Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Central Florida, Space Coast Business Briefs - Jan. 2009

Melbourne — Harris Corp. (NYSE-HRS) plans to sell secure software to the U.S. government under an agreement with computer security company McAfee.


Lake County— The county’s Public Works Department has posted 5,000 digital maps online at lakecountyfl.gov, keyword: maps. Included are “tax maps,” which provide details of property appraisal assessments; right-of-way maintenance maps; and historic aerials dating to 1941.


Orange County— The county and the St. Johns River Water Management District have agreed to purchase 710 undeveloped acres of the Rybolt Ranch, east of the University of Central Florida, to preserve the area along the Econlockhatchee River.?The county will pay $1 million, with the district picking up $10.5 million.

» A task force has recommended spending $1.7 million to reduce underage drinking in central Florida. Measures would include restrictions on businesses that sell alcohol to minors; increased education about alcohol in schools; a campaign aimed at parents who serve alcohol to kids at home; and databases to track arrests, injuries and deaths. Next step: A committee will seek grants to fund the recommendations.

» The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, largely funded by public dollars, has undergone public scrutiny and a county audit after reports that its president, Gary Sain, paid almost $9,300 for a business-class airline ticket to Dubai and that its former president, Bill Peeper, received a $744,441 package when he retired at the end of 2006.


Orlando — Florida Hospital has opened its $225-million, 440-bed expansion, the Ginsburg Tower, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration of its downtown campus.

» University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine, which opens its doors in August, has broken state records with the number of applications for its first class of 40 students. The count had reached 4,000 by mid-November. Each student will receive a full four-year scholarship worth $160,000.

» A total of 39 minority and women-owned businesses have been awarded about $28 million worth of work on construction of the Orlando Events Center, which will replace the Amway Arena when it opens in fall 2010. That accounts for about 42% of the awarded work. The city’s goal was 24%.

» Rhodes+Brito Architects of Orlando has been given the green light to begin designing the $160-million renovation of the Florida Citrus Bowl. Construction is set to start in 2010.

» BankAtlantic has closed its only remaining facility in Orlando, a commercial real estate lending office.

» Orlando-based online hotel reservations service CRSHotels.com has branched out to market major events online, including a boat show, a music conference, a golf tournament and events at Walt Disney World and in New York.

» Landry’s Restaurants, parent company of Rainforest Cafe, has opened a new theme restaurant, T-Rex Cafe, on Downtown Disney’s east side.

» Meeting Professionals International announced it will bring its annual World Education Conference with 3,300 attendees to Orlando in 2011 for the first time since 1995.

» WrestleMania XXIV generated more than $51.5 million in local economic impact when World Wrestling Entertainment held the event at the Florida Citrus Bowl in March, according to a study released by a Toronto research firm.

» Habitat for Humanity in Orlando has broken ground on its largest effort to date, the $8-million, 58-unit Staghorn Villas townhome community set to open in 2011 off Silver Star Road.

» Walt Disney World’s parent company has started construction on an 830-room resort in Hawaii that includes a mix of hotel rooms and timeshare units.


Osceola County — The county has taken a step toward its longtime goal of building a convention center, approving a $120-million plan for a two-site project — a 350,000-sq.-ft. convention center at Gaylord Palms Resort and a 175,000-sq.-ft. conference center at ChampionsGate. An additional 1% tax on rooms will help finance the work.

» The United States Bowling Congress has pulled its plans to hold the 2011 Open Championships at Walt Disney’s Wide World of Sports because construction of a 100-lane bowling center are on hold while the unnamed developer seeks financing.

» FPA Clinical Research, which works with pharmaceutical companies, is adding 25 jobs with an average pay of $57,196, the firm announced.


Sanford — Hartford Financial Services Group will acquire Sanford-based savings bank Federal Trust Corp. in a reported $10-million deal expected to close in the first quarter.


Volusia County — The Chamber of Commerce of West Volusia has moved into new headquarters on South Volusia Avenue, doubling its workspace. In addition to its usual services, the chamber will provide office space as an incubator for new businesses and will house a branch of Daytona State College.