Central Fla., Space Coast Business Briefs - March 2011
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Mercantile Capital, a specialist in Small Business Administration loans, posted a record year in 2010. CEO Christopher Hurn says Mercantile closed 51 loans for $140.6 million in projects across 13 states. Loan volume was up about 80%.
DEBARY — The city has approved code changes to encourage development of offices, shops and housing near a planned station for SunRail.
DELTONA— Volusia County bought the 4,800-acre Leffler cattle ranch and tree farm near Deltona for $29 million in December to preserve a wildlife corridor.
KISSIMMEE — Osceola Regional Medical Center will undergo a $50-million expansion and renovation beginning next summer.
MELBOURNE — High-tech weapons maker DRS has expanded and consolidated some of its Brevard operations. The renovated building was doubled to 284,000 square feet and houses the infrared optical surveillance design and manufacturing operations.
» Harris Corp. received $21 million in orders for combat radios and related equipment for the U.S. Marine Corps in late 2010, pushing its total orders for advanced radios for the military to more than $1 billion during the year.
» MidairUSA, an aircraft maintenance company based in Rome, N.Y., plans to move operations to the Melbourne International Airport, creating more than 400 jobs.
ORANGE COUNTY — A Connecticut company has bought about 500 acres in the sprawling Horizon's West mixed-use development for $29 million, about half of what the land sold for in 2005. Starwood Capital Group got 1,500 lots in the deal, described as essentially a short sale.
ORLANDO — Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's Translational Research Institute for Metabolism & Diabetes broke ground in December on a 54,000-sq.-ft. research facility at Florida Hospital's Health Village in north Orlando.
» The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau has changed its name to Visit Orlando to align itself with the state tourism bureau's Visit Florida moniker.
» Valencia Community College will become Valencia College in July as the school is adding four-year degrees.
» Orlando-based Siemens Energy has received its largest onshore wind turbine order for 258 turbines to be installed at projects in Iowa. Siemens also expanded in Houston by acquiring the manufacturing division of Integrated Electrical Services.
» Legacy Cos. of Orlando will develop a 129-room Courtyard by Marriott on the Darden Restaurants headquarters property to provide lodging for Darden trainees as well as the public.
» Orlando-based CNL Lifestyle Properties teamed up with Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living to buy 29 senior living communities in 12 states for $630 million.
PALM BAY — Palm Bay remained in the running in January to land a $50-million federal grant that would help create a solar photovoltaic center and bring as many as 4,200 jobs within five years. A local consortium working with Sematech made the final cut for the Department of Energy grant.
SANFORD — Community Based Care of Seminole, which manages the care of abused and neglected children, will take on added responsibility for Orange and Osceola counties this year.
SATELLITE BEACH — Lighting Science Group scrambled to fill a leadership void after the death of Chairman, President and CEO Zachary Gibler, who was killed in January while biking on Merritt Island. Board member Richard Weinberg assumed the chairman's post while other board members were assisting with temporary CEO duties. The company has manufactured more than 1 million light bulbs since the Brevard plant opened about four years ago. This year, the business is expanding, introducing a 60-watt light-emitting diode bulb in a project expected to go forward as the company restructures following Gibler's death. If sales grow as expected, the company may double its workforce of more than 400 in the next several years.
TAVARES — Florida Hospital Waterman became one of the first in the Florida Hospital chain to enact a policy against hiring anyone who smokes or uses tobacco products.