year. Halifax voted to cancel the agreement. Neither side would say why.
Ormond Beach developer Paul Holub plans to buy Riverside Presbyterian Church on the Halifax River for $1.4 million, demolish it and build a five-story, 25-unit luxury condominium. Units will range from $600,000 to about $1 million. The property will include private boat docks along its 200 feet of riverfront.
Melbourne -- Biometric company AuthenTec Inc. says it secured $15 million from private investors led by the Carlyle Group. The group includes Advantage Capital, Harris Corp., Knickerbocker LLC, Sierra Ventures, Stonehenge Capital Partners and Texas Instruments, all of which are existing investors.
Orange County -- Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede began offering beer and wine during dinner shows and malt-based tropical drinks before the show. None of the entertainer's three other venues sells alcohol. The attraction also raised ticket prices from $44 to $47 for adults and from $19 to $20 for kids.
Orlando -- WestJet, a low-fare Canadian carrier, will begin service next month between Orlando and Toronto and Orlando and Calgary.
Gross Pointe Development Co. of Fort Myers has bought International Corporate Park, a 2,400-acre site on the Bee Line Expressway, for $41.5 million. Gross Pointe is teaming with Bouwfonds Property Finance and Dutch developer Rapenburch to develop the property. The developers say the extension of Alafaya Trail in east Orlando to the Bee Line will create a corridor from the University of Central Florida to Orlando International Airport that will be ripe for development.
Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control has won a subcontract from Raytheon Corp. to develop target recognition sensors for the Army's Future Combat Systems program. The deal is part of Raytheon's $375-million development program.
American Capital Strategies has acquired 75% of Safemark Systems, which supplies hotels with in-room safes, for $31 million. The remainder of the company is owned by management. American Capital is a publicly traded buyout and investment fund.
Universal Orlando President Bob Gault sent hundreds of letters to companies doing business with the resort asking executives for help in repealing the High Speed Rail Act. Gault's letter calls the plan "a bad idea" but does not specifically address the planned high-speed rail link between Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport.
Ajax Orlando, the U.S. affiliate of the Amsterdam soccer club AFC Ajax, has opened an online store for merchandise at ajaxorlando.us. Ajax Orlando was founded in 2003 to scout and recruit top soccer talent in the U.S.
Ormond Beach -- The Jaffe Co. announced plans to build The Shoppes of Tymber Creek, a 250,000-sq.-ft. shopping center at State Road 40 and Tymber Creek Road.
Pierson -- Federal regulators may derail aqua-farmer Gene Evans' attempt to create a "cash crop" of Beluga caviar. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule goes into effect in October that will stop American farmers from raising the prized fish for commercial use. Evans has applied for an exemption and is being backed by the Florida Department of Agriculture, but no decision has been made on whether to grant the exemption.
Plant City -- Sysco Corp. bought International Food Group Inc., a $78-million-a-year distributor of specialty foods to chain restaurants internationally. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. International Food Group founder Joseph Blancato will remain chairman.
WINTER PARK'S POWER PLAY
WINTER PARK -- Less than a year after Winter Park voters decided to buy their electric distribution infrastructure from Progress Energy Florida because of unreliability in the system, city officials gave Progress Energy a five-year contract to supply the city with electricity. The deal does not include maintaining the network, however. That contract will be let separately, and Progress Energy is not a bidder.