Northwest Fla., Panhandle Business Briefs - Jan. 2010
BAY COUNTY —
» Coast Water Efficient Technology (Coast WET) has moved from Pomona, Calif., to Bay County and set up international headquarters at Panama City Beach. It projects creating 230 jobs locally within three years, following construction of a permanent manufacturing, assembly and distribution facility in Panama City. Owned by Laurcon Capital, Coast WET develops and sells water-efficient plumbing products.
» County workers have moved into a new, $22-million, 120,000-sq.-ft. administration building. County offices formerly were scattered.
» The new international airport in Bay County set to open in May has been renamed the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.
» Holmes County Development Commission bought the former Holmes Manufacturing property at courthouse auction for $431,382 and will seek another industrial user. Plans announced last year by Greencore Earth Products to move to the nine-acre site recently fell through.
» Green Circle Bio Energy plans to build a second plant starting this spring in either Mississippi or Alabama.
OKALOOSA ISLAND —
ESCAMBIA COUNTY— Gulf Power Co. has put into operation at its Plant Crist a new scrubber system engineered to reduce regulated emissions by up to 95% from 1992 levels. The $600-million, four-year project is its most significant environmental project, according to the Southern Co.-owned electric utility. [Photo: Daryl Bunn]
» Voters approved a new charter for city government. The vote establishes a strong-mayor form of government. Some changes take place this month. The new mayor will be chosen in a November election.
» Seventeen physicians merged three private practices into Woodland Medical Specialists, opening a $28-million, 76,000-sq.-ft. medical center Dec. 1 and creating 25 jobs.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY —
» Pensacola Junior College will incorporate green construction in its new 110-acre campus on Highway 98 in south Santa Rosa County. Construction will start this spring.
» Tallahassee Community College is creating an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center that will provide job training and foster job creation in dual-use technologies developed for the military and adaptable for commercial and consumer use.
» The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has received a $2-million National Science Foundation grant, plus $1 million from Florida State University, to build a new kind of magnet capable of using a high-temperature superconductor. It’s expected to break records for magnetic field strength, save energy and money and make possible new types of science.
» H2Engineering’s renovated and expanded headquarters office has won recognition as a LEED gold building, the city’s first.
» Florida State University will serve as the lead institution in a collaborative project with Duke University and the National Marine Fisheries Service to study the environmental and economic impacts of the vast, and growing, "dead zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico on shrimping in the region, a $500-million annual industry. The project is funded by a $702,969 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dead zones result from low oxygen caused by algal blooms.
» City of Tallahassee Utilities will use its $8.9-million Smart Grid investment grant, part of President Obama’s $3.4 billion in energy technology grants, to complete development of a Smart Grid system, under way since 2007 to enable customers to manage their power usage. Some 220,000 smart meters were scheduled to be installed by year-end 2009. Upon completion of infrastructure, the city will operate the nation’s first electric, gas and water Smart Metering network.
» Spring Ridge Development, owned by Tavistock Group, is launching a 263-unit residential development at Sunny Hills, a 24,000-lot master planned community started in the 1970s by Deltona Corp. The development is potentially the first phase of a 6,000-unit community.