Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

State grapples with physician shortage

With Florida’s population growing and an anticipated shortfall of nearly 18,000 physicians by 2035, a research arm of the Legislature is suggesting ways that lawmakers could increase retention of new doctors. Lawmakers heard that the issue could affect Floridians’ access to health care if current trends persist, as the supply of physicians could meet only 77 percent of the projected demand by 2035. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Real-estate developers chase outer space business in Florida

Developers are increasingly looking to niche industries as offices and some retail struggle, and as apartment-rent growth slows. Some property firms are building data centers to capitalize on the growth of artificial intelligence. Others  are turning to outer space. Rockets and spaceships are big and expensive, making it hard to transport them to launch sites by road or rail. They also require an army of suppliers. That creates demand for storage and manufacturing facilities close to launch sites. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

A Florida lottery winner has less than a week to claim a $44 million prize before they lose it

This summer, someone walked into a Central Florida gas station and purchased a winning Quick Pick lottery ticket. That person now has less than a week to claim their prize before they forfeit a whopping $44 million. The unclaimed ticket will expire Monday, December 11, unless the ticket holder comes forward, according to the Florida Lottery. [Source: WLFI]

Can you text while your self-driving car is doing the driving? What Florida law says

We all know that texting and driving in Florida is a no-no. We’re told to put down the phone and pay attention to the road. That pushing buttons on your phone and reading messages can be a deadly distraction. And it’s also the law. But texting while driving is legal in certain circumstances. And one of those exceptions is your self-driving car. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida court’s redistricting decision muddies waters for 2024 election

A new Black congressional district in North Florida in 2024 is looking less likely after a state appeals court sided with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ redistricting maps, whether or not the state Supreme Court ever hears the case, experts said Monday. “I think there’s now so much dirt up in the air that this is going to slow things down,” said Matt Isbell, a Democratic elections analyst. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Mayor Donna Deegan says pay raise for Jacksonville Housing Authority CEO should wait
Mayor Donna Deegan's office intervened to put the brakes on the Jacksonville Housing Authority board giving a pay raise to the agency's top executive while Deegan takes a closer look at how the authority is fighting the affordable housing crisis. The upshot is that at least for now, CEO Dwayne Alexander is working without a contract because his previous multi-year contract expired in September.

› Facing construction delay, USF releases new on-campus stadium renderings
The University of South Florida has given a first look at its on-campus football stadium, which is expected to open a year later than original estimates. University leaders presented conceptual renderings during Tuesday's board of trustees meeting, including a plan for an east-west stadium orientation — a deviation from most other schools.

› South Florida man lost vodka business to Ukraine war — now he’s rebuilding it right here
A South Florida businessman is rebuilding his award-winning vodka business that was lost in the Russia-Ukraine war, and he’s doing it in Miami. Dave Katz said he had to start over, now crafting an American-made vodka that will be distilled locally. “We will have distillers and bartenders,” he said. “This is a manufacturing facility which whatever we produce here will be sold around the world.” Historically, craft distilleries are rare for Miami.

› Orange County’s October TDT figures worse than same time last year
Tourist-tax collections fell slightly in October, compared to the same month in 2022, continuing a downward trend that began in April. The year-over-year drop was the sixth month in the past seven that revenues fell short of collections from the previous year, said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond, who tracks receipts from the assessment also known as the Tourist Development Tax or TDT for short. Before this, TDT collections broke records as travel rebounded after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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› Landstar System President and CEO James Gattoni retiring Feb. 1
Landstar System Inc. said Dec. 4 that James Gattoni will retire as CEO next year, with former CSX Corp. executive Frank Lonegro succeeding him. The Jacksonville-based trucking company said Gattoni will retire as president and chief executive officer Feb. 1 with Lonegro taking over those roles the next day. Gattoni has been with Landstar since 1995 and became CEO at the end of 2014.

› Orlando Magic's downtown development may make room for future phases
The Orlando Magic's proposed Sports + Entertainment District may feature space to grow in size from its initial phase. Documents submitted to the city by the project team include up to 508 additional apartments beyond what already has been proposed by the team. San Francisco-based JMA Ventures LLC and Houston-based Machete Group are working with the Magic's SED Development LLC on what will be a 900,000-square-foot, mixed-use project.

› Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival starts Thursday — and you can still get tickets!
For the first time in its history, the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, the county’s biggest culinary feast, will expand south into Boca Raton when it returns Dec. 7-10. Tickets are still available for the 16th annual celebrity-studded smorgasbord, which includes a Festival Kick-Off Party at The Boca Raton boutique resort on Dec. 8, helmed by acclaimed local chefs Lindsay Autry (The Regional in West Palm Beach), Valerie Chang (Itamae in Miami) and Clay Conley (Buccan in Palm Beach), among others.

› Aerovanti CEO faces $30M federal judgment for health care businesses
Prosecutors in Maryland have asked a federal judge to approve a $30 million default judgment against Patrick Britton-Harr, the on-and-off and, as of Oct. 31, back on again CEO of troubled Sarasota-based private air service firm Aerovanti. The federal prosecutors filed a motion last week asking U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander to order Britton-Harr and multiple health care-related entities he founded and/or controls to be punished after repeatedly ignoring the case and failing to comply with court orders.