Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Friday's Daily Pulse

Despite jobs and tax revenue, some Florida cities are pushing back against Amazon

Not everyone is laying out the welcome mat for Amazon, the giant e-commerce retailer that has built 85 customer fulfillment and delivery operations in Florida, with two dozen more projects either under construction or planned. Often, Amazon has received economic incentives from cities, a reward for building a mega-facility that will create thousands of jobs and add millions to the tax rolls. But that is not always been the case, and sometimes Amazon is the one offering incentives. More from the Florida Times-Union and the Gainesville Sun.

Warmer, drier than average winter predicted for Florida

Florida is looking at a warmer and drier than average winter season according to outlooks from NOAA. This follows a trend of higher-than-average temperatures in the last month and a drought persisting on the Panhandle due to low precipitation rates. Hurricane Nicole helped alleviate dry conditions mostly across Central and North Central Florida. [Source: WLRN]

Judge stops enforcement of ‘Stop WOKE Act’ at Florida colleges, universities

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Florida to stop enforcing its new “Stop WOKE Act” at the state’s public colleges and universities. The ruling came in two lawsuits — one filed by a University of South Florida student and professor and another by a Florida A&M professor — both alleging that the law illegally prevents frank discussions about the nation’s racial history in classrooms. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Flu hospitalizations spiking in Florida, Southeastern U.S.

Flu hospitalizations are the highest they have been in 10 years, and the Southeast U.S. is being hit particularly hard with more than 2,000 patients hospitalized. The influenza A H3N2 strain appears to be the most common in the southeastern states. Among the states being hit hardest by flu is Florida and it’s being hit earlier than usual. [Source: News4Jax]

Boat storage in South Florida lacking as developers scoop up land

Members of South Florida's boating community claim there is a serious lack of boat storage as developers are eager to buy open land. Boat sales drastically increased during the pandemic and that's a big part of the problem. From the insurance hikes back to the lack of storage, South Florida boat owners are just hoping things will turn around sooner rather than later. [Source: WPTV]


› American Airlines is hiring 700 people in South Florida next year
American Airlines is expanding its South Florida workforce starting with 700 open positions in the customer service and reservations departments. There are 600 spots open for reservation representatives, which are remote positions that require applicants live within a 75-mile radius of Miami International Airport. Starting pay is $13.05 an hour, with annual raises and opportunities for bonuses. The other 100 new jobs will be in-person customer service representatives at MIA.

› Tampa Museum of Art gets a Botero sculpture and $1 million
The Tampa Museum of Art has been gifted a sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero and $1 million by collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez. The sculpture, “Mujer Vestida” (Dressed Woman) has been in Tampa for a while. It was perched on Bayshore Boulevard at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, which was developed by Miami-based company the Related Group.

› ‘Exhausted’ after COVID: Central Florida restaurant CEOs call it quits
After 14 years leading Orlando-based Red Lobster, Kim Lopdrup said he was “exhausted” after getting the seafood chain through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. Lopdrup’s retirement last August was just one in a wave of top executive departures at Central Florida and national restaurant companies over the last year and a half.

› Could San Marco flooding be fixed by 2024? $20 million boost from state will help.
San Marco is known for its historic homes, eclectic shopping and dining, riverfront views and street flooding. The part about flooding is something residents and business owners would like to put behind them. The city has been working for years on a big-ticket project that will build a new pump station on LaSalle Street and overhaul the surrounding drainage system.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Tri-Rail service to downtown Miami clears a barrier
Plans for Tri-Rail’s long-delayed arrival to serve downtown Miami have advanced with a three-way agreement for Tri-Rail’s team to start training and testing to get service rolling. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), which controls Tri-Rail, has “received a signed Tri-Party Agreement, with Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway and Brightline, that gives permission for SFRTA personnel to begin training and testing for the implementation of Tri-Rail services at Miami Central Station,” Frank Garcia, SFRTA information officer, said in a Monday news release.

› Local nonprofit is developing a building model to help stem Brevard homelessness
As the affordable housing crisis continues with no clear end in sight, one local nonprofit is proposing an approach that will hopefully address the issue or, at the very least, mitigate it. Community of Hope is developing a land trust model to help Brevard residents pay less to rent or buy a home. It does this by removing the cost of the land from the bill of sale, leaving only the expenses of building homes as the main hurdle for people needing an affordable place to live.

› Disney Cruise Line to buy unfinished ship that will become largest in fleet
One cruise line’s loss is Mickey Mouse’s gain. Disney Cruise Line has announced it will acquire the unfinished Global Dream cruise ship under construction in Germany. The 208,000-gross-ton ship was being built for Genting Hong Kong, which ran Dream Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises as well as the Lloyd Werft and MV Werften shipyards. That holding group, though, filed for bankruptcy in January, and a court ordered the sale of its assets including the Global Dream.

› Venerable St. Pete advertising agency promotes chief strategy officer to president
St. Petersburg-based Paradise Advertising & Marketing Inc., celebrating 20 years in business this year, has promoted Chief Strategy Officer Rudy Webb to the role of president. According to a news release, Webb has been with the firm, which specializes in tourism and hospitality marketing, for 14 years, starting as an account manager. He was promoted to vice president of client services before becoming chief strategy officer.