Southwest Florida Roundup
St. Petersburg has first ever NFT home sale
A 71-year-old Gulfport house has sold at auction in a very 21st-Century way — as a non-fungible token (NFT). The bidding started at $650,000 for the four-bedroom, 2½-bath, 2,164-sq.-ft. Pinellas County house. The winning bid, from an undisclosed buyer, came in at $654,310, or about 210 ethereum. The seller was Leslie Alessandra, a real estate investor who purchased the house in 2021 for $250,000. The auction was coordinated by California-based Propy, a real estate firm, which says the NFT house sale was the first of its kind in the United States. Next up, the company plans to auction a Tampa condominium as a NFT.
- Closed since May 2020 because of the pandemic, the Southwest Florida Event Center in Bonita Springs plans to reopen, but with audiences limited to 200 people. The 27,000-sq.-ft. venue was built with seating for 900.
- Hillsborough County commissioners extended a moratorium on new land rezoning applications for up to a year for the southeastern part of the county.
- Pasco County’s planning commission proposed a six-month moratorium on additional used car lots, which have proliferated along major roads, such as U.S. 19 and S.R. 54.
- Babcock Ranch, the solar-powered town in Lee and Charlotte counties, is getting its first apartment complex, the $91-million Canopy at Babcock Ranch. Indianapolis-based Milhaus is the developer. The project, to be built overlooking Lake Bullhorn, will have 373 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
- North Venice-based window and door maker PGT Innovations has partnered with Sarasota County Schools to teach manufacturing skills to high school students. Students spend two hours each school day at PGTI, including classroom training sessions at PGTI’s training center.
- Shriners Hospitals for Children has closed its pediatric clinic in Tampa. The facility, converted from a hospital to a clinic in 2019, had provided health care to Tampa Bay-area children since 1985.
- New Jersey-based Bayada Home Health Care will close its offices in Clearwater, Brandon, Port Richey and Brooksville and cut nearly 700 jobs. Most of the workers are home health aides.
- HCA Florida Healthcare plans to build a freestanding emergency room off U.S. 41 in Charlotte County near the Sarasota County line. The facility is expected to open in 2023.
- Two former mayors — Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman — have joined the Shumaker Advisors Florida lobbying firm. Both will focus on economic development issues. Polk County plans to build a $14.5-million training center for firefighters by 2024.
- The Gopher Resource lead factory faces more than $800,000 in federal and Hillsborough County fines for environmental violations. The violations, revealed in a 2021 Tampa Bay Times investigation, include a lack of exhaust hoods to capture fumes, hazardous-liquid leaks and high levels of lead-laced dust, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide in areas where employees worked.
- NBA player Kevin Knox II has donated $2 million to Tampa Catholic High School, where he played basketball and graduated in 2017.
- Amaryllis Park Place, an 84-unit senior housing complex, has opened in Sarasota. Half of the project’s apartments are reserved for tenants earning no more than 60% of the average median income. Other apartments have been reserved for tenants making less than 50% of the area's average median income.
- Pasco County online retail company NVGTN plans to build a 100,000-sq.-ft., $15-million headquarters in Pasco’s Trinity Corporate Center. The expansion includes 30 jobs and space for NVGTN’s customer service and fulfilment operations. The company sells athletic wear.
- The Skyway Marina Mall in south St. Petersburg will be torn down to make way for a 400-unit apartment complex called Marina Beach Apartments. Amazon plans to build a 517,220-sq.-ft. distribution center in Pasco County, near S.R. 52 and Bellamy Brothers Boulevard. The facility will employ 500 and feature a robotic sorting system.
- California-based Procore, a construction management software company, will open an office in Tampa, where it plans to hire more than 90 this year.
- Major League Baseball rejected a proposal by the Tampa Bay Rays to split its home games between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal. The Rays have expressed doubts that the Tampa Bay area alone can support an MLB team. Its lease at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field expires after the 2027 season, and it’s unclear where the team will play in 2028. One option includes a new stadium that could be incorporated into a proposed mixed-used development at the Tropicana Field site. Meanwhile, Tampa is evaluating a possible stadium site in Ybor City.
- IT provider Atlantic Digital says it will add 120 jobs at its Tampa headquarters within three years.
- Visit Tampa Bay, the tourism marketing group for Tampa and Hillsborough County, says area hotels reported record-high revenue of $758 million in 2021, a 7.1% increase over 2019, the previous record year.