Northeast Florida Roundup
Aevum joins Atlanta-based Generation Orbit at Jacksonville's Cecil Spaceport
Cleared for Takeoff
Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport is getting its second launch tenant. Huntsville, Ala.-based Aevum will use a $4.9-million federal contract to send small satellites into low Earth orbit from Cecil to support the military and other government agencies.
Aevum joins Atlanta-based Generation Orbit at Cecil Spaceport, part of a former Navy base that’s now owned by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA).
The JAA has had federal approval to operate Cecil as a horizontal launch site since 2010, but so far no launches have occurred. Generation Orbit is preparing to launch its first satellite from an aircraft out of Cecil within the next year. Aevum, which plans to create 10 to 30 local jobs, says it will conduct its first launch from Cecil in the third quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, JAA is building an air traffic control tower and spaceport operations center that will allow the companies to remotely monitor and collect data from their spacecraft. The $9-million building is to open in early 2021.
- Jacksonville restaurateur Russ Disparti opened an Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant called 10/Six Grille in the historic Seminole Building downtown.
- Jacksonville-based Fanatics hired longtime Nike executive Michener Chandlee as CFO, prompting speculation that the sports merchandise company is preparing for an initial public offering. Chandlee will work at Fanatics’ corporate office in San Mateo, Calif.
- Jacksonville-based Crowley Solutions opened an office in Frankfurt, Germany.
- Adcom Wire, an affiliate of Missouri-based Leggett & Platt, will close a wire manufacturing plant in northwest Jacksonville and lay off 101 people.
- Martin “Hap” Stein will retire as CEO of Jacksonville-based Regency Centers and become executive chairman in January. Regency President and CFO Lisa Palmer will take over as CEO and remain president. Mike Mas, Regency’s managing director of finance, will replace her as CFO. Stein has led Regency since it went public in 1993. Palmer joined the shopping center developer in 1996 and has been president for three years. Palmer’s promotion makes her the only female CEO of a publicly traded company based in Jacksonville.
- Ponte Vedra Beach-based Ferber is developing about 11,500 square feet of retail space along Riverside Avenue in Jacksonville. The development, called Brooklyn Place, is to open next year with Panera Bread, Chipotle and Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi as tenants.
- TriBridge Residential and TLM Realty will redevelop a former Kmart store along Atlantic Boulevard in Neptune Beach with a new shopping center called Saltwater Row. In addition to shops and restaurants, the development will include a 44-room boutique hotel and a 150-room upscale hotel. Construction is to begin in early 2020.
- Jacksonville-based Hal Jones Contractor won a $9.9-million city contract to repair and rebuild the Jacksonville Beach Pier, which closed after being damaged in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. The project is to be completed by November 2021.
- Cross Regions Real Estate is building Fountains at St. Johns, a medical and retail development near I-95 in St. Johns County. When completed by the end of 2021, the development will have 42,000 square feet of retail space and 40,000 square feet of medical and office space.
- Ascension St. Vincent’s plans to build a stand-alone emergency department near I-295 in Arlington.
- HCA Healthcare paid about $16 million for 55 acres at I-95 and A1A near Wildlight in Nassau County. HCA did not disclose its plans for the property.
- Lisa Valentine, who previously led Summerville Medical Center in South Carolina, joined Orange Park Medical Center as CEO. She replaces Chad Patrick, who left to become CEO at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C.
- Jacksonville-based TIAA Bank named Steve Fischer CEO. Fischer, previously president and COO, replaced Blake Wilson, who retired.
- Weyerhaeuser sued the city of Gainesville over its handling of the company’s application to rezone about 744 acres from “agriculture” to “planned use district,” which would allow for a large subdivision. The company says its application remains pending after more than two years. It’s requesting that the city act to approve it, conditionally approve it or deny it.
- Christopher F. Roellke will replace Wendy Libby as president of Stetson College in DeLand when Libby retires at the end of June. Roellke is dean emeritus and professor of education at Vassar College.
- Juno Beach-based FPL hired Cathy Chambers as economic development manager. Chambers previously was senior vice president of strategy and business development at JAXUSA, the JAX Chamber’s economic development arm. Her appointment came as FPL, along with other potential buyers, including Duke Power and Emera, considered JEA’s invitation to bid on Jacksonville’s city-owned utility. Mayor Lenny Curry has said that selling JEA for at least $3 billion would allow the city to eliminate the city’s debt of about $2.2 billion. In September, the City Council passed a bill that would expand pension protections to JEA employees should the utility be sold or recapitalized. Under the bill, anyone employed by JEA at the time of the sale would become a vested member of the city’s employee pension plan. The bill would earmark $132 million in sale proceeds to cover the additional vesting costs, but it would not pay off JEA’s estimated $338-million unfunded pension liability.
Read more in Florida Trend's December issue.
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