Northeast Florida Roundup
Charting its course: UF expands the scope and breadth of future plans
UF gets more inclusive with its latest long-term master plan.
When the University of Florida began its latest master planning process, it decided to think long term. Instead of the usual 10-year horizon, it tried to envision the campus 40 to 50 years into the future.
“We really haven’t taken any kind of effort like that in the university’s history,” says Charlie Lane, UF senior vice president and COO.
The university also extended the boundaries of the master plan beyond the campus and reached out to members of the Gainesville and Alachua County community.
“I think this is a community that wanted to hear from UF for quite a while,” Lane says.
The plan endorsed by the UF board of trustees focuses on four areas:
» The New American City: Turning Gainesville into a “smart city lab” that uses UF resources to help solve community problems.
» Proximity: Focusing UF’s academic core on the eastern third of the campus to bring it closer to the rest of Gainesville.
» Strong neighborhoods: Helping preserve the character of off-campus neighborhoods.
» Stewardship: Becoming a steward of the environment on and around campus.
“What we want people to see is that we’re serious about the planning effort and serious about following through,” says Lane. “I think we got a very enthusiastic response to it.”
Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe is optimistic about the effort.
“I think the desire from the community was a more active role (by UF) in the day-to-day challenges we face as a city,” he says.
Poe wants UF students to embrace Gainesville after graduation. “Our goal is to keep people here. We need to have a city that we want to stay in.”
FERNANDINA BEACH — LignoTech, a joint venture of Rayonier Advanced Materials and Borregaard, received permits to build a $135-million lignin plant adjacent to Rayonier’s performance fibers plant. The plant is expected to create 50 jobs when it opens in 2018.
JACKSONVILLE — JAXUSA Partnership says 18 project announcements in 2016 will bring 4,200 new jobs to the area. » Drone Aviation’s vice chairman had to resign from the company after accepting a job as President Trump’s National Security Advisor. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had joined the board in April 2016, and the company, which makes tethered drones and aerostats, anounced several military contracts during Flynn’s tenure. » Fidelity National Financial is spinning off its majority stakes in mortgage technology company Black Knight Financial Services and investment firm Fidelity National Financial Ventures as independent public companies. The title insurance company hopes separating the businesses will increase shareholder value. » Financial technology company FIS, which was spun off from Fidelity in 2006, is selling SunGard’s public sector and education business for $850 million to Vista Equity Partners. FIS acquired SunGard in December 2015. » Jacksonville University is opening a satellite campus downtown in the SunTrust building. The campus will offer courses to about 100 students in the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences and the Davis College of Business. The Downtown Investment Authority approved a $274,000 loan for JU to build out the 15,000-sq.-ft. space. » Web.com is expanding into Latin America with its purchase of Donweb.Com, an Argentina-based website services company. » After buying The Jacksonville Bank last year and moving its executive officers to Jacksonville, Ameris Bancorp says additional acquisition activity is on “pause” because of a consent order with banking regulators. The order requires Ameris to fix compliance issues with the Bank Secrecy Act, which directs banks to help the government catch money launderers. Ameris attributes its compliance issues to a software glitch. » Jacksonville’s last Kmart store is closing.
MIDDLEBURG — A partnership called Branan Field Village bought 92 acres for $1.8 million with plans to develop a $105-million project that will include apartments, hotels and commercial buildings.
OCALA — Internet pet supply retailer Chewy is building a $31-million, 600,000-sq.-ft. distribution and customer service center at the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park. Chewy promised to create 114 jobs in exchange for $1.03 million in city and $740,000 in county incentives.
ORANGE PARK — Montreal- based Traxxall, which provides aircraft maintenance tracking systems, opened its first U. S. office.
PALM COAST — Flagler County commissioners approved $90,000 in incentives for Gioia Sales South to build a $2.8-million manufacturing facility. The maker of boating products employs 43 and will add 10 jobs.
ST. AUGUSTINE — Creative Learning’s former CEO launched a proxy fight against its board of directors. Brian Pappas was terminated as CEO in October 2015 but still controls 19.5% of the stock. Pappas is seeking to elect three nominees of his own to replace four directors. Creative Learning offers educational and enrichment programs for children through franchisees.
» Jared Rice was named executive director of The Players Championship, the annual PGA Tour golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach that generated $8.5 million for northeast Florida charities last year. Rice had been vice president of sales and marketing for the tournament.
» Peggy Bryan was elected chairwoman of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, becoming the first woman to lead its board of directors. Bryan had previously served as vice chair.
When Quang Pham founded Espero Pharmaceuticals, he could have based the business in a drug company mecca like New Jersey but instead decided on Jacksonville.
“I didn’t want to be lumped in with everyone else in the pharma corridor,” he says.
Last year, Pham was named entrepreneur of the year by BioFlorida as Espero launched GoNitro, a quickacting nitroglycerin powder used to treat angina.
Pham says the company’s annual revenue is “north of eight figures,” and he’s hoping to grow Espero from about 20 employees now to between 60 and 110 in the next year.