March 2, 2024

Southwest Florida Roundup

Ghee Wiz: Beneficial Blends takes a sustainable approach to making cooking fat

Art Levy | 1/26/2018


  • Jeffrey Seward was named interim CEO of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. He replaces Katherine Eagan, who is now CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.
  • Bob Spencer, chairman of Palmetto-based West Coast Tomato, is the new chairman of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority.
  • Joni James has stepped down as CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership to join the senior leadership team of the non-profit Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, which owns 20% of Bayfront Health. David Metz was named the downtown partnership’s interim CEO.
  • Tony DiBenedetto, co-founder and CEO of Tampa-based Tribridge, has left the company and was replaced by Brian Deming, another company co-founder.

Business Briefs

DADE CITY — Adventist Health System, the parent company of Florida Hospital, has purchased the 120-bed Bayfront Health Dade City Hospital.

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Manatee County is negotiating the purchase of the 126-acre Premier Sports Campus sports complex for $5.2 million. Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, which developed Lakewood Ranch, built the complex but wants to get out of the recreation business.

NAPLES — A $1-million cleanup of Naples Bay, targeting stormwater runoff that can contain nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants, is expected to begin this year.

PORT CHARLOTTE — Las Vegas-based airline Allegiant has launched the first phase of the Sunseeker Resort, a development along the Peace River that will include 720 condominiums, a 75-room hotel and a marina, along with restaurants and shops.

SARASOTA COUNTY — The county saw a 4.2% boost in visitors during the fiscal year that ended in September 2017.

  • Overall, the county hosted 1.2 million tourists in 2016-17, according to Visit Sarasota County.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder, a Millennial-oriented website that features advice on saving and making money, plans to boost its workforce from 80 to 245 by 2020. The city’s development review commission rejected a proposed 300-foottall condominium near downtown, saying the tower would be out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood. The developer plans to appeal the decision to city council.

TAMPA — JW Marriott will run the 519-room hotel that will be part of Strategic Property Partners’ Water Street Tampa development downtown.

  • A downtown block, once home to an establishment where lunch counter sit-ins took place during the 1960s, has sold for $9 million. The developer plans to restore the buildings that once housed a S.H. Kress & Co. department store and a F.W. Woolworth’s. The Museum of Science and Industry, which lost $1.4 million in 2016 and was on the verge of shutting down, made a $90,384 profit during the fiscal year that ended last September.

WINTER HAVEN — The city is looking to start work on a $22-million expansion of the Chain of Lakes park complex. The work will include a 100,000-sq.- ft. practice facility for the Lakeland Magic, the Orlando Magic’s G League team.


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