Northwest Florida Roundup
Tailwinds: Pensacola moves to capitalize on a nearby Airbus plant
Now that passenger jets are rolling out of Airbus’ assembly plant in nearby Mobile, Ala., economic development officials in Pensacola are anticipating the construction of a $10-million building to house aerospacerelated companies.
Slated for downtown Pensacola’s long-vacant, nine-acre Technology Campus, the proposed 70,000-sq.-ft. building is being developed by Space Florida. Space Florida is providing seed money for the project, but Dale Ketchum, Space Florida’s chief of strategic alliances, says the majority of the financing is from private investors.
The building is almost fully leased, Ketchum says.
Once built, Space Florida will own the building for about 10 years then sell it back to investors to recoup its investment. “Our role is to help get this project off the ground, but at end of day we don’t wish to accumulate an inventory of buildings across the state,” says Ketchum.
The Pensacola-based Space Florida project is progressing rapidly because investors initially came forward with anchor tenants firmly committed to the project.
“We’re not in the business of developing spec buildings,” says Ketchum. “But we would be happy to do another spec building if investors came to us with a business plan intact and they had tenant commitments already in place.”
Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest, Escambia County’s lead economic development agency, says a design firm has been hired and construction is expected to get under way later this year.
Pensacola-based Avisod has developed technology that sends coupons and marketing information to consumers via text messages. Co-founded by Peter Nowak, Avisod launched 1&Done, an electronic text marketing system that directs smartphone users to web pages containing e-coupons. Messages to smart phones are sent without capturing phone numbers or other identifying information.
“1&Done offers all companies a way to distribute mobile coupons to customers without requiring an opt-in or sign up membership,” Nowak says.
» Bill Dunn has been named president of Metova CyberCENTS, which provides cyber security simulation and training services.
» Jay Revell, former executive director of the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, is now vice president of the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
DESTIN — Southern Airways CEO Stan Little says the Memphis-based airline is increasing the frequency of its commercial air service from New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis and Jackson, Miss., to Destin Executive Airport beginning this summer. The airline is also considering flights between Destin and Nashville, St. Louis and Knoxville, Tenn., he says.
Construction is under way on Thirty-One, a Gulf-front condominium in Seagrove Beach developed by Destin-based Premier Development Group.
PANAMA CITY — Gulf Power has shut down two generating units at its Panama City area Plant Smith.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Gulf Breeze-based Innisfree Hotels plans to spend some $100 million to build two beachfront hotels. Plans call for a 182-room Hampton Inn & Suites and a 200-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Bay County commissioners have approved the route for a $519-million parkway that will link Bay and Gulf counties. The commission’s approval paves the way for the Florida Department of Transportation to begin design plans for the 30-mile Gulf Coast Parkway that’s been in development for more than a decade.
PENSACOLA — The U.S. Coast Guard has fined a German company for illegally dumping oil at the Port of Pensacola. Briese Schiffahrts was ordered to pay $1.25 million in fines. Hixardt Technologies has received city approval for a $10.7-million, five-story office building in downtown Pensacola.
The Florida Department of Transportation has approved $2 million for FloridaWest, the lead economic development agency for Escambia County, for work related to The Bluffs, a proposed four-site industrial park along a fivemile corridor adjacent the Escambia River.
TALLAHASSEE — North American Properties- Southeast has purchased a site downtown for a development with 123 housing units, 25,000 square feet of retail space and 992 parking spaces.