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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 14 years ago

Coffee Talk

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For sale or lease: new Re/Max building: Down 40% from its sales volume peak, Sarasota-based Re/Max Properties Inc. is looking to trim its overhead by turning to one of its biggest investments, its building.Neomedia wants out of Fort Myers: Neomedia Technologies, a company that provides Internet technology to mobile phones, is contemplating moving its headquarters out of Fort Myers.Naples makes its flight on time: You can call it an airport's version of the consolation prize.Manufacturing partnership releases five-year stats: The Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership recently released its five-year numbers.Job growth slows, score remains the same: The Tampa Bay Partnership released the fourth edition of its annual Regional Economic Scorecard this week and the result: no change in the overall score from last year.

Coffee Talk

+ For sale or lease:

new Re/Max building

Down 40% from its sales volume peak, Sarasota-based Re/Max Properties Inc. is looking to trim its overhead by turning to one of its biggest investments, its building. Finished in August 2003, the 30,000-square-foot building at 2000 Webber St. replaced Re/Max Properties' existing 10,000-square-foot building at a cost of more than $7 million, according to Review reports.

Tim Crowley, co-owner with his wife Judy, says the brokerage is focusing on leasing half of the building, but is considering whole building purchase offers.

"We are doing what any responsible company would do," Crowley says. "It's time to be lean. We have made fiscally responsive cuts in all our offices. This is just an economic cycle like any other. Obviously it seems more severe and protracted than we had originally anticipated, but we expect that in another 12 months we should start to see sales picking up."

Crowley says he plans to strongly explore marketing the building for virtual executive office leasing because it already fits the company's business model for many of its agents.

In a move that ruffled feathers over at Re/Max, Crowley reached out to friend Barry Seidel, of American Property Group of Sarasota Inc., to help market the building. However, Crowley says he will be the broker for the deal, and Seidel says he has no exclusive arrangement.

"Barry is a close personal friend of mine," Crowley says. "I'm doing the listing work closely with [him]. Barry is likely to have a user for the building."

Appraising the building, Seidel says it is well located and suited for corporate headquarters or medical-office users, particularly because of its proximity to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Seidel says the entire building is being marketed for $13.5 million and the rental rate is expected to be $30 a square foot triple net.

+ Neomedia wants

out of Fort Myers

Neomedia Technologies, a company that provides Internet technology to mobile phones, is contemplating moving its headquarters out of Fort Myers.

But that's not because Fort Myers isn't a nice place to live. It's just not close enough to Neomedia clients in the U.S. and Europe, or its office in Germany. Neomedia is looking at Atlanta or Washington D.C. to relocate its headquarters.

Neomedia, which reported a net loss of $14 million in the first six month of 2007, replaced founder, chairman and interim CEO Charles Fritz in June. William Hoffman, former CEO of Uniqua Technologies of Atlanta, is the company's new CEO.

There is no timetable for the possible move, a company executive says.

+ Naples makes

its flight on time

You can call it an airport's version of the consolation prize.

Just as Delta Air Lines shut down its daily nonstop to Atlanta from the Naples Municipal Airport in September, a Florida-based carrier announced plans for new passenger service from Naples to Tallahassee, Tampa and the Florida Keys. Delta was the airport's only regularly scheduled commercial passenger service.

Vintage Props & Jets, a New Smyrna Beach-based airline that flies from the Florida east coast to the Bahamas and the Keys, plans to fly five daily flights to Tampa, three to the Keys and two to Tallahassee during the workweek. Weekend service will also be scheduled. Service begins Dec. 14 with a fleet of Beech King Air nine-passenger planes.

Recently, the lowest fare on the Naples to Tampa route was $79 each way, according to its online reservation system.

+ Help us find

the top tech companies

Technology rules.

From Tampa to Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples, entrepreneurs have developed amazing technologies that wowed us with their ingenuity. For five years, the Review has highlighted their successes with our annual Technology Innovation Award issue.

Going on its sixth year, the Review is again seeking nominations for the best innovations in technology from Tampa Bay to Naples.

We are looking for achievers who create or apply technology to a business or not-for-profit venture in a way that changes an industry, creates greater profits or efficiencies or improves quality of life in a meaningful way. It doesn't matter what industry. Past winners include technology to recycle auto tires, a manufacturer of tiny robots and a product that keeps sewage from backing up in restaurants.

Nominations should include the particulars of the company and the technology, along with contact information, including phone numbers and e-mail. Please send nominations to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 19.

+ Manufacturing partnership

releases five-year stats

The Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership recently released its five-year numbers. Between 2001 and 2006, the Florida MEP served close to 800 small- to medium-sized manufacturers in the state through federal funding. The partnership says it helpe companies:

• Create or retain more than 6,500 jobs

• Save nearly $100 million in costs

• Increase or retain more than $470 million in sales

• Generate or retain $295 million in additional tax and non-tax revenues, including $63 billion at the state and local levels

• Contribute $33.8 billion to Florida's gross domestic product in 2005, significantly overshadowing agriculture's contribution of $6.3 billion

• Offer an average employee wage of $42,423 in 2005, supplying Florida's workforce with $25,527 more in annual wages than the tourism industry

• Earned $33.1 billion of the $33.4 billion garnered through Florida exports

Through programs facilitated by the Florida MEP, companies learn tactics to save money, adequately compete in the marketplace, and implement more efficient management strategies. They also teach lean manufacturing methodologies, which present the biggest opportunity for immediate bottom-line improvements.

For more information about the Florida MEP and its programs, visit www.FloridaMEP.org.

Job growth slows,

score remains the same

The Tampa Bay Partnership released the fourth edition of its annual Regional Economic Scorecard this week and the result: no change in the overall score from last year.

However, there were some high points and red flags in category scores. Among them:

• Job creation has slowed by more than half.

• While wages still lag behind the competition, the rate of growth leads all regions and continues to close the gap.

• Personal income and economic output both grew at a healthy rate.

• The impact of the housing slowdown has become even more pronounced across all regions in the comparison markets but is most evident in Tampa Bay.

The scorecard is a snapshot of the Tampa Bay regional market using key indicators. 

The overall ranking sums the combined rankings of five economic driver categories: employment and workforce; income and productivity; housing; innovation; and education. Tampa Bay is compared to Atlanta, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Raleigh-Durham, and Dallas.

Tampa Bay's position in the income and productivity category rose from a number four to number two due to a comparatively strong growth rate for per capita personal income and an increase in economic output as measured by gross regional product.

Education ranking category has remained at a consistent and very competitive second-place ranking through four scorecards.

The Innovation category ranking for Tampa Bay rose from fifth to fourth as a result of an increase in venture capital per worker.  The Housing category in Tampa Bay has now ranked sixth for four consecutive scorecards.

 The depth of the housing market slump is evidenced by the precipitous drop in housing permits across all regions, but impacting Tampa Bay especially hard. Affordability again was exposed as a weakness with Tampa Bay now ranked sixth for rental and single family affordability for four consecutive scorecards.

Founded in 1994, the Partnership provides regional economic development for the metro areas of Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Lakeland, and Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice and the counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota.

For an online link to the regional economic scorecard, go to http://www.tampabay.org/subpage.asp?navid=7&id=124

ECONOMIC SUMMARY

Tampa Bay Atlanta Charlotte Dallas Jacksonville Raleigh

Employment

and workforce 2 2 2 1 1 1

Income

and productivity 2 6 1 4 2 5

Housing 6 4 1 2 5 3

Innovation 4 2 5 2 6 1

Education 2 6 4 3 5 1

Overall score 16 20 13 12 19 11

Overall rank 4 6 3 2 5 1

BY THE NUMBERS

Gulf Coast Airport Traffic for July

July July YTD YTD

Total Passengers 2006 2007 change 2006 2007 change

Tampa International 1,568,810 1,642,440 4.69% 11,504,028 11,755,715 2.19%

Southwest Florida Int. 502,598 535,264 6.50% 4,928,564 5,295,670 7.45%

Sarasota Bradenton Int. 92,546 110,832 19.76% 900,944 1,014,788 12.64%

St. Pete-Clearwater Int. 29,501 75,719 156.67% 240,281 461,939 92.25%

TOTAL 2,193,455 2,364,255 7.79% 17,573,817 18,528,112 5.43%

July July YTD YTD

Cargo/Freight 2006 2007 change 2006 2007 change

Tampa International 16,791,717 16,980,613 1.12% 127,155,107 114,596,873 -9.88%

Southwest Florida Int. 3,089,384 2,979,852 -3.55% 23,481,407 22,387,305 -4.66%

Sarasota Bradenton Int. 31,238 32,109 2.79% 185,471 322,649 73.96%

St. Pete-Clearwater Int.* 4,206,868 4,345,684 3.30% 30,842,498 34,799,804 12.83%

TOTAL 24,119,207 24,338,258 0.91% 181,664,483 172,106,631 -5.26%

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