April 20, 2014

Around the State

| 4/1/1998
AMELIA ISLAND -- Chicago-based film and video production company Cottle Communications opened a shop in Amelia Island to expand its Southeastern client base.

JACKSONVILLE-- Birmingham, Ala.-based SouthTrust Corp. purchased American National Bank for $163 million in stock.

Advertising firm St. John & Partners snagged a $16 million Ford dealership account and opened satellite offices in Pittsburgh and Detroit. A new agency headquarters opens in June with 20 additional staffers.

Law offices Holland & Knight merged with Jacksonville firms Gabel & Hair and Kirschner, Main, Graham, Tanner & Demont. The combined firm will use the Holland & Knight name and will have around 650 attorneys statewide, including 66 in Jacksonville, making it the city's largest law office.

LAKE CITY -- Jacksonville developer Sleiman Enterprises plans a 250,000-square-foot shopping center, the first new center in the area since 1984. Construction may begin this summer. Separately, Sleiman also plans to build a 60,000-square-foot strip mall in Lake City.

OCALA -- Boca Raton developer Richard Siemens expects to buy three historic thoroughbred horse farms-Bonnie Heath, Tartan and Dudley-to create an upscale residential golf community and office and retail projects. Construction at the 904-acre site could begin at the end of the year.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY -- The Ideal Division of Stant Cos., part of Denver-based Gates Corp., next month begins adding 80 jobs at its automotive parts plant.

STARKE -- Sightline Studios is expanding and will add 30 employees by summer, upping its staff to 100. The two-year-old maker of props and environments for theme parks and museums expects to double sales this year to more than $6 million.

Retail Change

Some well-known retailers have closed shop in Jacksonville, putting more retail space on the market, but new arrivals have picked up the slack and vacancy rates in 1998 could reach a five-year low of less than 15%. Among the departed: eight McDuff Appliance stores, three Luria's, two Mervyn's and two Levitz Furniture stores. New to the market: OfficeMax, Borders, Harris Teeters and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Tags: Florida Small Business, Politics & Law, Northeast, Business Florida

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