Southwest Florida Roundup
Scripps Safe plans to boost its workforce and is exploring a move to go public
Scripps Safe, a Naples company that provides security for narcotics storage, transportation and dispensing, plans to boost its workforce from six to 40 this year and is exploring a move to go public. The company makes safes, vaults, smart locks, inventory tracking software and also offers consulting services for the health care industry.
“The objective is to protect the chain of custody and prevent diversion, theft and abuse,” says Jacqueline Anz-von the firm’s president and CEO.
In March, Scripps Safe was awarded a patent for its latest version of cloud software that tracks pharmaceutical inventory. Last year, the company won an innovation award at the 2021 EMS World Expo.
The Saddlebrook Resort, owned by Thomas L. Dempsey since 1988, has been sold for an undisclosed price to Mast Capital, a Miami real estate investment and development firm. The 480- acre resort in Wesley Chapel includes more than 500 condo/hotel units, two 18- hole golf courses, 45 tennis courts and a tennis academy. Jordan Kornberg (below), Mast Capital’s managing director, says Mast plans “a significant investment to renovate the resort.” The purchase is Mast’s second in Wesley Chapel since November 2021, when it bought 16 acres to develop a 248-unit apartment complex.
Tampa attorney Rhea Law has become the University of South Florida’s eighth president, shedding the interim title she held for seven months following the July 2021 resignation of Steve Currall. Law is a USF alumna and a former chair of the national law firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney’s Florida offices.
- The Bank of Tampa has opened a branch in Lakewood Ranch, giving it a total of 15 locations.
- Sara Beth Wyatt has been appointed president and CEO of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce. She replaces Katie Worthington Decker, who stepped down in January to become senior vice president of the Lakeland Economic Development Council. Wyatt is also a member of the Polk County School Board.
- USF is considering a 27-acre site on its Tampa campus for a new football stadium. The USF Bulls currently play home games at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, where USF’s lease runs through the 2027 season.
- Tampa General Hospital, BayCare Health System’s St. Joseph’s Hospital-North and AdventHealth Carrollwood Hospital will share $16.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for projects including a 28-bed COVID-19 unit at Tampa General and a 24-bed psychiatric unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North. Also, AdventHealth Carrollwood Hospital will add 25 beds to its COVID-19 treatment facilities.
- The Cape Coral City Council has imposed an annual tax on vacation rental properties amounting to $5.50 for every rented bedroom. The city, home to an estimated 5,000 vacation rental properties, says the tax will help it to keep better track of which homes are being used as vacation rental properties and ensure the properties comply with city codes.
- With its employees working out of rented space since 2019, Clearwater has set aside $30 million for a new city hall. The city vacated its former city hall building three years ago to make way for downtown redevelopment.
- Tampa insurance company startup Slide has acquired about 150,000 insurance policies, worth $400 million, from Orlando-based St. Johns Insurance, after St. Johns’ A rating was pulled by ratings agency Demotech.
- Tampa Bay area marketing firms Big Sea and Sparxoo have merged, creating a company called Big Sea with 42 employees and $6 million in annual revenue.
- TrendyMinds, an Indiana digital marketing firm, plans to open an office in St. Petersburg and hire 100. The company focuses on the health care, pharmaceutical and technology industries.
- Construction is underway on 54 Crossings, an office park featuring a pair of 60,000-sq.-ft. office buildings near the Suncoast Parkway in Pasco County.
- The first phase of the Suncoast Parkway’s Citrus County extension, stretching from U.S. 98 north to S.R. 44 in Crystal River and costing $135 million, has opened.
- Estero-based Hertz is investing $19 million in UFODrive, a self-service electric car rental company based in Luxembourg. Hertz, which last year ordered 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla, plans to incorporate UFODrive’s app-driven rental technology into its own operations.
- After a two-year hiatus spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Edelweiss Air has resumed flights between Tampa and Zurich. Before the pause, the Swiss airline shuttled 30,376 passengers between the cities in 2019.
- Allegiant has instituted twice-weekly flights between Punta Gorda Airport and Akron-Canton Airport. The Punta Gorda Airport, meanwhile, reported that its 2021 operating revenue was $15.6 million, a 17.3% increase over 2020.
- A proposed privately operated ferry that would shuttle passengers between south Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base won a $4.9-million U.S. Department of Transportation grant, allowing backers to buy a 350-seat passenger boat. Plans call for the ferry to start operation in 2025.
- Manatee County’s Port Manatee has rebranded itself as SeaPort Manatee.
- Zillow is cutting nearly 40 jobs at its Tampa office as part of the Seattle-based real estate company’s elimination of its Zillow Offers home-buying/selling program.
- Exercise-cycle company Peloton Interactive has cut 58 jobs at its Lakeland facility.