Southwest Florida Roundup
Keith Overton and Paul Teutul Sr. plan motorcycle-themed restaurant in Pinellas Park
Keith Overton, a former president of the TradeWinds resort in St. Pete Beach, and Paul Teutul Sr., a motorcycle maker and co-star of the American Chopper reality television show, plan to open a motorcycle-themed restaurant in Pinellas Park. The Orange County Chopper Roadhouse & Museum will display motorcycles and other memorabilia from the television show, which started on the Discovery Channel in 2003, and items from Teutul’s Orange County Choppers motorcycle factory in Newburgh, N.Y. “This just makes sense,” Teutul told the Newburgh Times Herald-Record newspaper. “There’s more of a sense of freedom in Florida, more of a fan base, and you can ride for about nine months out of the year. There are also motorcycle events that take place all over Florida throughout the year.”
- The 2021 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, originally scheduled to be held in March, has been pushed back to April in hopes that the pandemic situation will improve, enabling more fans to attend. Last year’s race, which had been set for March, was held in October.
- Following several incidents of Tampa bars and restaurants flouting mask and social-distancing guidelines during New Year’s Eve celebrations, Mayor Jane Castor announced the city will seek to suspend or revoke the alcoholic beverage permits for businesses that are caught violating Tampa or Hillsborough County COVID-19 emergency orders more than once. “While the vast majority of our businesses and residents are acting responsibly,” Castor says, “we can’t allow a few bad actors to compromise and lengthen the recovery efforts for an entire community.”
- EHC, a construction company that provides pre-construction and infrastructure services, has moved its headquarters from Naples to Fort Myers. The new facility has more than 8,000 square feet of office space and a 6,000-sq.-ft. repair shop.
- OPSWAT, a cyber-security solutions provider, has moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa, bringing 100 jobs.
- Rigoberto “Rigo” Rincones Gómez has been hired as Hodges University’s senior vice president of business programs operations and institutional effectiveness. The job includes overseeing the university’s Johnson School of Business. Gómez was most recently an associate provost of academic affairs at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. Hodges has campuses in Lee and Collier counties.
- Gene Brown has been sworn in as Bradenton’s 22nd mayor, replacing former newspaper executive Wayne Poston, who did not seek re-election after serving as Bradenton’s mayor since 2000. Brown, who previously served three terms on Bradenton’s City Council, is vice president and COO of Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory.
- Coastal Orthopedics plans to build an 88,000-sq.-ft. headquarters and medical facility east of I-75 in Bradenton. Plans include a six-room surgery center, a physical therapy department and administrative offices.
- BRP Group, a Tampa-based insurance firm, has purchased the outstanding equity interests of Armfield, Harrison & Thomas, a Virginia-based brokerage and consulting firm that generates about $52.3 million a year in sales. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
- Iron Ridge Insurance Services has purchased Centennial Insurance Services. The merged company will remain in Fort Myers. Iron Ridge says the purchase will increase its business by 30%.
- North Port welcomed its first major hotel opening since 1973 — a 100-room, four-story Hampton Inn & Suites in the Tuscola Commons retail district. The Tampa Bay region recorded an average hotel occupancy rate of 51% between January and November 2020, the highest percentage in the nation during that period, according to STR, a hospitality research firm.
- Construction is underway on a 36-story, $117-million apartment/ hotel building in downtown St. Petersburg. Plans for Ascent St. Petersburg include 354 apartments, 172 hotel rooms and about 6,700 square feet of retail. The hotel portion is expected to be an AC Hotel by Marriott. Home sales in Southwest Florida increased an estimated 43% in November 2020 compared to November 2019, according to Florida Gulf Coast University’s Regional Economic Research Institute. Collier County led the way with a 66% increase, followed by Charlotte County, up 39%, and Lee County, up 36%. Home prices have risen, too, FGCU found. In Collier County, the median price for a single-family home went from $435,000 in November 2019 to $550,000 a year later.
- Developer Forestar Group plans to build Star Farms, a 700-acre section of Lakewood Ranch to include 1,500 homes, as well as retail and restaurant space.
- Polk County’s last Macy’s department store — in Winter Haven’s Citi Centre mall — has closed. The county also lost a JCPenney last October.
- Tampa-based electronics distributor Dow Electronics has purchased Arizona-based AV Warehouse, a distributor of audio-video equipment. Terms of the deal, which expands Dow’s territory to Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, were not disclosed.
- Passenger traffic at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers increased nearly 20% in November 2020 compared to the month before. The November percentage is down 43% from November 2019.
Read more in Florida Trend's March issue.
Select from the following options: