Northwest Florida Roundup
Green advocate: Mike Rogers sees green as a good business model
A Tallahassee developer sees green as a good business model.
Tallahassee developer Mike Rogers launched his Southern Oaks subdivision in northeast Tallahassee in 2007 just as the housing market began its epic meltdown.
“I had just finished installing all the infrastructure and was ready to build the first home when things just came to a halt,” he says.
Rogers held on to the Southern Oaks property through the downturn and in early spring of this year broke ground on the subdivision’s first home.
This time around he’s going green. “I decided the best way to protect the integrity of Southern Oaks was to require every home built to meet the certified standards of the Florida Green Building Coalition,” he says. “And that requires us to pay attention to site preparation, energy and water conservation and everything else that goes into green building.”
Tallahassee area builder Mark Kessler, also a supporter of green building, is partnering with Rogers’ Southern Oaks development.
“When we started building green-certified homes, we thought it was going to be a really steep learning curve,” Kessler says. “But in my opinion it’s just good quality building practices. So much of it just makes sense.”
Rogers and Kessler are among a growing cadre of Florida-based developers and builders who have become vocal advocates of green building practices.
“In 2014 we certified 2,273 green residential homes in Florida, more than double the number in 2013,” says Suzanne Cook, executive director of the Florida Green Building Coalition.
Cook cites the Alys Beach seaside community west of Panama City and Pensacola-based Greenhaus as other examples of successful green building developments in northwest Florida.
Says Rogers: “I believe it is something we as developers can do and ought to be doing.”
- Touchstone Energy’s board of directors reelected Steve Rhodes president and chairman.Rhodes is CEO of the Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative, based in Crestview. Touchstone is a cooperative federation composed of more than 750 local, consumer-owned utility cooperatives in 46 states.
- Former Florida legislator and Pensacola Mayor Jerry Maygarden has been appointed chairman of the University of West Florida College of Business Advisory Council.
BAY COUNTY — St. Andrew Bay Land has submitted the final plat for the first phase of the SweetBay Development. The company says residential construction should begin soon near University Academy Charter School.
Bay County area hotels had some of the country’s most expensive hotel rooms in 2014, according a Hotel Price Index report, which ranked more than 200 areas. The Hotel Price Index, gathered from Hotels.com data, ranked the Panama City area as the 10thmost expensive in the U. S., hotels, averaging $151 per night.
BAY/WALTON COUNTIES — St. Joe submitted plans for property in both Bay and Walton counties. The plans outline a 50- year build-out of some 110,000 acres over more than 170 square miles in the counties.
DESTIN — ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has opened a store in Destin on Emerald Coast Parkway.
GULF BREEZE — Innisfree Hotels has purchased the Inn at Six Mountains in Killington, Vt. Innisfree’s founder and CEO, Julian Mac- Queen, says the Gulf Breeze-based company has begun a multimillion- dollar renovation of the 104-room lodge.
OKALOOSA COUNTY — The county expects to receive $6.4 million as part of the initial RESTORE Act funds distributed to counties affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
PENSACOLA — Aero Sekur, which specializes in helicopter lift-raft and flotation systems, is relocating its U.S. operations from New Jersey to Pensacola. The move puts the company closer to helicopter operators that service the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition has started an $8-million expansion of its Pensacola headquarters. The new building is scheduled for completion early next year. > Pensacon 2015, the science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic book convention that attracted some 22,000 attendees to downtown Pensacola for three days in late February, generated a local economic impact of $3.8 million, according to convention organizers.
PENSACOLA BEACH — U. S. Rep. Jeff Miller and Sen. Marco Rubio have introduced legislation that would give Santa Rosa Island homeowners the option to attain title to their leased property. Currently, island residents who own homes on Pensacola Beach have a 99-year lease for the property, with an option to renew for another 99 years. Under the current arrangement, residents pay annual lease fees, but no property taxes. The proposed legislation would have no impact on the boundaries or function of the Gulf Islands National Seashore adjacent Pensacola Beach.
PERRY — GP Cellulose Manufacturing is planning capital projects totaling some $40 million.
TALLAHASSEE — Palm Beach-based Meyer Development is moving forward with plans for the proposed Park Place Outlet Mall in the city’s northwest metro area near I-10. The project would become Tallahassee’s first outlet shopping center. Meyer has secured all necessary state and local permits to begin the multi-phase project.
Profile: Armored Frog
Founded in 2012 by Joe Sinkovich, Pensacola-based Armored Frog has grown rapidly, selling antique timbers shaped into contemporary furniture designs. It has added several craftsmen and finishers over the past year.
Sinkovich says more than 80% of his furniture business comes from clients outside of Florida.
While Armored Frog’s forte is antique wood furniture, the company now also makes custom-designed metal work that includes lighting fixtures.