ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Mercantile Capital Corp. of Altamonte Springs, which helps finance U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans, is branching into international business. Citing a clause in the SBA lending manual, the firm says it can lend money abroad in times of international economic crisis. It will target entrepreneurs in Iceland as well as Greece, Russia and others locations.
APOPKA — The Apopka military laser operation of Northrop Grumman received a $142.7-million contract to provide weapons targeting systems for the Army. The five-year deal could be worth a total of $599 million.
BREVARD COUNTY — United Space Alliance plans to lay off about 100 this month at Kennedy Space Center, bringing its workforce there to almost 5,400, as
the Houston-based company starts winding down for the end of the space shuttle program. The company reportedly will lay off 175 workers total between
KSC and Johnson Space Center in Houston.
» Port Canaveral will host 126 cruise ship visits next year — more than twice the 2009 total. The cruises are expected to bring 310,000 visitors who spend an average of $123 a day, according to the Canaveral Port Authority. Among the dockings is a planned 2011 stop by the Queen Victoria, the first ship from Cunard Lines to come to Port Canaveral since the QE2 in 2001.
DAYTONA BEACH — The News-Journal in Daytona Beach has a new owner: Halifax Media Holding, which purchased the 422-employee company and its operations for $20 million in a court-approved sale. The Davidson family had owned the newspaper for 82 years. Michael Redding, chief executive of Halifax Media, is publisher. The newspaper’s circulation is 95,000 daily.
» Halifax Health’s Center for Oncology has debuted a radiosurgery system to treat tumors in the brain, spine, lung, liver, prostate and breast. The system uses non-invasive surgical equipment.
ORANGE COUNTY — Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez, one of several high-profile candidates in this fall’s race for county mayor, was jailed April 28 after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement sting. She was charged with bribery, grand theft and accepting illegal campaign contributions. Fernandez, freed on bail, denied the charges.
ORLANDO — Suburban Land Reserve has announced plans for a 7,000-acre, 9,000-home community called Innovation in east Orange County, which would complete the Orange County vision for Innovation Way as a neighbor to the University of Central Florida, Orlando International Airport and the medical city at Lake Nona. The company is partnering with Central Florida Research Park to create high-tech jobs and Florida Hospital to incorporate a health initiative into the community.
» Almost 1,000 physicians visited central Florida in April to learn about robotic surgery at the World Robotic Symposium, at one point donning
3-D glasses to watch a robotic hysterectomy performed by Dr. Vipul Patel and Dr. Arnold Advincula of Florida Hospital’s Global Robotics Institute.
» The University of Central Florida received a record-breaking rebate check of $637,000 from Progress Energy in April for making an energy-efficient investment in a thermal energy storage facility that can hold 3 million gallons
of water, chilling it overnight so it’s not a drain on the utility’s services during the day. By cooling the water during off-peak hours, UCF expects to save $685,000 annually in energy costs.
» The owners of D&D Construction Services in Orlando have formed Islamorada Hotel Group and purchased a partially constructed hotel property in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Indigo Bay was conceived as a 25-unit condominium with 14 boat slips, but the new owners
are turning it into a boutique hotel.
» UCF had the third-strongest patent program in the nation among universities in 2009, according to a ranking by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. UCF moved up from seventh the previous year.
» Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has disbanded the transportation department created in 2005, disbursing its duties among other areas, including public works and economic development. The move came with the April resignation of Roger Neiswender, who had come out of retirement to serve as the department’s director.
ORMOND BEACH — Tymber Creek Plaza sold for $1.53 million, about $1 million less than its 2009 taxable value, to Third World Investments, owned by Joseph and Bibi Daprile. It was formerly owned by Tymber Creek Plaza LLC.
OSCEOLA COUNTY — The County Commission fired County Manager Michael Freilinger in April in the wake of security breaches at the Osceola County Jail that led to three inmate escapes in less than two months. He received a $300,000 severance package. Growth Management Administrator Donald Fisher is filling the job during the search for a replacement. The move came after Greg Futch, who oversaw the jail for the past two years, resigned and the county fired 11 guards and suspended another five. Some commissioners called the firing political, saying Freilinger, hired in 2007, frequently clashed with County Attorney Jo Thacker.
PALM COAST — Coral Gables developer Gold Royal Asset recently paid $4 million for a 46-acre site just off Interstate 95 in Palm Coast that was owned by Colbert Lane LLC of Ormond Beach.
» The city is paying CPH Engineering $224,850 for technical survey work on 27 well sites that are expected to eventually provide the city with water. Meanwhile, work is under way on a desalination plant that could open in the next seven to 10 years.
SOUTH DAYTONA BEACH — Blaine O’Neal, mayor of South Daytona Beach, died of an apparent heart attack April 9. O’Neal, 43, also served as president of the Volusia League of Cities and was a board member with the Florida League of Cities and vice chairman of the Volusia Council of Governments.