Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Has South Florida tourism peaked? Key indicators dip in 2019
With the Super Bowl in town, the hospitality industry is awash in visitors and cash this week. But when business gets back to normal after the big game, will the boom continue? Local tourism leaders are eyeing a host of factors — including an inevitable cooling after years of growth, combined with competition from Caribbean resorts reopening after damaging hurricanes, new hotel rooms locally and more private homes offered for short-term rentals through Airbnb, VRBO or HomeAway. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida VC funding hit $2.9 billion in 2019
Florida-based companies raised approximately $2.9 billion from 261 venture capital deals in 2019, according a report from the Florida Venture Forum, a statewide group that connects venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. That’s about nearly 60% more than in 2018, when Florida companies closed 276 deals worth $1.8 billion, and 564% growth since 2006, according to data from PitchBook, a Seattle organization that monitors venture capital activity across the nation. More from Florida Trend.
Firm behind renovation of Miami Beach Convention Center sues city ahead of Super Bowl
Just as Miami Beach welcomes crowds of NFL fans to its signature convention center ahead of the Super Bowl, the construction firm behind its $620 million renovation is using the building’s time in the limelight to draw attention to claims that the city owes more than $70 million in outstanding fees. More from the Miami Herald.
In a theme park town, bank names dominate downtown Orlando’s skyline
Driving through Orlando on Interstate 4 might leave the impression that the city’s major industry is banking – if Mickey Mouse didn’t have such a vice-like grip on that distinction. While Disney dominates, the skyline shows that banks also are an economic force and value their name in lights, as some of the biggest buildings downtown have logos beaming from their façade. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
DeSoto Square Mall reaches foreclosure agreement
The DeSoto Square Mall has been granted a chance to get into better financial standing with its mortgage lender under the terms of an agreement finalized in the Manatee County courthouse on Thursday. Plaintiff Romspen US Master Mortgage LP and defendant DeSoto Owners LLC reached a settlement agreement on Thursday in the minutes leading up to a scheduled 1:30 p.m. foreclosure trial. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Out of the Box
Showbiz apes find peace through painting in Florida retirement
One of them worked alongside Clint Eastwood, others acted in the remake of sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes, while yet another was the darling favorite of Michael Jackson. They are the 53 chimpanzees and orangutans who live in a unique sanctuary in central Florida. All of these great apes were raised by humans and lack the basic survival skills to ever live in the wild. They do not know how to gather food, and the mothers would be incapable of caring for their offspring.
» More from the AFP.
Investors continue to throw support to InformedDNA, a St. Petersburg tech firm that provides genetic test analysis services to health insurers. A key point came in 2013 when it changed its target market from individual end users to insurance companies, which face rising demand for services related to precision medicine, which tailors treatment plans based on a person’s unique gene code.
» Read more from the Business Observer.
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