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August 14, 2018

Southwest Florida Roundup

Neighborhood buzz: Hospital's expansion raises hopes for a Sarasota neighborhood

Art Levy | 6/28/2017

When Jetson Grimes looks at the new building across the street from his barbershop in the Newtown neighborhood just north of downtown Sarasota, he sees “a big step forward.”

The building, home to a Sarasota Memorial Hospital medical clinic, is scheduled to open this month in the heart of the economically depressed community. “You have to start changing the perception, and the perception has been that this is an unsafe area,” says Grimes, who has been cutting hair in Newtown for more than 50 years.

“But when you see this, it tells people that it’s all right to be here, that it’s safe to be here. It sends the message that, if the hospital can invest here, then you can, too.”

So far, the hospital has invested $2.2 million in its 6,000-sq.-ft. Sarasota Memorial Internal Medicine- Newtown clinic.

The clinic will be staffed by post-graduate resident physicians participating in a Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Florida State University College of Medicine residency program. The residents will be supervised by board-certified internal medicine physicians serving as FSU faculty. Services will include physicals, adult vaccinations, care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and care for acute illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia.

Dru Jones, Newtown’s economic development coordinator, says the clinic is one of several projects planned for Newtown. Single Stream Recyclers, a Cocoa-based recycling company, also plans to open a facility this year in Newtown that would create 40 jobs, with another 40 to come by the end of 2018. Another proposal includes improvements to Fred Atkins Park, at the corner of U.S. 301 and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, considered the gateway into Newtown. Another entails developing a 13-acre brownfields site near the park.

“It could be a lot of things — retail, commercial, offices, manufacturing,” Jones says of the 13-acre site. “What we’re hoping for is jobs.”

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Innovation Training Millennials

Power Design, a St. Petersburg electrical contracting company, takes an innovative approach to training its workers, many of whom are millennials. Today’s hires learn best “out of the traditional classroom” and in a “simulation environment,” says Cynthia Bastos, Power Design’s training and development manager. “E-learning is the big new thing, gamification, augmented reality — these things are on the cutting edge of learning,” she says. “Everything’s accessible on a phone or iPad,” she says. “The goal is to deliver information in a rich, fun and engaging way that people can access wherever they are.”

Business Briefs

CLEARWATER — Despite a reported $15-million offer from the Church of Scientology, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium sold a 1.4-acre lot it owned downtown to the city for $4.25 million. The city wants the lot, across the street from city hall, to be part of a $55-million redevelopment project. The church wanted the land for part of a proposed retail and entertainment complex it hoped to develop downtown. Clearwaterbased Big Storm Brewing has purchased Punta Gorda’s Fat Point Brewing. The deal allows Fat Point to continue producing its beer, but with Big Storm’s equipment and staff.

LAKELAND — According to a report by Brand Finance, a valuation and strategy-consulting fi rm, Publix is the most valuable brand in the state. Florida’s next most valuable is Miami-based Burger King.

LARGO — Vology, an IT management services and hardware company, plans to add 200 jobs by 2021. The company, which hired 80 workers in 2016, employs 310 in Pinellas County.

LEE COUNTY — The Lee County Homeless Coalition estimates that 2,785 people will be homeless in the county at one time or another this year.

NORTH FORT MYERS — The Six Lakes Country Club has built a new 21,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse, featuring a 70- seat restaurant and a banquet hall.

SARASOTA — In addition to hosting the 2018 rowing championships, Nathan Benderson Park will also host the NCAA Division I, II and III women’s rowing championships in 2021 and 2022, the NCAA announced.

ST. PETERSBURG — Sembler Co. and Berkley Development, an Atlanta fi rm, are working together on retail projects primarily in the southern United States. Meanwhile, Sembler and Tampa- based Forge Capital Partners have jointly purchased two shopping centers, one in Texas and another in North Carolina. Voters gave city offi cials the go-ahead to negotiate a 25-year lease with the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team to play at city-owned Al Lang Stadium. Team owner Bill Edwards, who is seeking a MLS franchise for the team, says he’ll spend up to $80 million to expand and renovate the waterfront stadium. Al Lang was built in 1947 as a baseball fi eld. Direct mail company Valpak, which employs 750 in Pinellas County, is laying off 40 graphic artists.

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport started the second phase of its $2.3-billion renovation, this one costing $543 million and including upgrades to curbside drop-off areas and commercial development on 17 acres. IT health provider DAS Health plans to add 30 jobs — paying an average of $55,130 — by next year. Goodwill Industries-Suncoast is planning a 200,000-sq.-ft. distribution center near U.S. 301 and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. The facility will employ up to 70. A 10-story waterfront Marriott-affi liated hotel to be called Current is planned for the Rocky Point area along Tampa Bay. The hotel will have 180 waterfront rooms and 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Tags: Southwest

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