Job hunting help for exiting military coming from Florida veteran, business groups
Since 2014, the federal SkillBridge program has helped transitioning servicemembers get civilian work experience by allowing them to participate in industry training, apprenticeships or internships during their last 180 days of service. Through a new coalition and state legislation supporting this program, Florida veteran and business groups hope to better connect transitioning servicemembers with jobs in the state. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Gov. DeSantis pushes for job growth funding
As state lawmakers face a revenue shortfall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration says a request for $50 million for business incentives wouldn’t have that large of an impact on the upcoming budget. Adam Callaway, director of strategic business development at the Department of Economic Opportunity, said the request for the Job Growth Grant Fund program includes money carried over from the 2019-2020 fiscal year. That means only about half of the request involves new money. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Large corporations save millions through tax break meant to help Florida farmers
At the Drive Shack golfing center in Lake Nona, golf balls struck from the three-story driving range roll to a stop not far from a few small cows grazing on a patch of pastureland and palmetto scrub. Those cows saved a little more than $18,000 in taxes last year for the property’s owner: An affiliate of The Tavistock Group, the developer building Orlando’s fast-growing Lake Nona community. The Drive Shack cows are just one tiny piece of a much larger strategy that saved Tavistock about $10 million in property taxes last year — thanks to an agricultural tax break created 60 years ago to save Florida farmers from urban sprawl. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Nestlé selling Zephyrhills spring water, other bottled brands for $4.3 billion
Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water, a Pasco County brand that has pumped water from nearby Crystal Springs into bottles on store shelves throughout the Southeast, is being sold by parent company Nestlé as part of a $4.3 billion deal. Founded in 1964, the company grew a multi-billion-dollar business and sold in 1987 to Perrier, which was later acquired by Nestlé. The multinational conglomerate pushed to pump more water from the state’s aquifer, striking a deal with local landowners to run pipes into the Crystal Springs. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida professor warns against investments based on social media
The recent Gamestop mania may be over but there is a growing number of rookie investors relying on social media and meme stocks to get started investing. Dr. Matt Hurst, a finance professor at Stetson University, is warning against this type of investing because while it may be fun and fast at first, it is more like gambling than investing. "Looking back on this, Wall Street Bets went from a couple of hundred-thousand people following them to over six million," he explained. He is urging that while it may be enticing to invest based on social media memes about the next hot thing, do not do it. [Source: WOFL]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa company competes with Amazon to help online retailers deliver [Tampa Bay Times]
Rick Nelson’s 9-year-old Tampa-based company, The Fulfillment Lab, operates as a local competitor to companies such as Amazon by handling the personalized shipping of products sold online, both nationally and internationally. Say a retailer is trying to get a blanket to a customer who purchased it through their website. The retailer can use The Fulfillment Lab’s cloud-based software to check the blanket manufacturer’s inventory, which is stored in The Fulfillment Lab’s dozen or so warehouses in the U.S. and overseas. From the warehouse, a third-party carrier such as UPS, FedEx or DHL delivers the product to the customer.
› 30th Orlando Fringe Festival will look different, organizers say [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando Fringe’s 30th festival this May will have fewer venues and limited seating but still offer roughly 80 shows. One of the new COVID-19 precautions will make theatergoers feel like VIPs: Alcohol delivery service to tables across Loch Haven Park, where the annual festival takes place. Orlando Fringe is the nation’s longest-running Fringe Festival and an economic driver for the region.
› Key West’s famous Duval Street set to receive a makeover [Florida Insider]
Monroe County’s biggest tourist trap is set to receive a redesign fit for the future. Only this redesign will use the community’s public input and ideas to revitalize the iconic street in the country’s southernmost city. The company leading the rebuilding project of Duval Street, KCI Technologies, is expected to gather local community input within the coming weeks about the future of the Key West strip.
› Brightline and Tri-Rail may both roll in downtown Miami this year [Miami Today]
Brightline is targeting late 2021 to resume passenger trips at MiamiCentral station in downtown Miami, which by then could also host Tri-Rail. Since halting service in March just after the pandemic hit South Florida, high-speed Brightline has been recalibrating its rail systems and testing new technology. That includes adjusting its positive train control (PTC) system to welcome intercounty commuter line Tri-Rail onto its tracks.
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› $5.4 million Winter Park land sale breaks city record [Orlando Sentinel]
An empty lot in Winter Park sold for $5.4 million in January, the most expensive land sale in the city’s history. The 2.25-acre lakefront property at 570 Seminole Drive was originally listed in 2018 for $6.9 million. It last sold in 2007 for $3.75 million. A structure on the property was demolished some time after the last sale.
› Localtopia returns to St. Petersburg’s Williams Park [Tampa Bay Times]
A year ago, tens of thousands of people packed into downtown St. Petersburg to attend Localtopia, the massive “community celebration of all things local.” That’s sort of surreal in that the nation started to close down weeks later. Keep St. Petersburg Local has been producing the event since 2014. Localtopia 2020 was the pinnacle of the festival’s success, with more than 300 vendors and an estimated 30,000 people in attendance.
› Florida agri-business announces new co-CEO restructure [Fresh Plaza]
Cherrylake and IMG Citrus, who are both subsidiaries of IMG Enterprises, a 90-million-dollar Florida agri-business with diversified operations in citrus, ornamental landscape, ecosystem restoration, and real estate, announced the appointment of Melanie Ressler, Timothee Sallin, and Chloe Gentry as co-CEOs of the company. Michel Sallin, who is the co-founder of IMG Enterprises and previously sole CEO, will continue on the board of directors.
› Moishe Mana breaks ground on ‘Nikola Tesla Innovation Hub’ in Miami [Miami Herald]
Miami developer Moishe Mana has broken ground on what he is calling the Nikola Tesla Innovation Hub, part of his planned Flagler District downtown. The hub, a 13-floor 136,000 square foot office complex at 155 S. Miami Ave at Southeast 2nd Street, is slated to be completed at the end of 2021, with occupancy beginning in the first quarter of 2022.