Central Florida Roundup
Businesses leave nothing to chance
The business community and county commission takes pains to discourage initiatives like a recent sick-leave proposal.
OSCEOLA COUNTY — The University of Central Florida's School of Medicine received $1 million for a long-term study of the health impacts of interactions between residents, nature and animals in the Osceola town of Harmony.
OVIEDO — Rock & Brews, a restaurant chain associated with Kiss members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, opened a location near Oviedo Marketplace.
WINTER PARK — The Best Western Mount Vernon Inn closed after being sold to a developer who plans to tear it down to build a retail project. The hotel was the site of the Red Fox Lounge, famous for a long-running lounge act featuring husband-and-wife duo Lorna Lambey and the late Mark Wayne. > Full Sail University laid off 50 employees.
Stephanie Naegele was appointed vice president of convention sales operations for Visit Orlando, central Florida's largest publicly subsidized tourism-marketing agency. Naegele was previously with hotelier Marriott International.
Thomas Sittema was elected chairman of the board of directors for the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission. Sittema is CEO of Orlando-based CNL Financial Group.
Dr. Phillips Center
After more than two decades of discussion, planning and buildling, city and county leaders opened a $514-million performing arts center in downtown Orlando. The Dr. Phillips Center includes a 2,700-seat main theater and a 300-seat side theater. An acoustic theater will be added in a second phase. The center is part of a $1-billion trio of projects built by Orange County and Orlando and funded primarily by county hotel taxes. Other projects include a renovated Florida Citrus Bowl stadium, which also opened in November, and the Amway Center arena, which opened in 2010.