Northeast Florida Roundup
TaboLap makes work on the go easier
The University of Florida will receive $8 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration toward construction of phase two of the college’s Innovation Hub, a business incubator that has assisted 60 companies, resulting in 760 jobs and $50 million in private investment over the first three years. The hub plans to double in size to roughly 100,000 square feet.
Work on the Go
As owner and founder of Ponte Vedra Beachbased startup Adept- Trends, 41-year-old Lien Hoang has created TaboLap, a dual-function laptop bag with a nonslip, table-like structure and two retractable shelves functioning as a portable workstation.
TaboLap was recently named one of Inc. magazine’s 15 coolest products of 2015. It starts at $219. Hoang, a communications specialist and University of North Florida alumni, designed the bag after multiple business trips overseas and not having enough room to get her work done. Established in 2011 using Hoang’s personal savings, TaboLap has sold 20% more units in 2015 then it had in 2014.
Ken Sweder is CEO of Interline Brands, a marketer and distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products. He replaces Michael Grebe, who has retired.
David Alban is now COO and corporate secretary of Ring Power, a heavy equipment company in St. Augustine. Alban had been executive vice president and corporate secretary.
Jonathan M. Smith, an attorney with Duss, Kenney, Safer, Hampton & Joos, was elected president of the Downtown Council Jax Chamber of Commerce for 2016.
ATLANTIC BEACH — Becovic Management Group of Indiana has purchased 15. 6 acres on Mayport Road for a proposed $12 million, 156-unit gated apartment community called Ocean Blue Apartments.
DUVAL COUNTY — The North Florida Land Trust purchased 2,551 acres, or about four square miles, in the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve for $750,000. The land, mostly marshland, is the conservation group’s largest land deal in its 16-year history and is located along an 11-mile stretch from I-95 to Nassau Sound.
GAINESVILLE — Exactech, a Gainesville- based developer and producer of bone and joint restoration products, announced the sale of most assets of its dental biologics business to salvin Dental Specialties, a privately held company focused on regenerative biomaterials and surgical instruments for implant dentistry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
HAWTHORNE — The city annexed 1,200 acres of Plum Creek Timber land. Plum Creek has proposed selling off its land and developing thousands of acres.
JACKSONVILLE — General Electric was awarded a $51-million contract by the U.S. Navy and the government of Australia for repair work on the F/A- 18 A-D aircraft, with the work to take place in Jacksonville. The contract will include the repair, replacement and program support of 35 F404 engine components. Auld & White Constructors was awarded a $14-million bid to build a 27,500-sq.-ft. standalone emergency department on Jacksonville’s Northside for Baptist Health. Acorn Property Holdings purchased Butler Pointe, a $12-million office building in the Southpoint area of Jacksonville. The property, anchored by the University of Phoenix, AT&T, Regency Electric and Sunteck, will be renovated. CSX is moving from the New York Stock Exchange to the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Downtown Jacksonville’s Innovation District, which extends from Broad Street to north Market Street and east Church Street to Bay Street, has been renamed the Spark District after the city’s great fire of 1901 and the city’s popular crowdfunding festival, One Spark. One Spark founder and CEO Elton Rivas stepped down after being asked to resign by the non-profit’s board of directors, which could push the event from the spring to the fall. Jacksonville Transportation Authority has outlined a plan for improving the Skyway, an automated monorail train servicing downtown, with an estimated cost of $74 million to replace vehicles and improve infrastructure. Mayor Lenny Curry proposed a half-cent sales tax to help pay down the city’s nearly $2.7 billion in pension debt. The sales tax would run from 2030 to 2060 and would total about $8.5 billion, according to financial projections by the city. The American Cancer Society has raised more than half of its $19.2 million fundraising goal for the planned Hope Lodge in Jacksonville, which will provide free housing for adult cancer patients and their caregivers while staying in the area for treatment.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY — St. Johns County issued 1,128 commercial permits in fiscal year 2015, a 55% increase over fiscal year 2014. Frontier Airlines will continue service at St. Augustine’s Northeast Florida Regional Airport, adding non-stop routes to Philadelphia International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport in mid- April. Northrop Grumman received a U.S. Navy contract to produce the first Japanese E-2D Advanced Hawkeye at the company’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine. The E-2D is the world’s only in-production all-weather, early warning (AEW) aircraft.