Northeast Florida Roundup
Good timing: FirstAtlantic is the last community bank in Jacksonville
FirstAtlantic Bank had a big edge over its competitors in the Jacksonville market as the financial crisis began in 2007-08.
Having just opened in September 2007, it wasn’t saddled with the questionable loans many other banks had made during the housing bubble.
Ultimately, many of those banks either failed or were forced to merge. Of the 20 banks headquartered in the Jacksonville metropolitan area at the beginning of the financial crisis, only five remain after Fidelity Southern acquired American Enterprise Bank in February and Ameris Bancorp bought The Jacksonville Bank in March.
Among the five still based in Jacksonville, FirstAtlantic, which has eight branches, is the last community bank remaining.
“Our success depends largely on how the Jacksonville MSA performs economically,” says Mitchell Hunt, president and CEO of the bank. He sees a big marketing advantage as a community bank.
“We are dedicated here,” he says. “I think that’s where we can differentiate ourselves.”
The buyouts of Jacksonville Bank and American Enterprise might create an opportunity for a new local player to enter the market, but Hunt says the regulatory environment since the financial crisis makes it difficult and costly to start a bank.
FirstAtlantic could become a merger target itself, but Hunt is hoping it can remain an independent community institution.
“If we can perform well, we’ll remain independent,” he says.
» Dawn Robertson was appointed CEO of Jacksonville- based fashion retailer Stein Mart. She succeeds 70-year-old Jay Stein, who retired but remains chairman. Robertson recently had been CEO of specialty retailer Deb Shops.
» Jay Monahan, already serving as deputy commissioner, was promoted to the additional role of COO of the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach. He has been an executive at the PGA Tour since 2010 and is expected to succeed Tim Finchem as commissioner when Finchem retires at the end of this year.
» Peter Menziuso was named president/North America for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, the Jacksonville-based contact lens division of the New Jersey-based health care products giant. Menziuso, a 20- year veteran of Johnson & Johnson, succeeds Laura Angelini, who is taking a different leadership position within the company.
ALACHUA — Krensavage Asset Management launched a proxy fight against Alachua-based RTI Surgical, nominating four new directors for election to the surgical implant company’s ninemember board. Krensavage, which owns 6% of RTI’s stock, believes the company has underperformed since its 2000 IPO. RTI says Chairman Dean Bergy will not stand for re-election this year. Curtis Selquist was named to succeed him.
AMELIA ISLAND — The number of overnight visitors to the resort community increased 7. 6% in 2015 to 618,200, according to the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council. Those visitors spent $433 million, up 1.7% from 2014.
JACKSONVILLE — Ernst & Young is opening a client service delivery center that will create 450 jobs over the next four years. The accounting and professional services firm employs more than 100 in its Jacksonville office. Fidelity National Information Services will add 250 jobs in Jacksonville, where the financial technology company already has about 1,100 employees. The company acquired SunGard Data Systems last year. London-based City Refrigeration Holdings, a global facilities management company, is establishing its North American headquarters in Jacksonville and will bring more than 100 jobs to the area. BMW of North America will spend $30 million to build a bigger regional distribution center on Jacksonville’s Westside. The new center will be more than twice the size of the current 210,000-sq.-ft. facility. The city reached agreement with the University of Florida and University of Georgia to keep the annual Florida-Georgia football game at Ever- Bank Field through at least 2021. Shopping center developer Regency Centers will begin construction this summer on a long-awaited mixeduse development anchored by a Publix supermarket in Jacksonville’s San Marco neighborhood. Regency is partnering with ArchCo Residential, Whitehall Realty Partners and Bluerock Residential Growth REIT on the 4.33-acre project called East San Marco.
Haskell is acquiring Leidos Constructors. The Jacksonville-based design, engineering and construction firm will add offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St. Louis, St. Paul, Houston and Charlotte with the Leidos deal. Terms were not announced. Chicagobased Hub International acquired the assets of Greene-Hazel & Associates. Jacksonville-based Greene-Hazel specializes in insurance products and employee benefits. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Delores Barr Weaver established a $20-million endowed fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Weaver had previously established a $50-million fund in 2012 when she and her husband, Wayne, sold their majority interest in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mayo Clinic is investing $100 million in construction projects at its Jacksonville campus, beginning this summer with a 150,000-sq.-ft. building for cancer, neurologic and neurosurgical care. JASPER — The Hamilton County Development Authority purchased a 55,000-sq.-ft. former jai alai facility. A commercial bakery operated by chef Art Smith will be used to supply goods to Smith’s new restaurant in Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort. A restaurant is also expected to open there.
ST. AUGUSTINE — Engineering and design firm Stellar is managing construction of the $19.75-million dormitory and commons building for Flagler College.
Computer simulations are used to train airplane pilots and predict the path of hurricanes, so why not use them to study conditions in the human body?
“We don’t have anything like that in the biological world,” says neuroscientist Spring Behrouz. “We’re trying to fill in that gap.”
Behrouz co-founded a Jacksonville company called NeuroInitiative to create a computer simulation of how neurons behave. She’s hoping it will help scientists learn more about Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
“That’s what scientists do. It’s a puzzle. You’re trying to put it together,” Behrouz says.
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