November 29, 2021
ATS SW Aug 2021
Selby President and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki says the changes will protect the garden's collections.

Photo: Mike Lang/USA Today Network

ATS SW Aug 2021
The financial picture for Chico's women's clothing chain is improving post-pandemic with the company reporting a net loss of $8.9 million in the first quarter of 2021, compared to a loss of $178.3 million in the first quarter of 2020.
ATS SW Aug 2021
Miami Marlins co-owner Derek Jeter has sold his Davis Islands home for $22.5 million.

Photo: Peter Masa/Tampa Bay Times

Southwest Florida Roundup

Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens begins its expansion

Art Levy | 7/30/2021

SPOTLIGHT

Blossoming

Marie Selby begins its expansion.

At times, the relationship between Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and its surrounding neighborhood has been contentious, with the gardens seeking to redevelop and add amenities as neighbors sought to minimize noise and traffic.

A compromise has put an end to four years of wrangling, and Selby has begun building the first phase of its $92-million master plan, which includes a 450-space parking garage, a welcome center, a restaurant, a research library, a laboratory, a greenhouse and stormwater system improvements. Also included are safeguards to protect the garden’s plant collections and research facilities from tropical storms and rising waters from Sarasota Bay.

“These improvements will move our scientific and living collections out of harm’s way and into secure structures, using the latest green building technology,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, Selby’s president and CEO. “We are proud that this plan upholds our past and also ensures Selby Gardens’ future.”

Phase one, to cost an estimated $42.5 million, includes the parking garage, which had been a point of contention between the garden and the neighborhood. To get the plan approved, Selby lowered the garage’s height and moved a planned restaurant from the deck’s top floor to the ground floor. The first phase also includes the new welcome center, a plant research center and a 50,000-sq.- ft. solar array that Selby says will make it “the world’s first net-positive botanical garden complex.”

Fundraising has been brisk, with more than $40.1 million raised so far to pay for phase one.

ARTS

  • Nearly 20 murals are planned for Lakeland’s downtown and Dixieland neighborhoods as part of a $500,000 program from the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency.

RETAIL

  • Clearwater-based Pure Air Control Services won a three-year, $30-million contract to sell air purification devices, consulting services and remediation services to members of the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance.

CONSULTING

  • WWC Global, a Tampa consulting firm, has won an $82-million federal contract to provide the U.S. Agency for International Development with institutional support in multiple areas, including management, communications and recruiting.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Construction is underway on a 740-acre industrial park in Polk County. Called Lakeland Central Park, the project, located near I-4 and the Polk Parkway, is being developed by Orlando’s Parkway Property Investments.
  • Collier County commissioners approved a 1,000-acre village by Collier Enterprises to be called Longwater on what’s now rural land in the eastern part of the county. Another 1,000-acre village nearby, to be called Bellmar by the same developer, was also approved.

EDUCATION

  • The University of South Florida has hired Anthony Rolle, a former USF professor and department chair, to be dean of USF’s College of Education. Rolle was most recently dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Education and Professional Studies.
  • Saint Leo University in Pasco County is now offering an undergraduate degree in veteran studies, the first such degree in the nation, according to the school.
  • Former Speaker of the Florida House Will Weatherford has been elected chair of the University of South Florida’s board of trustees.

GOVERNMENT

  • In a spat over ease of beach access, Manatee County commissioners are withholding nearly $283,000 in tourism tax dollars from the city of Holmes Beach in response to the beach city’s decision to restrict on-street parking for visitors in residential neighborhoods. The money would have reimbursed Holmes Beach for an erosion-control project along Marina Drive.

HEALTH CARE

  • Bayfront Health St. Petersburg plans to build a 42,000-sq.-ft. medical pavilion in west St. Petersburg, about seven miles from Bayfront’s 480-bed hospital near downtown. The three-story project will include a 14,000-sq.- ft. emergency department and office space.

TOURISM

  • The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau reported 159,000 visitors to the region in April, a 9% boost over April 2019, an indication that tourism has rebounded past pre-pandemic levels. Another indicator: 275,700 room nights were booked in April, up 917% from April 2020 and 24% from April 2019.

TRANSPORTATION

  • In a deal with Dole Fresh Fruit, Port Tampa Bay has started weekly imports of pineapples and bananas from Central America.
  • Lufthansa plans to start weekly non-stop service between Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. The flights begin next March.
  • Steven Hennigan has been hired as deputy executive director of aviation and COO of the Lee County Port Authority. He’ll oversee the authority’s aviation division, including more than 300 employees at Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field.

 

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