Round-up of business news
» Philanthropist Richard “Dick” Jacobson has given $1 million toward building a new home at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for “Winter,” a dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail after being injured by a crab pot line in 2005.
COLLIER COUNTY —
» A Florida panther was found dead last December along I-75, near the Collier-Broward border. In all, 17 panthers were killed by a vehicle in 2009. In 2008, 10 died from as a result of vehicle collisions.
HAINES CITY —?
» The Grenelefe Golf & Tennis Resort is up for sale again after a proposed $50-million sale fell through last year.
HERNANDO COUNTY —
» A proposed development that would include 5,800 homes, as well as industrial and commercial construction, has won approval from the county’s planning and zoning commission. The 4,280-acre Quarry Preserve project would be built north of Brooksville on property that used to be a rock mine.
LAKEWOOD RANCH —
» A medical equipment manufacturer based in France has opened a U.S. headquarters in Lakewood Ranch. Trod Medical’s devices can be used for various treatments, including radiation oncology and interventional radiology.
» Dan Harlacher has purchased Valpak Direct Marketing System’s Tampa Bay franchise. Harlacher had been Valpak’s vice president of network sales.
» Collier County gave the Children’s Museum of Naples a $75,000 grant to promote and create awareness of the museum prior to the museum’s scheduled opening this fall.
» Members of the New Club Mediterra have agreed to buy the club for $6.8 million. The members will also assume $15 million in debt. The club includes two golf courses, a 25,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse and five tennis courts.
NORTH FORT MYERS —
» Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida has received $299,000 in federal stimulus money to offer mentoring to at-risk teens. The allotment is part of a $19-million grant Goodwill Industries International received to fund the program nationwide.
NORTH PORT —
» Plans are under way to create a North Port campus of the University of South Florida/Sarasota-Manatee.
PINELLAS COUNTY —
» Pinellas commissioners declared the entire county a “recovery zone,” allowing local companies to apply for a total of $20 million worth of tax-exempt bonds. Eligible uses include building hotels, office buildings, retail complexes and research facilities.
PLANT CITY —
» Winter Haven-based SunnyRidge Farm has opened a distribution facility in Plant City. The 51,000-sq.-ft. facility will be used to ship, cool and receive strawberries and blueberries.
ST. PETERSBURG —
» SRI-St. Petersburg officially opened its long-anticipated research facility along the city’s waterfront. The 37,000-sq.-ft. facility cost $11 million.
» Mayor Bill Foster took office in January, saying one of his top priorities will be solving the city’s homeless problem. Foster retained many of former Mayor Rick Baker’s top administrators, including Tish Elston, Goliath Davis and Police Chief Chuck Harmon.
» The Hillsborough County Aviation Committee has created a committee to study why there are so few international flights at Tampa International Airport. Currently, the airport offers just three international destinations: London, Toronto and the Cayman Islands.
» After a year’s absence, the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team will return to the St. Pete Times Forum. The team’s old league, the Arena Football League, shut down, but the team will begin competing in the Arena Football One league this spring.
» FreightCenter, a logistics company, announced plans to hire 75 workers and lease 10,000 square feet early this year.