Northeast Florida Roundup
Lung transplant technology collaboration between Mayo Clinic Florida and United Therapeutics
Mayo Clinic Florida expects to have three ex-vivo lung perfusion systems installed and operating by the end of March. The systems keep lungs viable while physicians evaluate their suitability for transplantation.
Before the collaboration between Mayo Clinic and United Therapeutics, which developed the ex-vivo lung perfusion technology, physicians had just six hours to harvest and transport a lung to the transplant center. The technology extends that period to 22 hours.
In addition to extending the time a lung can remain viable outside the body, the process allows physicians to re-evaluate lungs that would have otherwise been discarded.
“Each year, around 400 people get removed or die on the lung transplant waiting list,” says Dr. Jorge Mallea, medical director for the facility. “With this technology, we’re going to reduce that number significantly, and the overall goal with this and other projects is to bring that number to zero.”
North Florida Land Trust, a non-profit that acquires and preserves environmentally sensitive property, has purchased Fish Island, a 57-acre property on the Intracoastal Waterway adjacent to a bridge onto Anastasia Island. The island is reportedly the site of the state’s first orange grove, planted by a settler named Jesse Fish who built a home on the land in the 1700s. At one time, there were approximately 3,000 orange trees on the island, and the citrus was exported to England and Spain. The island is covered today by a maritime hammock forest.
- Acreage Holdings has begun building the first marijuana grow facility in Northeast Florida. The 15.4-acre Sanderson Cultivation and Production Center in Baker County will be completed this summer and is expected to produce 25,000 marijuana plants. The facility will employ 80 to 100 workers in cultivation, extraction, maintenance and security.
- After 60 years of selling arts and crafts supplies in Jacksonville, Reddi-Arts closed in January. The building was sold to Chase Properties, a developer interested in putting two restaurants on the property.
- Christina Parrish Stone was named executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council, a non-profit agency that promotes the county’s arts and culture. Stone plans to spotlight overlooked areas of St. Johns County, including the agricultural communities west of I-95.
- Gainesville Regional Airport received a $12-million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that will help fund a 15,200-sq.-ft. terminal expansion, including two additional gates, a second food and beverage area, a lactation room and a prayer/reflection room.
- TV personality Marcus Lemonis (“The Profit”) took a more than 50% loss on a Jacksonville RV store. He purchased the business for $5.4 million in January 2018 and sold it in October to Travel Camp RV of Jacksonville for $2.65 million. Travel Camp RV operates properties in Ocala, Orange Park and Savannah, Ga., with plans to open a dealership in Fort Pierce in 2020.
- Joyce Development Group broke ground on its five-building, 16,700-sq.-ft. office and retail park in Jacksonville’s Baymeadows neighborhood. The park, scheduled to open in August, will include a Starbucks, First Watch and a 120-room SpringHill Suites Marriott.
- GatorWings, a group of UF engineering students and faculty, won a $2-million prize in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Spectrum Collaboration Challenge, a three-year competition in which teams competed to develop a wireless radio network that uses artificial intelligence. The university claimed the money, but the United Faculty of Florida is objecting. It filed a complaint with the state labor board, claiming UF made a change to its competition prize policy without going through the union’s collective bargaining process.
- Northeast Florida-based Mexican restaurant Cantina Louie plans to open locations in Daytona Beach, Palm Coast and Jacksonville this year, bringing its total number of restaurants to nine.
- A&M Boat Manufacturing plans to hire 100 workers at its new Chiefland location within three years. The company, which builds fiberglass pontoon boats, occupies the once-vacant Central Florida Electric Cooperative.
- Work has begun on the USS Nantucket, one of 14 littoral combat ships to be homeported at Naval Station Mayport. Lockheed Martin, which is building the ship in Wisconsin, expects to deliver it to Mayport by 2023.
- Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney is fighting to keep a grocery store in the Gateway Town Center after Publix decided to close its Brentwood area store. City officials worry the store closing will create a food desert in the area; the next closest grocery store is an 18-minute walk.
- Jacksonville-based Stein Mart has re-established a children’s department in its stores and opened fine jewelry departments in 51 stores and online. Stein Mart had reported a 4.9% drop in sales in the first six months of 2019.
- The annual Georgia-Florida rivalry game, an 80-year Jacksonville tradition, will continue through 2023, according to a newly signed extension agreement.
- Jacksonville startup TauruSeer earned one of 11 spots at Hartford InsurTech Hub, an accelerator program for startups in the insurance industry. The tech company, which specializes in cyber-security and risk management, beat out 350 other applicants from 57 countries with its pitch titled “The Shift from Cybersecurity to Digital Resilience: Why Insurance Companies are Paying Attention.”
- Jacksonville-based Web.com has acquired Dreamscape Networks for $105 million. Dreamscape has 600 employees and 2 million customers.
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