Florida's plan to fix hurricane evacuations
When thousands of Floridians tried to evacuate from Hurricane Irma last year, traffic jams and fuel shortages slowed them down and fired them up. After the release of two Florida Department of Transportation reports on ways to alleviate those delays and gas shortages, Gov. Rick Scott said he was directing the state transportation agency to implement fixes to improve the state's hurricane evacuation routes. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Special Section: St. Petersburg, Florida
In St. Petersburg you can pick up a cup of locally roasted coffee on your walk to work and stroll for a local brew on the way home. This is a city in the sunshine, all year round. No time for boredom on weekends as there’s always a concert, a festival, a play or a professional baseball or soccer game all no more than a bicycle ride away. Full report here. [Sponsored]
Amid wild Bitcoin gyrations, some Florida businesses embrace it, with caution
Despite the wild swings in the price of Bitcoin, or perhaps because of them, Florida consumers are eager to get in on the action. They like the ease of use, speed of transactions and the anonymity. And a growing number of local businesses are eager to serve them. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida’s economy is set grow in 2018, experts say
Florida’s economy grew in 2017, and that positive momentum should continue in 2018, according to economists and business data experts who spoke to a crowd of about 500 Realtors® at the 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends event. Dr. Tony Villamil, founder and principal advisor of The Washington Economics Group said, "Florida is growing faster in terms of employment growth than the rest of the U.S., which is good for Florida real estate." More in the story from Florida Realtors®.
American visitors aren’t flying in droves to Cuba now. Tour operators: Please come back
In the past six months, the Cuba travel industry has been hit by a triple whammy of adverse events: U.S warnings and advisories against traveling to Cuba stemming from mysterious health episodes affecting diplomats, a Category 5 hurricane that battered tourism facilities, and confusing statements and restrictions from the Trump administration on travel to the island. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Struggling Stein-Mart may be the next department store chain to regroup [The Real Deal]
Jacksonville-based discount department store operator Stein-Mart may be the next national retailer to alter its bricks-and-mortar presence. The company announced Jan. 29 that it would “identify potential strategic alternatives” to the structure of its business.
› Florida: Cold snap killed 35 manatees statewide in January [AP]
35 manatees across Florida died as a result cold stress syndrome from Jan. 1 to Jan. 26, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This was five times as many deaths compared to the same time in 2017.
› Central Florida's food truck events face competition for trucks and customers [Orlando Sentinel]
Central Florida’s signature food truck events are feeling the fatigue of a trend that is 8 years old. The mobile food trucks helped spread Korean barbecue, lobster rolls and Swedish wraps to the region. Now, food truck owners and customers say the gatherings are losing steam.
› U.S. Labor Department opens review of CareerSource agencies [Tampa Bay Times]
The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a review of two bay-area career centers already under scrutiny from state officials to determine if they improperly reported job placements.
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› Plantation construction software company bought by global company for $500 million [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Plantation-based construction software company e-Builder has been acquired by a Silicon Valley company for $500 million in cash. “We wanted to be a Silicon Valley company in South Florida, and now we are,” said Ron Antevy, co-founder and CEO of e-Builder.
› Topgolf, Andretti, I-Drive 360 energize corporate events in Orlando [Orlando Sentinel]
Large new attractions such as Topgolf, Andretti Indoor Karting and I-Drive 360 have re-energized competition for corporate events in Orlando, and offer fresh selling points to attract convention business.
› How could Jeffrey Loria claim no profits on his $1.2 billion sale of the Miami Marlins? [Miami Herald]
Jeffrey Loria sold his baseball team for about $1 billion more than he paid for it, so how can he be telling the county and the city he owes nothing from a 2009 profit-sharing deal requiring him to turn over 5 percent of any sale proceeds to the public?
› Study puts St. Pete-Clearwater airport’s economic impact at $1 billion [Tampa Bay Times]
The runways at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport are busier than ever, and a new study says those flights translate into thousands of local jobs and more than $1 billion a year in economic impact. Volaire Aviation Consulting did the study late last year for the airport, which is a division of Pinellas County government. See top findings from the study here.