Business Florida 2013 - The Regions
Bradenton, Clearwater, Lakeland, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa
QUALITY OF LIFE
Lights, camera, action
Hollywood has discovered Pinellas County’s appeal as a movie set. First came Dolphin Tale, based on the real-life story of Winter, the injured dolphin outfitted with a prosthetic tail. Grossing more than $83 million at the box office, the film helped triple attendance and spark a $12-million expansion at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Other film projects in Pinellas: Magic Mike, Spring Breakers and Sunlight Jr. Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, the Sarasota Film Festival, now in its 14th year, has drawn attention to Sarasota as a location for independent films and television productions.
Arts on top again
Tampa Bay once again swept AmericanStyle magazine’s annual rankings of U.S. top arts destinations. For the third consecutive year, St. Petersburg topped the list of “mid-size cities” for its stunning new Salvador Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Chihuly Collection and Central Avenue art gallery district; Tampa tied for the No. 2 spot with its revitalized Tampa Museum of Art and a special exhibit of Japanese art at the University of Tampa’s Henry B. Plant Museum. Two more Tampa Bay cities were again named “Top 25 Small Cities for Art”: Sarasota, site of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Ringling College of Art and Design, was No. 1, up from No. 5 a year ago, and Bradenton, known for its gallery- and studio-laden “Village of the Arts,” rose from 10th place to No. 2.
In 2012, Florida Southern College in Lakeland, home to the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on a single site, was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Cancer research firm IRX Therapeutics will relocate operations from New York to St. Petersburg by the end of 2012, bringing 40 jobs and the potential for 240 more within five years. The firm’s lead product IRX-2, an immunotherapy for treating cancer, is an outgrowth of technology the firm developed at the University of South Florida more than a decade ago.
Motion picture/publishing titan Time Warner plans to invest $5 million and create 500 new jobs in Hillsborough County over the next five years at a shared services center that will provide human resource, payroll and technology support to the rest of the company. The facility is expected to open in late 2013.