Florida orange production up, cost of OJ below other food prices despite inflation
There’s a silver lining to some of the hardship Florida citrus producers have faced over the past several years. Their projected crop production is an estimated 2 million box increase from the previous month, the cost for consumers to purchase Florida orange juice is lower than other food despite inflation, and their congressional delegation is advancing a bill to reform FDA standards to help growers. Florida’s orange production is expected to surpass more than 40 million boxes in the 2021-2022 season, according to a USDA May production forecast, an increase of 2 million boxes from its April forecast. [Source: The Center Square]
Critics blast state inaction as Florida home insurance rates soar
Florida hasn’t seen a major hurricane make landfall in four years, yet a record number of property insurance companies have gone under and premiums for millions of homeowners are soaring, even after regulators approved repeated requests to raise rates and dump thousands of policyholders. Some critics argue at least some of the blame falls on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which they say is not doing its job. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Central Florida's post-pandemic office market sees increase in activity
Two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs of growing confidence in Central Florida’s commercial real estate market as businesses continue to bring employees back to the office and resume more normal operations. While there remains a record amount of available office space on the market, asking rates in Orlando are up 4.5% over the previous year and rents (ranging from $25 to $27 per square foot) are the highest in the city’s history [Source: Florida Trend]
In Florida, donations to pay for abortions surge after Roe v. Wade falls
From bake sales and benefit concerts, to haircuts and charity kickball games, people around the state are getting creative in their efforts to support organizations that help women pay for abortions. While some funds around the country have paused or ceased collecting donations as they navigate legal hurdles that have arisen as a result of the Roe ruling, in Florida, abortion is still legal. Organizations that help women access such care are preparing to ramp up activity. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Gulf Coast city among nation's friendliest to food trucks
With indoor dining not available or extremely limited at brick-and-mortar restaurants during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, food trucks became hot commodities, soaring in popularity across the country — including Tampa. According to a new data analysis from Clever, a real estate research firm, the food truck industry is now valued at $1.2 billion, and many cities — but not all — are embracing them. Citing statistics from Roaming Hunger, Walk Score, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Yelp, Google Trends and Avalara, Clever found that Tampa ranks 10th in the country on its food-truck-friendliness scale, behind San Jose, California, but ahead of San Antonio, Texas. [Source: Business Observer]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Sarasota company moves from public to private in $2.6B deal [Business Observer]
One of largest publicly traded companies in the Sarasota-Bradenton region, Intertape Polymer Group, is going private in a $2.6 billion deal. Intertape Polymer Group, which has a dual headquarters in Sarasota and Montreal, will delist from the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly, according to a statement. Additionally, it’s in the process of deregistering the company shares from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Exchange Act.
› Disney unwraps Epcot Food & Wine Fest menu, which comes with fries [Orlando Sentinel]
Would you like fries with that? Walt Disney World is adding a french fries kiosk to the 2022 edition of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which begins in mid-July. The Fry Basket will be one of 25 marketplaces for the festival, Disney announced in a menu preview on the official Disney Parks Blog. It will be located near the theme park’s Test Track attraction.
› Look out, Pasco: Here come giant African land snails [Tampa Bay Times]
A gardener in Pasco County recently found a giant African land snail — or what Florida officials call “one of the most damaging snails in the world.” The giant African land snail gobbles up plants and can carry a parasite known to give people meningitis, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The state last week confirmed the sighting.
› Arrival of Tri-Rail in downtown Miami stalled, leader spreads blame [Miami Today]
Arrival of Tri-Rail in downtown Miami remains delayed from a previously announced November date as the South Florida Regional Authority (SFRTA), Brightline and FEC Railway seek agreement on the need for a new dispatch desk and begin training staff to run the trains. Steven Abrams, executive director of SFRTA, said FEC Railway, which owns the tracks, is requiring an entire new dispatch desk, which is more sophisticated but also adds to costs.
Are you struggling to find employees with the right skills? Florida’s best hope to build a resilient economy is to cultivate a well-educated workforce — one that is talent strong! That includes removing the barriers that hold back lower-income Floridians and people of color. Visit Florida College Access Network’s Talent Strong Florida page to learn more.
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› New Disney Wish cruise ship sets sail in Florida [FOX 11]
Disney’s new cruise ship, the Disney Wish, will soon take its inaugural passengers from Florida to the Bahamas on its first maiden voyage. The Wish arrived at Port Canaveral ,where it will be based, last month. The ship will feature a variety of attractions, entertainment and activities including the AquaMouse, an adults-only Star Wars lounge and a Marvel-themed interactive dining experience.
› Shipley Do-Nuts comes to Orlando, with 5 shops to start [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando is getting another doughnut chain. Shipley Do-Nuts, which started in 1936, is expected to open at 5919 S. Orange Blossom Trail late this year, according to a news release. The Houston-based chain signed a franchise agreement with MLD Hospitality LLC to start with five shops in Orange County, with the possibility of dozens more rolling out in Orlando down the road.
› Storied Miami auto dealer network shifts to a new owner, larger national company in Oregon [Miami Herald]
Bill Lehman Jr. parked his family’s Lehman Dealership Enterprises in the hands of a national firm based in Oregon, dropping off the Miami business his father, a former U.S. congressman, started 86 years ago. The 81-year-old Lehman and his family sold their automobile sales business for an undisclosed amount to the publicly traded Lithia Motors & Driveway, culminating seven months of negotiations, Lehman said in an interview this week.
› More waste to be disposed of underground in Manatee County because of Piney Point [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
More waste created in the effort to clean up the former Piney Point fertilizer plant will be disposed of underground in Manatee County. The county has applied for a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to inject brine created during the production of chlorine underground through the Buffalo Creek municipal well.