Photo:Solar Energy Management installed solar panels on the First Housing building near downtown Tampa.
Southwest Florida roundup
Great Bay Distributors' roof will be a shining example
Great Bay Distributors’ solar roof will be the largest in the state.
When Great Bay Distributors CEO Ron Petrini reviewed the initial building plans for the beer distributor’s new warehouse and offices in St. Petersburg, he noted that the roof over the 267,787-sq.-ft. facility was going to be massive, flat and unshaded. In that sense, he says, incorporating a rooftop solar array was a “no brainer,” but he only signed off on the array after he was convinced the economics would work, too.
“It’s a rather large investment,” Petrini says. “But we think our payback will be in six, 6½ years.”
The 1.5-megawatt system, expected to be the largest rooftop solar power system in the state when it’s completed next year, will cost about $2.6 million. It’s expected to meet about 40% of the facility’s power needs — a significant amount given that much of the warehouse has to be kept in the 50-degree range to keep the beer firesh. The 5,000-solar-panel system will cut the building’s carbon dioxide emissions, compared to a typical system, by an estimated 44,000 tons over the next 25 to 30 years, says Scott McIntyre, CEO of Solar Energy Management, the company that’s installing the array.
McIntyre says the availability of a federal tax credit for 30% of the value of the solar systems is driving a surge in solar work. Some of his company’s other projects include a 100,000-kilowatt solar system atop the 35,856-sq.-ft. Medallion Home headquarters in Manatee County and systems for the First Housing building near downtown Tampa and the SunTrust building in downtown St. Petersburg.
Tom Hall, a managing partner of All Florida Management, which manages the SunTrust building, says the office building has seen a 10% reduction in energy bills since last year, when the roof system was installed and other upgrades were made to help the building’s cooling and heating system run more efficiently.
“From the standpoint of ROI, the economics have been very good,” Hall says.
Marine Towing of Tampa
Marine Towing of Tampa recently purchased a fourth tugboat, a $9.5-million vessel called Patriot. The 93-foot-long, 5,000-horsepower tugboat, aside from guiding ships to Port Tampa Bay and Port Manatee, also has the capability to fight ship fires in the open sea. The tug’s fire fighting equipment, for example, can pump 12,000 gallons of water every minute at a fire as far away as 400 feet. Marine Towing, founded in 1999 by a group of towing professionals, employs 43.
> Michael Nursey has been promoted to market president for TD Bank’s central Florida region, which includes the Tampa Bay, Orlando, Lakeland and Melbourne markets. He’s based in Tampa.
> USF Sarasota-Manatee has opened a Global Engagement Office headed by Cihan Cobanoglu, dean of the university’s College of Hospitality & Technology Leadership.
> CBRE named Chase Pattillo managing director of its Tampa office.
BRADENTON — IMG Academy has opened its 40,000-sq.-ft., $5.4-million feldhouse, which includes offices, locker rooms and training facilities.
BROOKSVILLE — A planned expansion at Accuform Signs, which was to include a $15-million, 300,000-sq.- ft. Building, has been put on hold.
COLLIER COUNTY — Orange Blossom Ranch and Orange Blossom Groves, two residential projects located northeast of Naples, have sold for a combined $15.9 million. The deal includes 78 fully developed lots, 68 partially developed lots and 120 acres zoned for residential use. The new owner, RP Orange Blossom Owner, plans to continue developing the communities.
LAKELAND — North Carolinabased Green Man Brewing has signed a deal to brew 10,000 barrels of Green Man beer each year at the Brew Hub, a Lakeland cooperative brewery.
NEW PORT RICHEY — Trinity Medical Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy, has expanded its Pasco County operations from 8,000 to 12,000 square feet. The company, which specializes in compounding medications for dermatology, migraines, oncology, orthopedics, pain, psoriasis and wound care, employs 115.
PASCO COUNTY — Pasco’s Economic Development Council has opened its second SMARTstart business incubator. The new office is in New Port Richey. The first SMARTstart opened in Dade City earlier this year.
POLK COUNTY — County offcials, with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the state Department of Environmental Protection, are pooling $2 million to restore wetlands along Polk CountyÕs Lake Gwyn.The project is meant to reduce nutrient pollution reaching the Peace River.
SAINT LEO — John Picciano, a 1969 graduate of Saint Leo University who is the CEO of Oglethorpe Inc., a health care management firm, has donated $1 million to create scholarships for students wanting to study music and fne arts at the university.
SARASOTA — The Broadway Promenade, a 52,000-sq.-ft. Publix-anchored retail center, has sold for $11.3 million to Phillips Edison & Co., an Ohio-based shopping center investment company, which also owns another shopping center in Sarasota and shopping centers in nearby Englewood and North Port.
ST PETERSBURG — An 18-story, 30-unit condominium called Bliss is planned one block from downtown’s Beach Drive. > North Carolina-based Builders of Hope, a proponent of affordable housing, has spent $1.6 million to buy 68 homes in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The non-proft plans to renovate the homes and then sell or rent them to low-income residents. > The Tampa Bay Innovation Center has opened a TEC Garage business incubator downtown.
TAMPA — IT services firm Peak 10, based in North Carolina, has started work on a 60,000-sq.-ft. data center, boosting the square footage of its Tampa facilities to 230,000. > Validus Group, an investment firm, has an agreement to sell Validus Strategic Capital Partners to RCS Capital, a Delaware-based holding company, for $80 million. > Moffitt Cancer Center collaborated with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center to form the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, a database containing information from more than 100,000 patients who have agreed to donate tissue and clinical data for cancer research. > Creative Recycling Systems is closing its Tampa operations, costing 74 jobs. > Acoustiblok, which makes soundproofng products, plans a $1.75-million expansion that includes 50 new jobs.
TAMPA BAY — A proposed high-speed ferry project that would link MacDill Air Force Base to Tampa and St. Petersburg has won a $4.8-million federal grant. Hiring is under way at new Amazon fulfllment facilities in Lakeland and Ruskin. The Lakeland facility is expected to employ 385, while the Ruskin site will employ 1,000. The facilities are Amazon’s first in Florida, meaning Florida residents now have to pay state sales tax when buying through Amazon.
95— U.S. patents earned in 2013 by University of South Florida researchers, tops in Florida and 12th among all universities. University of Florida’s Research Foundation ranked 14th with 93 patents.
Solar Energy Management installed solar panels on the First Housing building (below) near downtown Tampa.