Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Canada border changes could help Florida tourism

State economists expressed optimism Tuesday that already-rebounding tourism numbers will see a quicker-than-anticipated boost from international travelers as Canada eases COVID-19 border restrictions. While decisions remain from the White House about Canadian travelers entering the United States, members of Florida’s Economic Estimating Conference said Tuesday they anticipate changes will be made to make it more convenient for people traveling south of the U.S.-Canada border. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida ranks fourth-best state to start a business

Florida’s business environment, access to resources and business costs landed it at No. 4 in a ranking of best states for starting a business. About 20% of all startups typically don’t survive past the first year, and nearly 50% never make it five years, according to the WalletHub study, referencing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal]

Disney will get millions in tax refunds after property appraiser settles languishing cases

The Walt Disney Co. will get millions in refunds from state and local taxing authorities after settling a 2015 legal dispute with the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office over the fair market value of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and a dozen other Disney theme park properties. The settlement was reached through mediation, ending a court battle that began about five years ago. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Hedge fund’s deal may run afoul of Florida law on owning medical marijuana licenses

Florida has a law to prevent the medical marijuana business from being dominated by a few wealthy players. According to that law, anyone who owns more than 5% of a company licensed to sell medical marijuana may not buy any part of any other medical marijuana company in the state. Regulators at the Florida Department of Health — which oversees the state’s medical marijuana program — are now mulling approval of a potential sale that some fear could violate that law. [Source: Miami Herald]

Citizens grows to 638,000 policies as property insurance concerns grow

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. had topped 638,000 policies as of the end of June as the state-backed insurer continues to add thousands of policies a week amid growing concerns about the health of Florida’s property insurance market. Citizens had 638,263 policies as of June 30, up from 609,805 on May 31, according to information that the organization posted on its website. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Recycling has gone to waste in Broward County, but changes may be coming
Douglas Seaton has been separating his recyclables from garbage for no reason. Clean plastic apple juice bottles go into one bin, food scraps into another. But then the Davie man watched the garbage truck toss them all together as if it was nothing but ... trash. Davie ended its traditional recycling program last month, although the city says the change could be temporary; A new garbage and recycling pipeline is in the works — and taxpayers could start paying for the first stages of the planning as early as October.

› Florida Keys officials ready for 2-day lobster mini season
Sheriff's officials in the Florida Keys advise anyone participating in next week's two-day lobster mini season to be aware of state and local ordinances. The season kicks off July 28 and wraps up the next day. "We enjoy all the visitors here in the Keys during lobster mini season," Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a news release. "But we want to make sure everyone is aware of the law, and is behaving in a responsible, and safe, manner."

› Tampa’s Sunset Music Festival generated $16 million in spending: report
Tampa’s first major concert festival of the coronavirus pandemic brought millions in spending and revenue to the area, according to an economic impact study conducted by event organizers This year’s Sunset Music Festival, held May 29 and 30 at Raymond James Stadium, sold 32,231 tickets and likely generated more than 9,000 hotel stays, yielding what the festival pegged at $16 million in direct economic impact.

› Demand rose sharply for South Florida warehouse space this year. Here’s why
Warehouse leases are up by 37% year-over-year, thanks to the strength of the South Florida economy and the popularity of remote work. The number of new warehouse leases and renewals grew from a total of 867 deals in the first six months of 2020 to 1,186 transactions a year later for Miami-Dade County, Broward and Palm Beach, according to Newmark’s latest South Florida industrial market report.

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› UF/IFAS awarded 1st Ph.D. plant breeding program in Florida, one of few in USA
Working in labs and fields across Florida, a new generation of students will start earning a Ph.D. in plant breeding from the University of Florida – the first program of its kind in Florida and one of a few in the nation. The UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has received approval from the Florida Board of Governors to start the program. Seven students are in the first cohort to begin in August.

› Lawsuit over odors from Westside Jacksonville chemical plant dismissed with no findings
A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit by Murray Hill homeowners who argued “noxious odors” from a Westside Jacksonville chemical plant were keeping them from enjoying their houses and wrecking their property values. U.S. District Judge Brian Davis didn’t rule on the residents’ case against IFF Chemical Holdings Inc., which residents tried to turn into a class-action suit on behalf of thousands of people downwind from the factory.

› Central Florida tourism leaders see high hopes, challenges in post-pandemic
Tourism is coming back toward the level it was in Central Florida — but it won’t be the way it was. With demand for hotel rooms, convention space, and tourism reaching peak levels already in the summer of 2021, Central Florida’s tourism industry — the heart of Florida’s tourism industry — is challenged with finding labor and adjusting to some of the other post-pandemic changes in the economy.

› $22.8M landscaping firm moves up in Top 150 list
ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design, based in Venice, has moved up in Landscape Management magazine’s Top 150 list. The list highlights the highest, revenue-generating landscape firms in the country. ArtisTree went from 120 to 110 on the list with $22.8 million in revenue for 2020. The 31-year-old company is the only independently owned company in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties to make the list, according to a press release.