by Wendy Dixon
Updated 4 weeks ago
Panama City has big plans for its downtown marina property.
After a lengthy standstill, downtown Panama City is on its way toward a transformation that city officials hope will lure private enterprise and boost the local economy. A new deed increases the city's authority over the Panama City Marina and the St. Andrews Marina, giving the city the freedom to explore a partnership that can develop both public and commercial uses for the project.
Hoping to draw tourists who are interested in more than boating and fishing, the city is accepting proposals nationwide from the private sector that include development of hotels, shops, restaurants and other attractions. Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki says 20% of people who attend downtown events and shows are from out of town. "If there's a nice hotel nearby, they can stay the night and eat there," he adds. The city is also pursuing a tourist development tax to promote downtown Panama City.
The new master plan will include upgrades to the Visual Arts Center, Marina Civic Center and Martin Theatre. "We're going to exhaust all efforts to find out what we should do; we owe it to the taxpayers," says Brudnicki. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. "
Utility work and seawall repairs have already begun. The Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency retired the iconic F-101 Voodoo jet that had been mounted near the waterfront and set aside a 600-year naval time capsule, whose new home will be determined later. "We're going to see what the private sector can do with the area," says Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency Director William Whitson. "We believe there could be national interest in what is a jewel of a property. "
Warren Ladner is CFO at Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart Health System in Panama City. Ladner was previously market CFO for two hospitals in the Gadsden/Anniston, Ala. , area.
Kelly Massey is director for the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida. She will oversee the center's offi ces in Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach. Massey had been director for the Henderson State University Small Business Technology Development Center and an adjunct faculty member in the HSU School of Business. She replaces Larry Strain, who left to work at United Bank.
Ken Armstrong is president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association in Tallahassee. Armstrong succeeds Mary Lou Rajchel. Armstrong previously led the United Way of the Big Bend for 16 years.
FSU Office of Research
FSU's Stacking Layers symposium, presented by the university's Office of Research, recently featured some of the nation's top 3-D printing experts, as well as engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators.
A 3-D printer works by stacking layers of material — usually plastic — on top of one another. A user designs the object on a computer. The printed product is produced in just hours. The capabilities are vast, ranging from the printing of lifesaving medical devices to architectural models, sculpture, fashion jewelry and custom parts and products.
Ken Baldauf, director of FSU's Program in Interdisciplinary Computing, predicts that in the future, individuals will be able to create any object they can imagine. "3-D printing is a disruptive technology that is destined to impact every industry and practice," he says, "from education to aerospace to medicine and art. "
The accommodation/food services industry in three northwest counties:
APALACHICOLA — Apalachicola Bay is getting an additional $6. 3 million in federal money to help the oyster industry and out-of-work fshermen.
BAY COUNTY — St. Joe Co. Is developing a retirement community in its 75,000-acre West Bay Sector Plan. St. Joe wants to expand its plan 50,000 acres to the west to include Walton County and build retirement communities similar to The Villages in central Florida. The new plan will be called the Bay-Walton Sector Plan.
BAY/OKALOOSA/WALTON COUNTIES — Defense partners in three counties were awarded $460,000 through Florida's Defense Reinvestment Grant. Bay County received $100,000 for Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base for attracting and keeping companies to support the local military installations. The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County received $100,000 for Team Eglin Research, Development, Acquisition, Test & Evaluation Center of Excellence Collaborative Support Program. The Shoal River Military Installation Buffer Project got $200,000. Walton County received $60,000 for strategic plan development at Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and Tyndall Air Force Base.
CRESTVIEW — Carolina Aeronautical Airframe & Powerplant, an aeronautics vocational school based in Simpsonville, S. C. , opened a center in the Okaloosa Industrial Air Park in Crestview.
DESTIN — Destin Commons open-air lifestyle center continues to add restaurants to its 100,000-sq. -ft. expansion, now under construction. Chipotle Mexican Grill and a larger Zoes Kitchen, there since 2004, will debut this summer.
PANAMA CITY — Bracken Engineering, based in Tampa, is relocating its northwest Florida offce from Tallahassee to Panama City.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Travel agency BookIt. com received $10 million from Chicago investment frm Monroe Capital to support growth.
PENSACOLA — Pensacola will be host to the 14th annual Gulf Coast Trade Alliance World Trade Conference, held May 1-2 at the Hilton in Pensacola Beach. > Cox Communications shut down its Pensacola call center, eliminating 144 jobs. The Pensacola operation is being merged into one of seven large call centers throughout the U. S. Cox maintains a workforce of more than 300 in northwest Florida.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY — The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida has partnered with the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Offce to collaborate on existing programs and develop new programs, projects and activities, enhance accessibility to mentors and knowledge centers and connect partners, capital and talent.
TALLAHASSEE — Deerfeld Beach-based Konover South closed the $8. 5-million sale of its 65,000-sq. -ft. Governors Crossing shopping center in Tallahassee to Publix Super Markets. In addition to the existing Publix, tenants include BB&T, Panera Bread and Supercuts. > Peter Brown Construction, a division of Moss & Associates, completed Florida State University's new Honors, Scholars and Fellows House, a four-story, 37,000-sq. - ft. Annex on the FSU campus. Also known as the Johnston Building Annex, the house is pre-certifed LEED Gold.
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