Southwest Fla. & Tampa Bay Business Briefs - December 2010
FORT MYERS —?Gannett plans to open a centralized online advertising department in Lee County to serve the chain's newspapers. Gannett, which owns 82 newspapers, including the Fort Myers News-Press, will receive up to $105,000 from the Lee County Job Opportunity Program to open the facility, which is expected to employ 35 full-time workers.
» Algenol Biofuels has opened its new 40,000-sq.-ft. lab funded by $10 million in incentives from Lee County.
LARGO —?The National Forensic Science Technology Center, which employs 55 and offers forensic training and research, plans a spinoff called the Forensic Innovation Center, which will employ 40.
MANATEE COUNTY —?Manatee County Area Transit plans to build a $16-million administration and maintenance facility. The 116,000-sq.-ft. building will be paid for with federal funds.
PALMETTO —?Manatee County-based Pacific Tomato Growers has reached a deal with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to increase wages and improve working conditions for farmworkers. The deal essentially calls for Pacific Tomato Growers to pay an extra cent for every pound of tomatoes.
PINELLAS COUNTY —?County commissioners approved a $476,000 "green" house to demonstrate eco-friendly building options, including solar power, drought-tolerant landscaping and a cistern system.
POLK COUNTY — Polk's school district won an $11.3-million grant over the next three years to enhance its magnet school programs. Polk was among 40 school districts in the country to get the federal funds.
SARASOTA COUNTY —?The burgeoning rowing facilities at Nathan Benderson Park got a boost when county commissioners committed to lengthening the park's lake by 820 feet. Organizers say the expansion will help attract more world-class rowing regattas.
» County commissioners also approved giving $710,000 in incentives to two companies, including $360,000 to Sarasota Medical Products and $350,000 to Tervis Tumbler in Venice. Tervis plans to add 214 jobs over the next three years; Sarasota Medical Products plans to add 60 over the next five years.
ST. PETERSBURG —?The city's Al Lang Field will again host spring baseball in 2011. Teams from the Netherlands and Canada will train at the facility and play a spring schedule that will include exhibition games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Spring baseball had been absent from Al Lang since 2009, when the Rays began training in Port Charlotte.
TAMPA —?Private equity firm Carlyle Group is buying Syniverse Technologies for $2.6 billion. Syniverse, which provides mobile roaming, messaging and network solutions for mobile operators, has revenue of about $500 million and 1,400 employees, including 650 in Tampa. Carlyle plans to take the company private.
» The FDIC closed Progress Bank of Florida, which had assets of $110.7 million. Bay Cities then bought the two-branch bank from the FDIC.
» Busch Gardens' next high-speed roller coaster will be called Cheetah Hunt and will hit speeds of up to 60 mph and include close-up viewing of live cheetahs. The ride is expected to open next spring.
» Both AirTran and JetBlue plan to provide daily non-stop flights from Tampa International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico.