Northeast - Business Briefs
GAINESVILLE — NASA awarded Gainesville engineering firm Jones Edmunds & Associates a $25-million contract for civil infrastructure upgrades at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
» Gainesville topped Equifax’s list of the 15 metro areas in the U.S. with the fewest small-business bankruptcy filings in the fourth quarter of 2009. Nationwide, commercial bankruptcies increased almost 52% between 2008 and 2009.
JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission approved a contract with Ross Perot Jr.’s Hillwood company to master-plan 2,700 acres at Cecil Commerce Center. Hillwood will buy the land for $21.2 million. Opponents, who include local developers, argued that the price is 80% below market value and will depress nearby land values.
» Global Axcess Corp. (OTC-GAXC), which owns, manages or operates more than 4,500 ATMs and other electronic kiosks in 43 states, had the top-performing stock in 2009 among Jacksonville-based public companies in an analysis by the Florida Times-Union newspaper. Its stock price rose 585%, from 13 cents to 89 cents.
» Xorail and Aviation Systems Engineering plan to add 55 and 10 professional-level positions respectively by the end of next year, after the Economic Development Commission approved tax incentives for the engineering firms.
» The Federal Trade Commission is suing Jacksonville’s Alcoholism Cure Corp. for luring customers with deceptive claims of a cure for alcoholism, illegally withdrawing their funds and then threatening them with publicity of their alcohol dependence if they complained. Local attorney Robert Douglas Krotzer, who calls himself “Dr. Doug,” owns the company.
MARION COUNTY — Commissioners voted to continue suspension of the county’s transportation impact fees through the end of 2010 to spur economic activity. In a temporary three-month suspension that began Jan. 1, builders pulled 191 residential and commercial permits in the unincorporated areas, compared to 131 permits during the 2009 period.?
MAYPORT — The Jacksonville Port Authority is reconsidering its controversial cruise ship terminal for Mayport. Amid concerns about the global recession, Jaxport shelved the idea last year after spending $12 million on land and other costs. The terminal faces opposition from local residents who say it will overwhelm the character of their traditional fishing village.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Owners of the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. is moving ahead with foreclosure proceedings. The resort’s owners, RQB Resort and RQB Development, an Irish firm, owe Goldman $193 million. Goldman says the resort is worth less than that and that RQB “failed to show that an effective reorganization plan is possible within any reasonable time period.”
ST. AUGUSTINE — City commissioners have asked the Legislature to sunset a 2007 law that gives management of 34 state-owned, historic properties to the University of Florida. UF was supposed to help repair the deteriorating Spanish Colonial structures in time for Florida’s 450th anniversary of European settlement in 2015 [“Raising St. Augustine’s Historical Awareness,” May 2009]. But the Legislature never gave the university the money to do so. City commissioners say they want to instead create a foundation and raise the money themselves, as the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation did for that city’s 400th birthday.
STARKE — Commercial Metals, a Texas-based manufacturer and trader of steel, aluminum and other metals, plans to lay off more than 100 at its Starke plant this month.