Central Florida Roundup
Getting a Lift: Mears turns to private equity investors to take on ride-sharing companies.
- Universal Orlando acquired more land near the Orange County Convention Center amid speculation that the resort is speeding up plans for a new theme park. The resort released details involving two new hotels it’s building on the site of the former Wet ’n Wild water park. One hotel will be called the Surfside Inn and Suites, which will have 750 rooms and open in summer 2019; the other will be called the Dockside Inn and Suites, which will have 2,050 rooms and open in sometime in 2020.
- A consortium of public and private groups led by the Central Florida Foundation launched a trust to provide land for affordable housing, beginning in the city’s downtown Parramore neighborhood, where the construction of a new UCF and Valencia College campus is driving up land values.
- UCF graduated the inaugural class from a new master’s of science program in data analytics.
- The port will build a new $150-million cruise terminal.
- Seminole State College chose Georgia Lorenz as its next president, succeeding Ann McGee, who will retire Aug. 1. Lorenz is currently vice president of academic affairs at Santa Monica College in California.
- Gaby Ortigoni, most recently a regional vice president of economic development agency Prospera, was hired as president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.
- Bryan Nelson, an insurance agent and former state legislator and Orange County commissioner, defeated Joe Kilsheimer to become mayor of Apopka, Orange County’s second-largest city.
INNOVATION: A Better Fertilizer
Anuvia Plant Nutrients, which makes fertilizer at a small factory in Zellwood, northwest of Orlando, has struck a deal with Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, to make a new fertilizer using manure from Smithfield’s hog farms. Smithfield will collect remnant solids from its manure-treatment systems at company-owned and contract hog farms in North Carolina, which Anuvia will then convert into a commercial-grade fertilizer that the company says will have a higher nutrient concentration than original organic materials — and a more controlled nutrient release that emits fewer greenhouse gases.
Anuvia says it will sell the fertilizer to farmers nationwide.
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