December 7, 2019

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/27/2019

Holiday sales look better than expected, Florida retailers say

If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, you are in the minority according to Florida retailers. Scott Shalley, President of the Florida Retail Federation, said more than one of every two Floridians have already started their Christmas Shopping, and it's only going to get busier this weekend. “Projections are that about 75% of shoppers will shop this weekend. You’ve got small business Saturday on Saturday after Black Friday and then leading into cyber Monday,” said Shalley. [Source: WCTV]

See also:
» Holiday sales a big deal for small businesses in Orlando

Florida hotelier Harris Rosen keeps his giving close to home

Harris Rosen has a chain of eight hotels bearing his name in the Orlando area, but he makes most of his headlines these days for giving away his fortune. The 80-year-old entrepreneur of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, who grew up on the Lower East Side of New York, adopted the Tangelo Park neighborhood near his hotels and has paid for preschool programs and college for local students. [Source: Reuters]

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» Florida Icon: Harris Rosen
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Hurricane Dorian missed Florida but taught valuable lessons for future hurricane seasons

For Florida, the 2019 hurricane season will be remembered for a gigantic, nerve-racking scare over the Labor Day weekend. After back-to-back years of historic strikes on Florida that continue to require money and attention, the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season that ends Saturday were highly active. The 2019 season had 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida authorities bust organized retail theft scheme

Florida Department of Law Enforcement has dismantled an "elaborate" retail theft scheme spanning multiple states, including 23 counties in Florida, and totaling more than $300,000. Three of the suspects are from the Orlando area. They allegedly printed their own barcodes and placed them on more expensive items. More from WFTV and CBS Miami.

Florida Keys faces huge bill to survive sea rise. Will state help?

The initial bill for surviving sea rise in the coming decades has come due for the Florida Keys — and it’s far more than Monroe County can afford itself to keep the island chain dry. Just for starters, Monroe is asking the state for $150 million to raise roads, elevate homes and even move critical buildings to higher ground. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Four months after vote to bring Ultra back to downtown Miami, there’s still no contract
Ultra Music Festival is selling tickets for its scheduled return to Bayfront Park in March 2020, but organizers do not yet have a contract to stage the three-day concert on Miami’s downtown waterfront. Four months after Miami commissioners voted to allow the event to return to Bayfront Park, city administrators and Ultra’s organizers have not signed the licensing agreement that would allow the electronic dance music festival to use the public park.

› St. Petersburg picks plan for old police station
St. Petersburg on Tuesday chose a project to go atop the two-acre site in the Edge District where the old police headquarters currently sits along Central Avenue. The plans, from developer Edge Central Development Partners, will include 100,000 square feet of office space, 60 condos, 30 apartments available at what’s called the workforce level, 600 parking spaces and 22,000 square feet of ground-level restaurant and retail space.

› FPL to keep $772 million annual tax refund windfall
Florida Power & Light Co. gets to keep your tax refund. The Florida Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to accept voluntary dismissal of a consumer advocate’s challenge to Florida Power & Light’s use of a $772 million tax windfall for hurricane recovery costs. Instead of refunding taxes to customers, FPL indirectly used the tax savings to recover from 2017′s Hurricane Irma.

› Orlando housing: As Baby Boomers die, area may have too many excess homes
A “silver tsunami” is coming to Florida’s housing market as more Boomers pass away in the coming years with Orlando being one of the top areas impacted, according to a study by Zillow. Over the next 20 years more than a quarter of the nation’s currently owner-occupied homes will be on the market as owners pass on, the study showed.

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Demolition has begun at the former Albertsons in Bradenton
Demolition has begun at the former Albertsons in Bradenton

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