Around the State- Northeast- Jan. 2002
Jacksonville -- The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission won't ship its international business development efforts to the city's chamber of commerce, as a JEDC-sponsored consultant's study had suggested ["Foreign Exchange," September 2001]. "Except for a few people at the chamber, everyone dismissed it as a thoroughly bad idea," one JEDC insider says. "It's a dead issue."
BJ's Wholesale Club is moving into a $29-million, 480,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in the Westside Industrial Park. W.W. Grainger, a Chicago industrial parts distributor, is also moving to the park. It's planning a $23-million, 250,000-sq.-ft. facility.
Kuhn Flowers is back in local hands for the first time since 1984. Bill Cutting, who once worked for Kuhn for 15 years, and Harry Graham purchased the 54-year-old, six-store company from Fort Lauderdale interests for $2.5 million. They plan to expand the chain.
American Land Housing Group Inc. of North Miami Beach is considering a $150-million plan to build two office and residential high-rises on the city's Southbank. The company is seeking financial assistance from the city.
Jacksonville area hospitals begin 2002 playing what one could call a game of musical beds: Mayo Clinic wants to build a $207-million, 214-bed addition on its campus in conjunction with the announced sale of its St. Luke's Hospital unit to rival St. Vincent Medical Center; St. Vincent also has announced $60-million plans for new heart and cancer centers at its Riverside Avenue campus; and Baptist Health wants to add 25 beds to its existing Beaches facility and has spent $9.5 million to buy land on the Duval-St. Johns County border for a new facility, Baptist Health South. On paper, says Mayo Chairman and CEO Denis Cortese, northeast Florida may appear to have a sufficient number of beds without these additions. "But the beds aren't where they are needed," he says. The fast-growing south side and St. Johns County don't have enough, Cortese contends.
Ocala -- Some 23 manufacturers could benefit from a $491,587 state training grant awarded to the Citrus Levy Marion Regional Workforce Development Board (CLM Works). The money, which must be used by June, will provide training for about 200 local workers. Among companies eligible to participate: ABB Water Meters, Mark IV Automotive-Dayco, Emergency One, MFM Industries and Signature Brands.
St. Augustine -- The city's tallest building, 24 Cathedral Place, has been sold for $4.2 million to Arbors Development Group of Ormond Beach and Virtu Investments of Scottsdale, Ariz. The new owners had planned to convert the building's offices into condominiums but instead decided to renovate the lobby and common areas and make other improvements. The building's lead tenant, Wachovia Bank, has 18 months left on its lease. Should the bank leave, Arbors and Virtu say they would build shops where the bank's parking lot now is.
The downtown historic district's Oldest Store Museum is for sale for $940,000. The listing includes more than 100,000 artifacts from 19th and early 20th century life in St. Augustine. The museum's inventory is valued at $350,000; its land is valued at $590,000.
St. Johns County -- Ponte Vedra Inn & Club has completed its $45-million expansion begun in 1998. The expansion includes new meeting facilities, a ballroom, an oceanfront health club and retail shops. Gate Petroleum has owned the property, built in 1928, since 1983. Nearby Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Beach Club plans to begin its $22-million expansion in late March.