Southwest Florida & Tampa Bay Business Briefs - July 2008
Legislators approved $8.5 million for a 16-acre solar-panel field at Florida Gulf Coast University. Construction could start next year.
Alico (Nasdaq-ALCO) will shut down Plant World, a vegetable plant supplier, eliminating 30 jobs.
Publix Super Markets is buying 49 of Albertsons’ 93 supermarkets in the state.
» Construction is scheduled to start this summer on a $1.5-million technology building at Florida Southern College. The college’s 60-year-old Columbia Hall will be demolished to make way for the new facility, to be called the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Technology Center.
Sun Hydraulics, which has facilities in Manatee and Sarasota counties, will receive $102,000 in tax incentives from each county.
WCI Communities (NYSE-WCI) has sold Tuscany Reserve, a 470-acre golf course community in North Naples, to AB Naples, an investment group, for $65 million.
City commissioners gave police authority to impound vehicles whose drivers violate the city’s noise ordinance. In addition to a $125 towing fee, first-time violators will also face a $74 fine.
» Hoping to cut employee healthcare costs, Sarasota County government officials announced they will no longer hire smokers.
Tampa Bay Rays officials have outlined how the city can raise the estimated $450 million to build the Rays a waterfront stadium: $150 million from the team, $100 million from Pinellas County’s 1-cent bed tax, $75 million from state tax revenue, $55 million from parking revenue at the new stadium and $70 million gained from selling the Tropicana Field site, where the team plays now.
» Tropicana Field will be the site this winter of a new college football bowl game, tentatively named the St. Petersburg Bowl. The game will be played Dec. 20 and will feature teams from the Conference USA and Big East conferences.
» The St. Petersburg Times is offering retirement packages to up to 520 of its employees who are at least 50 years old and has imposed a one-year wage freeze. Over the past two years the paper’s full-time staff has dropped from more than 1,500 to less than 1,300. The newspaper will consider layoffs depending on the response to
the retirement offer.
Sweetbay Supermarkets is shopping for a new CEO following Shelley Broader’s announcement that she’s leaving to become COO of the 980-unit Michaels chain of craft stores based in Texas. After taking over as Sweetbay CEO in 2004, Broader, 43, oversaw its transformation from Kash ‘n Karry [“Food, Glorious Food,” November 2005]. Sweetbay has 107 Florida stores.
» The University of South Florida is eliminating 450 jobs, including 380 not currently filled, to cut nearly $36 million from its budget.
» Construction is under way on an IKEA store near Ybor City.
» In a report on airport consumer satisfaction, Tampa International Airport tied for third among 21 medium-sized North American airports, up from 14th last year. Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport ranks 16th among 20 small airports, down from 12th.
Accent Marketing will lay off 180 at its call center.