Northwest Florida Roundup
St. Joe Co. gets out of the woods in Northwest Florida
St. Joe Co. Is selling the majority of its woodland property in northwest Florida. At approximately 383,000 acres, the land counts for more than two-thirds of the company's timberland and rural land. The buyer, AgReserves, a taxpaying affiliate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, purchased the land for $565 million.
The sale encompasses timberlands in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. St. Joe's residential, commercial real estate segments and its resorts were not included in the sale.
Headquartered in Water- Sound in Walton County, St. Joe will now focus on developing residential, resort and commercial real estate property in northwest Florida, says St. Joe CEO Park Brady.
St. Joe still owns approximately 184,000 acres, mostly in northwest Florida. "The proceeds from the sale will provide the company with significant liquidity and numerous opportunities to create long-term value for our shareholders," Brady says.
The company is a partner in the Pier Park North shopping center in Panama City Beach, opening this spring.
The transaction, expected to close this quarter, means the Mormon church will own nearly 2% of Florida land and become the state's largest landowner. The church will maintain the property it's acquiring from St. Joe for timber and agricultural use, it says.
"AgReserves has demonstrated its commitment to wise land stewardship and prudent resource management during more than 60 years of ranching and agricultural operations in east-central Florida," says Paul Genho, AgReserves chairman.
"We will apply that same commitment and expertise to managing the property we are acquiring in Florida's panhandle. We look to the long term in everything we do."
Elmira Mangum is the first woman president of Florida A&M University. She was vice president at Cornell University. Roger Poitras is president of Sacred Heart Medical Group, headquartered in Pensacola. Poitras was previously president of the St. Vincent's Multispecialty Group and vice president of clinical integration at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. » Kelly Massey is director for the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida. Massey will oversee the operations of the center's offices in Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach.
Silver Door Hands on Arts & Crafts Center
The Silver Door Hands on Arts & Crafts Center, a family-run art studio in Bonifay, sits on a 13-acre ranch with a pond, old trees and lush lawns. Owners Mark and Carla Templeton grew up in South Africa and met in St. Martin in the Caribbean before making Holmes County their home with their two daughters. They converted an old barn and farmhouse into a place for creative types of all ages to attend art classes and workshops.
BAY COUNTY — Tyndall Air Force Base received the first five of 24 combat deployable F-22 Raptors from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., for the reactivated 95th Fighter Squadron as part of the new combat mission. The base will have the largest collection of F22s in the world — more than 50 — and is the only base that trains Raptor pilots. The program will add more than 1,100 jobs.
ESCAMBIA COUNTY — The county is set to approve a $1.65-million construction contract for a new Escambia County 4-H Center. The 4-H County Council sold the previous 240-acre Langley Bell 4-H center in 2012 to the Navy Federal Credit Union.
NORTHWEST FLORIDA — Navy Federal Credit Union was named best financial institution for military members by Money magazine.
PANAMA CITY — The Marie Hotel and the Buccaneer Beach Motel, two downtown businesses that have been in operation for more than 50 years, are looking to update and expand over the next 10 years. » Superior Residences, a Nice ville based assisted living facility specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, broke ground on an additional memory-care building in Panama City, creating at least 50 jobs.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Business owners on the east end of Panama City Beach began a cooperative marketing effort to brand the area as the "Gateway to the Gulf," as the west end continues to grow with the addition of Pier Park North, opening in the spring.
PENSACOLA — The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition took second place in the second phase of the DARPA Robotics Challenge at Homestead Miami Speedway, competing with the world's top 16 robotics development teams. The final phase of the competition is in December, with a $2-million prize at stake. The Pensacola News Journal's downtown site has been sold to Quint Studer's Daily Convo for $3.4 million. Gannett owned the 5.85-acre property since 1969. The newspaper will relocate. The YMCA may put a new facility on a portion of the site after the building there is razed.
PORT ST. JOE — The city is one of four rural communities chosen to participate in the Competitive Florida Partnership, an initiative with the state's Department of Economic Opportunity, which helps rural communities evaluate and market local assets that can support economic growth.
ROSEMARY BEACH — A&E's "Duck Dynasty" star Jase Robertson is in a partnership with Rosemary Beach-based Southern Fashion House Design to start a women's clothing line called Missy Robertson by Southern Fashion House.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida A&M University has partnered with Metz Culinary Management to provide dining services for students, faculty, staff and guests. The five-year agreement includes 150 food service employees and facility enhancements and capital improvements. Dean Mead, a corporate law firm with offices in Orlando, Fort Pierce, Viera and Gainesville, opened an office in Tallahassee with four attorneys — Pete Dunbar, Martha Edenfield, John Wharton and Ashley DiNuzio-Gault.
TAYLOR COUNTY — Doctors' Memorial Hospital and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare finalized a five-year partnership agreement aimed at improving patients' access to care in Taylor County and ensuring stability of the 48-bed hospital in Perry.