Around the State- Southwest/ Tampa Bay- Jan. 2002
Bruce Williams Homes plans to build a "green" community with 351 home sites -- 200 on the water -- on a 146-acre tract off U.S. 301. David Sussel, vice president of development, says 49% of the land has been set aside for open space and conservation. Four neighborhoods are planned. Prices will start in the low $100,000s. Construction will begin this spring.
Clearwater -- Colliers Arnold Commercial Real Estate Services plans an $80-million redevelopment project in downtown Clear-water. Plans call for a 17-story luxury condominium, upscale retail space and a luxury hotel, which would replace the company's headquarters building at Drew Street and Osceola Avenue. The firm is searching for a new location for its headquarters. Construction is not expected to begin until at least 2003.
Fort Myers -- Naples-based developer Gates McVey is building a nine-acre office park in Lee County west of U.S. 41 between Daniels Parkway and Six Mile Cypress Parkway. The park will include 20 single-story buildings totaling 66,000 square feet. Phase I will be ready for occupancy next summer.
Naples -- F.N.B. Corp. (Nasdaq-FBAN) has bought Orlando-based Central Bank Shares, a holding company for Bank of Central Florida, for $80 million in cash. Central Bank Shares, family-owned since its creation in 1975, has $240 million in assets and $194 million in deposits.
Tampa -- Bay News 9 is launching a 24-hour Spanish-language news channel early this year, the first for the Tampa Bay area and Bay New's parent company, Time Warner. The company says it chose the area because Tampa Bay area Hispanics have the second-highest per capita income in the U.S. and because there are 15,000 Hispanic-owned companies in Tampa.
The Ice Palace arena has a new vice president and general manager, Robert A. Franklin. Franklin previously was vice president and general manager of the Miami Arena. He replaces Bob Rice.
The Heritage Isles Golf & Country Club in the master-planned community of Cross Creek is now open. The club -- open to the public -- features tennis, basketball and beach volleyball courts; aerobic and fitness rooms; three dining areas; and a library. A 260,000-gallon pool is under construction.
Virginia-based USAA Realty Co. is moving its southeast regional office to downtown Tampa from the West Shore business district in Tampa. The office's 11 employees handle the company's properties in Tampa, Orlando, Coral Gables and Nashville, Tenn.
Tampa Bay-- Goodwill Industries-Suncoast will be building three 25,000-sq.-ft. retail stores. The Hillsborough County Commission approved an $18-million industrial revenue bond for the nonprofit organization's expansion, which will create 200 jobs.
CLEARWATER -- Innova Pure Water Inc. has come up with a new marketing campaign to sell more of its bottled water filters: The company says that the filters, which fit inside a medium-sized water or sports bottle, filter out anthrax spores as well as other bacteria. The company developed the product before the anthrax scare, with Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers signing on in December to sell the filters starting for about $40 each. Other models are being developed for the military. Innova plans to distribute 20 million filters this year.
Making the Grade
Pinellas County students have consistently scored above national and state averages on SAT tests in both verbal and math skills. For the 1999-2000 school year, Pinellas students averaged 511 on the verbal part, compared with a state average of 498 and national average of 505. The average math score among Pinellas students in 1999-2000 was 519, compared with 500 for the state and 514 for the nation. Here are the numbers from 1994-95 to 1999-2000.