Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Money flow: Florida's Gulf counties finally see some money from BP's oil spill

Triumph gets its first $300-million oil spill installment.

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP agreed to pay the state $1.5 billion for economic damages to the eight counties most affected by the spill. In June, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that authorized the first payment — $300 million — to Triumph Gulf Coast, the non-profit organization that will decide how to distribute the money.

Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense, who steps down this month as chairman of Triumph, recently talked with Florida Trend about the impact the funds will have on northwest Florida’s economy.

The highlights:

  • Industry Focus: “My goal, and I know the Triumph board shares this with me, is to concentrate on manufacturing. Getting a Boeing here. And perhaps an automobile assembly plant. I also believe there’s a lot of potential to develop health care industries, along with integrated housing facilities for seniors like the Villages in central Florida.”
  • Spending Restrictions: “Let’s say Boeing wants to locate at Pensacola Airport, and let’s say they want to employ 3,000 people. What we can do is put infrastructure and roads in place, and we can spend millions of dollars training our workforce for aerospace jobs. What we can’t do is write Boeing a check for 10 million bucks and say, ‘Hey, we believe in you, come on.’ ”
  • Projects: “We’ve already received a letter from the mayor of Pensacola that lists $750 million in proposed projects. And I’m sure the airports in Fort Walton Beach and Panama City will submit applications. So I think the $300 million will be covered pretty quickly.”
  • The Money Flow: “There’s another $1.2 billion out there, and Triumph will get $100 million a year starting in 2019 and continue through 2033.”
  • Long-Term Impact: “If we’re really clever with that $1.5 billion, and couple it with local, state and federal money, I believe we can leverage that to a $6-billion impact. I can only imagine what great things we can do and the jobs we can create with those dollars.”

Business Briefs

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Franklin County commissioners imposed a six-month moratorium on all applications for construction permits within the business district on St. George Island. The moratorium will enable county staff to write rules governing the exterior appearance of new structures in the island’s commercial core.

GULF BREEZE — Publix purchased the Sea Shell Collections shopping center in Gulf Breeze for $18.6 million.

LYNN HAVEN — The Lynn Haven City Commission has instructed city staff to begin drafting an ordinance allowing marijuana dispensaries in the city. Mayor Margo Anderson says the commission acted in response to Lynn Haven residents who favor allowing dispensaries to operate under new state regulations. No dispensaries have yet approached the city about opening there, the mayor adds.

PENSACOLA — Mayor Ashton Hayward and executives of VT Mobile Aerospace have discussed doubling, from 400 to 800, the number of aviation maintenance jobs the company has committed to create under its current contract with the city. Mobile, Ala.-based VT MAE is scheduled in March to occupy a $52-million maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar under construction at Pensacola International Airport. Alabama real estate developer Nathan Cox’s company has purchased 174 acres near the sprawling Navy Federal Credit Union’s campus in the Beulah community. Cox said he envisions a subdivision, apartment complex, restaurants and a hotel. Two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson has made a $2.1-million donation to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart in Pensacola. Watson, a Pensacola area resident, says the money will help fund a major expansion of Sacred Heart’s children’s hospital.

TALLAHASSEE — The Collier Cos. has partnered with Apex One and Paravest Capital to acquire Avenue 29 Apartments, a 324-unit student housing complex on Sharer Road. In addition, Asset Campus Housing has added the Forum Tallahassee to its portfolio of managed properties. The Cascades Project won approval from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency to move forward with a development agreement and tax rebates for a major commercial redevelopment project in downtown Tallahassee. Capital City Consulting’s proposed $4.5-million office building at Adams and Duval streets is in its final design phase, with construction expected to be completed in summer 2019.

Innovation -- Firefighting Robot

Researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola are in the process of developing a robot to fight fires in buildings and aboard ships. IHMC’s robotics team is working with the Pensacola Fire Department to determine how its Atlas robot can best hold a fire hose and withstand the pressure exerted when it’s in use, says research associate John Carff.



See other stories from Florida Trend's December issue.

Get Florida Trend's December magazine – print or digital. Select from these options:


Access Article Now!


Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue



Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

plus $3 postage & handling


One year in PRINT

plus a FREE gift!


One year DIGITAL

plus a FREE gift!


One year Combo

plus a FREE gift!


If you are already a print subscriber,
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only