Southwest Fla. & Tampa Bay Business Briefs - March 2010
» To ensure that last winter’s Southwest Florida Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference was "carbon neutral," the county and event sponsor Johnson Engineering planted 23 cypress trees on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University, enough, says Johnson Engineering, to offset the 30 metric tons of carbon dioxide the two-day event in Punta Gorda created.
» Pods, a moving and storage company, plans to hire 255 customer and call center representatives in Florida and across the country.
» Digital Lightwave, a communications networking company, has gone private following its merger with Optel Acquisition.
» To cut costs, the Fort Myers News-Press and the Naples Daily News have agreed to deliver each other’s newspapers across both markets.
» A 2,000-acre parcel, once the site of a Toll Bros.-proposed golf course development, sold at a foreclosure auction for $30 million. The land had last sold to the developers in 2005 for $108 million.
» New College of Florida’s $11-million Academic Center and Plaza, is slated to open this fall. The 35,000-sq.-ft. center will house classrooms, faculty offices and a cafe.
» All Children’s Hospital moved into its new $403-million, 259-bed facility just a few blocks from its old location. The new building has nearly 1 million square feet, along with a slew of amenities, including a rooftop playground.
» Idearc, which publishes Verizon Yellow Pages books, announced plans to lay off 150 workers in St. Petersburg and shift their work to India.
» The Boley Centers won a $2.3-million federal grant to provide job training to 150 workers in the clean-energy industry.
» Work is under way on a $400-million elevated connector that will link I-4 with the Selmon Expressway.
» By the end of this month, Busch Gardens expects to open its new Sesame Street Safari of Fun attraction featuring Big Bird, Elmo and other Sesame Street characters.
» OSI Restaurant Partners, the parent company of the Outback Steakhouse chain, agreed to pay $19 million to settle claims that it discriminated against female employees by keeping them from management jobs. The chain also announced that its restaurants in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea are for sale.
» Florida Peninsula Holdings completed its acquisition of St. Petersburg-based Edison Insurance Group, giving Florida Peninsula more than 25,000 Edison policyholders.
» The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opted not to stop developers from building the proposed 1-million-sq.-ft. Cypress Creek Town Center mall. The Sierra Club, citing environmental concerns, has sued to stop the project.
» England-based Merlin Entertainments Groups purchased Cypress Gardens, the iconic theme park, for an undisclosed price. The company, which also owns Legoland in California, announced plans to reopen Cypress Gardens, which closed last fall, as another Legoland.