Skip to main content
Banking-Finance
Business Observer Friday, Jun. 27, 2008 10 years ago

Gulf Coast Week

Share
Tampa wins conference: Tampa will host an international business conference in November that will match entrepreneurs with representatives and business owners from 25 countries in Latin America.Rowdies return to Tampa:A new version of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a professional soccer team that played in Tampa in the North American Soccer League in the 1970s and 1980s, is coming back to town next year and may build a small stadium in northwest Hillsborough.Pasco sports complex: Next door, in Pasco County, developers want to build a $40 million project called SportsPlex USA, which will include three ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, rock climbing, laser tag and an 18-hole miniature golf course.Encouragement zone dead: A proposal to create more business in and around Port Manatee through tax breaks and other incentives failed in Tallahassee.More growth sought: One of the biggest commercial developments in Sarasota County could be growing significantly over the next decade.New Cape manufacturer: Applied Cooling Technology, a United Kingdom-based marine manufacturer, opened its first U.S. division in Cape Coral.MIVA cuts 15% of workers: Fort Myers technology company Miva plans to cut 15% of its workforce in July.Collier panther protection: A coalition of landowners in eastern Collier County announced a panther-protection program to better manage the recovery of the endangered species.

Gulf Coast Week

TAMPA BAY

Tampa wins conference

Tampa will host an international business conference in November that will match entrepreneurs with representatives and business owners from 25 countries in Latin America.

Miami, Orlando and New Jersey were also competing to host the event. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend Nov. 20-22.

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which picked Tampa for the event, represents more than 2.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.

Rowdies return to Tampa

A new version of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a professional soccer team that played in Tampa in the North American Soccer League in the 1970s and 1980s, is coming back to town next year and may build a small stadium in northwest Hillsborough.

The new Rowdies will play in the United Soccer League's first division.

After the original Rowdies disbanded, many team members remained in Tampa Bay, working for and starting new companies.

This is the third time professional soccer is trying to build a successful foundation in Tampa. The Tampa Bay Mutiny, also played in Tampa.

Vincent Marchetti, a Tampa attorney, says he has a group of investors that are working on a plan for a soccer stadium in Tampa for the Rowdies that would seat 6,000 to 7,000 people and would be expandable.

Pasco sports complex

Next door, in Pasco County, developers want to build a $40 million project called SportsPlex USA, which will include three ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, rock climbing, laser tag and an 18-hole miniature golf course.

The development is being planned near The Groves, a new open-air shopping plaza that is partially open but still being built at State Road 54 and Interstate 75.

The developers, Val Bain and Patrick DeLorenzo, will submit their building plans to the county this summer.

SARASOTA/MANATEE

Encouragement zone dead

A proposal to create more business in and around Port Manatee through tax breaks and other incentives failed in Tallahassee.

Proponents of the plan, known as the Port Manatee Encouragement Zone, including Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and State Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, said the proposal wasn't turned down on its merits. Instead, the proposal was part of a larger bill on the Florida Turnpike Authority that Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed June 19.

In addition to potentially waving some impact fees, the encouragement zone was designed to allow businesses in the area of Port Manatee to bypass some of the tedious paperwork and checks required by the state's Development of Regional Impact process. Officials said the wait on DRI applications has been as long as two years, forcing business to look elsewhere for relocations.

More growth sought

One of the biggest commercial developments in Sarasota County could be growing significantly over the next decade.

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the developers behind Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned community in east Manatee County and north Sarasota County, are asking officials for permission to build another 2.1 million square feet of office space at Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park. The 1,300 acre-plus corporate park near the University Parkway exit of Interstate 75, home to companies such as Boar's Head and insurance firm FCCI, is already one of the largest concentrations of businesses in Greater Sarasota. SMR officials say the growth is necessary to meet projected demand, which is expected despite the current housing market slump.

Initial plans for the corporate park capped the build out at about 2.3 million square feet of office space. SMR received approval for the expansion from the Sarasota County Planning Commission in mid-June. The request next goes before the Sarasota County Commission, which could vote by September.

LEE/COLLIER

New Cape manufacturer

Applied Cooling Technology, a United Kingdom-based marine manufacturer, opened its first U.S. division in Cape Coral. The company plans to hire 60 people.

Applied Cooling is a subsidiary of Britannia Heatex, a 28-year-old company that makes products for marine vessels. Applied Cooling specializes in manufacturing, repairing and refurbishing engine air coolers and heaters for oceangoing vessels. In addition, Applied Cooling provides on-site services and employees will travel to vessels in various port to repair heaters. The company will fulfill orders for North and South America.

The Cape Coral Economic Development Office says it worked with Applied Cooling to help the company navigate the zoning and permitting process.

MIVA cuts 15% of workers

Fort Myers technology company Miva plans to cut 15% of its workforce in July. The company had 213 employees as of March 31.

The restructuring includes shutting down its Italian operations and eliminating redundancy. Miva expects to take a $1 million pre-tax charge related to the layoffs and $400,000 to wind down its Italian operations.

Miva reported net loss of $5.1 million in the first quarter on revenues of $33 million. The company forecast revenues of $140 million to $150 million in 2008 with gross earnings break even to a $3 million loss based on a better second half of the year.

Collier panther protection

A coalition of landowners in eastern Collier County announced a panther-protection program to better manage the recovery of the endangered species.

Alico Land Development Corp., Barron Collier Partnership, Collier Enterprises, Consolidated Citrus, English Brothers, Half Circle L Ranch Partnership, Pacific Tomato Growers and Sunniland Family Limited Partnership agreed to create a fund for conservation measures to acquire panther habitat, build crossings and fences.

The landowners partnered with conservation organizations that included Audubon of Florida, Collier County Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and Florida Wildlife Federation.

Encouragement zone dead

A proposal to create more business in and around Port Manatee through tax breaks and other incentives failed in Tallahassee.

Proponents of the plan, known as the Port Manatee Encouragement Zone, including Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and State Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, said the proposal wasn't turned down on its merits. Instead, the proposal was part of a larger bill on the Florida Turnpike Authority that Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed June 19.

In addition to potentially waving some impact fees, the encouragement zone was designed to allow businesses in the area of Port Manatee to bypass some of the tedious paperwork and checks required by the state's Development of Regional Impact process. Officials said the wait on DRI applications has been as long as two years, forcing business to look elsewhere for relocations.

Related Stories

Advertisement