Southwest Florida Roundup
Construction underway for 334 - St. Petersburg's tallest building
Construction is underway on a 24-story, 220-residential building in downtown St. Petersburg. Located at 334 Second St. S., the building will be named 334 (top right). Miami-based American Land Ventures paid $5.8 million for the site — a former garage and theater building — in 2018. The project joins two others planned nearby. Across the street on a site that had been a Masonic temple, developer Blake Whitney Thompson plans to raze the 70-year-old building and build a 20-story, 51-unit condominium (bottom right). Also, just a block away from that project, New York-based Red Apple Real Estate has proposed a 46-story, mixed-use project (left) along the 400 block of Central Avenue. When built, Red Apple’s residential, office and retail tower will become the tallest building in St. Petersburg.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens received approval from the city of Sarasota for its plan to improve the garden and its facilities. The work, which will cost $92 million, includes a new welcome center, a plant research facility and a building for a parking garage, a gift shop and a restaurant. Other improvements include a hurricane-resilient greenhouse complex, education space and restoration of the garden’s historic Payne Mansion.
- Pfizer plans to open a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility in Tampa that will house logistics, finance, human resources and digital operations. The company didn’t disclose the number of jobs it will move to Tampa.
- Florida Polytechnic University plans to hire 25 faculty in areas including artificial intelligence and machine learning, cyber-security, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering and physics. The initiative will boost the size of the Lakeland university’s faculty by 40%.
- Lakeland’s Southeastern University has appointed Meghan Griffin provost and chief academic officer. She had been associate provost of the private, liberal arts school.
- Moffitt Cancer Center has opened a satellite campus on the site of AdventHealth Wesley Chapel.
- Jet ICU, an air ambulance company, has relocated from the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to Tampa International Airport, where the company will spend $3 million to build a 30,000-sq.-ft. hangar. The company also plans to add 25 jobs to its existing 75 and to expand its fleet from six aircraft to nine.
- Tampa General Hospital hired Annmarie Chavarria as senior vice president and chief nursing officer. She had been senior vice president and chief nursing office at Abington Jefferson Health Philadelphia.
- The Certified Collectibles Group, which provides support services to the collectibles industry, bought a 21,000-sq.-ft. building in Lakewood Ranch for $4.7 million, bringing its total Southwest Florida footprint to 82,000 square feet. The company, which employs 330 in Sarasota and 400 overall, provides third-party authentication and grading services for a variety of collectibles, including coins, comic books, trading cards, stamps and posters.
- North Carolina-based Crescent Communities has started to lease apartments in Novel Midtown Tampa, a 390-unit apartment building with rents starting at $1,600.
- Home sales in Manatee and Sarasota counties increased 23.6% in January, compared to January 2020, according to the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
- Toll Brothers plans to build Solstice at Wellen Park with 270 homes near Venice. Toll Brothers also plans to build Aspen Trail, a community in Clearwater that’s planned for 33 homes.
- Estero-based Hertz filed for bankruptcy reorganization. The plan includes a $4.2-billion investment by Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Opportunities. Hertz hopes to restructure and emerge from bankruptcy by this summer. Construction of a Publix-anchored shopping center in Babcock Ranch is expected to be completed by summer.
- Shawn Routten is the new general manager and executive chef at Tampa’s Epicurean Hotel. Routten had been the hotel’s director of operations.
- Dow Electronics, a Tampa-based electronics and technology services distributor founded 60 years ago, has changed its name to Dow Technologies.
- Southwest Airlines has added non-stop flights to Chicago and Milwaukee from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The airline also has flights to Baltimore, Nashville and Pittsburgh from the Sarasota airport.
- The Charlotte County Airport Authority has created an interactive GIS map at PGDAviex.com that enables businesses to locate and research parcels for lease in the airport’s Interstate Airport Park.
- Hillsborough County’s voter-approved plan to fund transportation improvements, which took effect in 2019, has been struck down by the Florida Supreme Court. The court ruled that the plan was unconstitutional because it limited the county’s power to decide how the tax money could be spent. Now, the county has to decide what to do with the more than $500 million the tax raised. One option is giving it back to taxpayers.
- Passenger traffic at Southwest Florida International Airport was up 5.9% in January from a month earlier. However, January traffic was down 39.4% compared to a year earlier.
- The University of South Florida plans a full return to its campuses this fall.
- Tampa International Airport was named among the world’s most hygienic airports by Airports Council International, a nonprofit that advocates for the airport industry. Tampa International was one of 33 airports to receive the recognition — and one of just five in North America. Airport initiatives to combat COVID-19 include increasing efforts to clean the airport’s high-touch areas and, in conjunction with BayCare, creating COVID-19 testing sites for airport passengers and employees. More than 17,000 people have been tested at the airport so far.
- Publix will give its employees a $125 Publix gift card if they show proof that they have been inoculated against COVID-19.
Read more in Florida Trend's May issue.
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