Around the State- Southwest/ Tampa Bay- Jan. 2000
Lakeland -- North Lakeland Development has begun construction on a $2-million roadway that will run through Mall Hill Center, a planned 113-acre, mixed-use development to include retail, light industrial, office and residential components. The road will be completed by August.
Largo -- Medical manufacturer Smith & Nephew, PLC recently listed American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) on the New York Stock Exchange. The London-based global healthcare firm is the parent company of Smith & Nephew Inc. Wound Management, which employs 325 in Largo and makes advanced skin, wound and burn care products.
Polk County -- The state's largest phosphate employer, IMC Agrico, is closing down its Nichols mine and limiting production at its New Wales plant in response to global competition and lagging demand. IMC, which employs about 2,800 in central Florida, slashed 5.9% of its workforce in 1998. It has not specified the number of jobs to be cut this time, but the moves represent a 20% reduction in the company's total phosphate fertilizer production.
Polk County Sports Marketing has landed an Olympic qualifying event. The county this month hosts the top women's volleyball teams from the U.S., Canada, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as they compete for a berth in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Sarasota -- Mel-Re Development, based in Fort Myers, completed the initial phase of Tallevast Commerce Center in Airport Business Park across from Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, and signed its first tenant, Alpha Omega Consultants.
St. Petersburg -- Florida Power's parent company, Florida Progress, gave $5 million to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, making the electric utility the baseball team's biggest sponsor. The payout is part of a new sponsorship deal that runs through 2007. It comes as the team's management struggles with a 25% drop in attendance in its second season.
The St. Petersburg Housing Authority received a $27-million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOPE grant earmarked for the revitalization of the city's oldest and largest public housing complex, Jordan Park. Groundbreaking for the three-year project, the most significant to date for the city's economically depressed areas, was in November.
Tampa -- Sykes Enterprises (Nasdaq-SYKE) is building three new technical support call centers, one in Morningfield, Ky. Locations of the other two hadn't been disclosed, pending final negotiations. Sykes announced or opened 11 new call centers in 1999. A typical center generates annual revenues of about $17 million. The new facilities are expected to be operational by the end of March.
Celotex Corp. is in the market for a buyer and has hired Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Securities Corp. to explore opportunities. The privately held building materials manufacturer reported sales of $600 million for fiscal year 1999, nine years after filing for bankruptcy in the midst of a massive asbestos-related class-action lawsuit. Celotex is currently owned by the Asbestos Settlement Trust, which assumed the company's liability for any future asbestos-related claims.
Tampa Bay Water expects to select a developer for a regional water treatment plant this month. Four international teams have submitted bids ranging from $71 million to $93 million to design, build and operate the plant. It will be built near U.S. 301 in Hillsborough County and will serve Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa sports officials have officially "bridged the bay" with the merger of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Sports Foundation. The new regional group, to be called the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, will be based at Raymond James Stadium and plans to more actively recruit sporting events to the area.