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Business Observer Friday, Aug. 22, 2003 15 years ago

Regional Roundup

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This week's items: REALTOR SUES ASSOCIATIONMINING CHALLENGE DELAYEDMALL REDEVELOPMENTCONVENTION CENTER STUDYREPTRON ELECTRONICS FINANCIALSSURPLUS SALE

Regional Roundup

CHARLOTTE

REALTOR SUES ASSOCIATION - David Kukula of Key Realty Inc., based in Englewood, accuses the Rotonda West Association's Board of Directors of defamation. The civil suit charges that a June 25 association newsletter stated Kukula had provided inaccurate information on property values and Rotonda West's proposed $2.4 million community center. The suit also claims that Kukula was not allowed to advertise in the Rotonda West Association's phone directory. Kukula has been an outspoken opponent of the proposed community center, which was defeated last month by residents.

MINING CHALLENGE DELAYED - Charlotte County requested a trial postponement in a phosphate mining challenge scheduled for Sept. 29. Officials say they need more time to examine phosphate mine-reclamation sites and consider subpoenaed IMC Phosphates documents. The county is challenging a DEP permit issued for the company's Ona mine, alleging it doesn't give enough assurances that the mine won't have large impact on the local environment.

MALL REDEVELOPMENT - Punta Gorda's Community Redevelopment Agency board and the City Council approved an agreement with the Punta Gorda Mall owner City Marketplace to redevelop the center. City Marketplace plans to demolish the south side of the existing mall and redevelop it as a mixed-use project with both residential and retail spaces. The city will contribute $2 million to the redevelopment paying for right of ways on West Retta Esplanade and West Marion Avenue. The developer is committed to redevelop the south side of the mall within five years.

Hillsborough

CONVENTION CENTER STUDY - Representatives from the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau and the consulting firm of KPMG LLP told the Hillsborough County Tourist Development Council that the first phase of a feasibility study indicates there is sufficient market demand to continue studying expansion plans for the Tampa Convention Center. The study's first phase analyzed market demand. The second phase will address planning and financial implications related to expansion efforts.

REPTRON ELECTRONICS FINANCIALS - Tampa's Reptron Electronics, an electronics manufacturing services company, reported second quarter net sales from continuing operations of $45.4 million, an 8% decrease from the same period a year ago; and flat when compared to the first quarter of 2003. The company incurred a second quarter loss of $1.9 million, from continuing operations, compared to a $3.1 million net loss in the same period a year ago.

LEE

SURPLUS SALE - An undeveloped 12.46-acre site on Park Way along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers is up for public sale. The Lee County Lands Division is accepting sealed bids on the site through Sept. 12. Bid information is available on the county's Internet site (www.lee-county.com/countylands/Surplus/ forsale.htm). The property, zoned agricultural, was assessed at $741,790 in 2002, though the sale should go much higher.

RETAIL SALES - Wayside Properties, a British Virgin Islands corporation, recently paid about $1.4 million, or $175 a square foot for an 8,116-square-foot retail building at 9400-9510 Corkscrew Palms Circle. The property is among an 11-building mixed-used site that Naples-based Corkscrew Palms LLC is developing. Becky Andrews and Jerry Petersen of Bonita Springs-based Grubb & Ellis VIP negotiated the transaction.

SALES RISE - Chico's FAS Inc. reported a 38% increase in sales for July. The Fort Myers-based women's clothing store produced $47.7 million in July, compared with $34.6 million for the same month last year. Total sales for the second quarter ended Aug. 2 also increased 38.7% to $173.4 million, up from $125.1 million for the same period a year ago.

MANATEE

VAN DYNE CROTTY CONSOLIDATES - Dayton, Ohio-based Van Dyne Crotty Inc., which purchased Bayshore Uniform Rental earlier this year, is closing its Bradenton location at 6127 26th St. W. and consolidating offices in its Venice location. Company officials say that about a dozen employees will be relocated to the Venice office while about 30 positions are being eliminated.

NEW LEMONADE PLANNED - Beverage Digest reports that PepsiCo. Inc., Bradenton-based Tropicana Products Inc.'s parent company, plans to use the Tropicana brand name for a new brand of cold-fill lemonades and flavored blends. The new line would replace PepsiCo.'s FruitWorks and Lipton Brisk lemonade brands. Tropicana officials declined to support the claim. The move, which is reported to occur next year, would put PepsiCo.'s Tropicana in on a similar marketing plan as rival drink maker Coca-Cola.

AIRPORT PROPOSES FEE HIKE - In its proposed fiscal 2004 budget, Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority would raise the parking fee at the Sarasota-Bradenton airport by an additional $1 a day. Airport passenger traffic at the airport has been in a steady tailspin as daily flights at the airport continue to decline. This has forced the airport authority to eliminate airport staff positions and increase fees. The total proposed budget for the airport is $16.5 million. Parking fees were increased in the 2003 budget by $2 a day. At the same time the weight-based airline-landing fee increased from $1.31 per 1,000 pounds to $1.89. Increased fees are expected to generate about $412,000.

OSHKOSH REDEEMS NOTES - Oshkosh, Wis.-based Oshkosh Truck Corp., the parent of Manatee County's Pierce Manufacturing, expects to record a fourth-quarter charge of $3.8 million, or 11 cents a share, for the redemption of its 8 3/4% senior subordinated notes due 2008. A mean earnings estimate of about 58 cents a share for the vehicle company's fourth quarter is expected. The company earned 50 cents a share in the same quarter last year, adjusted for a 2-for-1 stock split. The company will redeem the notes at 104.375% of the entire $100 million amount, plus interest to the redemption date. Oshkosh Truck said it expects the redemption will reduce interest expense by about $6.5 million, or 12 cents a share, in fiscal 2004.

COUNTY LOSES $3 MILLION GRANT - Manatee County commissioners were forced to table plans to rezone a 20-acre site off Canal Road in Palmetto for low-cost homes targeted at agricultural workers after a published legal notice listed the incorrect acreage and did not reach all stakeholders. As a result the county will lose a $3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Studies show a dire need for farm worker housing in the county.

PINELLAS

COUNTY SURVEYS TECH FIRMS - One in every 10 Florida high technology workers is employed in Pinellas County, according to a newly released annual manufacturing survey that included tech firms for the first time. Among other sentiments, the county survey found traditional manufacturers view higher education more favorably than tech executives.

BAD NEWS AT CATALINA - Catalina Marketing Corp., the St. Petersburg-based purveyor of supermarket checkout coupons, is delaying the filing of its latest quarterly report. The Aug. 15 announcement came two days after news of President/CEO Michael G. Bechtol's resignation, which is effective Sept. 12. Investors are already waiting on a tardy report for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

DANKA COMPLETES REDEMPTION - St. Petersburg's Danka Business Systems PLC completed the redemption of its $48 million in principal amount of zero coupon subordinated notes due April 1, 2004. The notes were redeemed at par value. The company placed $47.6 million in escrow in connection with the closing of its $175,000,000 aggregate principal senior notes offering completed on July 1, 2003. The company will not be required to make principal payments on its other indebtedness until its $65 million face value 10% subordinated notes are due on April 1, 2008.

SARASOTA

SMH REPORTS LOSS - Despite projections of a $1.14 million profit, Sarasota Memorial Hospital realized a $5.61 million loss instead. The hospital's total loss so far for the fiscal year that ends in September stands at $5.66 million, as opposed to the $16.19 million profit that had been projected for that time period.

PMPR GETS BULGARI - The Italian luxury jeweler Bulgari has selected Martyn Schorr of Sarasota-based PMPR Inc. to act as Bulgari's liaison with Cadillac, GM Design and the media. Since 1998, Bulgari has been working with the car companies designing instruments, clocks and accessories that have been showcased in high-profile concept and production vehicles, such as the Evoq, a concept car that evolved into the 2004 XLR luxury roadster. The Evoq features Bulgari instruments and keyless remote. PMPR, specialist in automotive and luxury brand media relations and marketing communications, also represents Bulgari vice-chairman Nicola Bulgari, a noted car collector who was instrumental in developing the Bulgari-Cadillac relationship.

SUNCOAST FORMS RECOGNIZED - Suncoast Forms & Systems Inc. was named one of the Top 100 distributors in the business forms and printed products industry by Print Solutions magazine in its 2002 rankings of the industry's largest companies. The 24-year-old company has been rated in the Top 100 for several years in a row. From their 20,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota, Suncoast Forms serves more than 1,000 businesses on the west coast of Florida.

COMDIAL POSTS LOSS - Comdial Corp. posted second quarter 2003 losses of $1.06 million, or $0.12 per share, compared with a loss of $2 million, or $3.52 per share, for the second quarter of 2002. Though the company reported sales of $13 million in the second quarter of both 2002 and 2003, gross profits increased from $4.5 million to $5.2 million for the same periods. For the first half of 2003, the company has total losses of $2.4 million, or $0.28 per share. Comdial's refinancing in the last year introduced millions more shares, changing the financial impact of company revenues.

Nominees

Commercial Broker

of the Year Nominees

Not even a soft national economy last year stopped a top-notch group of real estate professionals, who qualified as semifinalists for the Gulf Coast Business Review's 2003 Commercial Real Estate Broker of the Year.

Over the past two months, the Review sought nominations for the top broker based on total volume of sales, large or unusual deals completed and community service work. Eight brokers in three regions were selected as semifinalists out of about 50 nominations.

In the Aug. 29 issue, the Review will announce the selection of the top broker along with two other finalists. The following Gulf Coast area brokers qualified as semifinalists:

Sarasota/Manatee

� Ian Black, Ian Black Real Estate

� Lee De Lieto, Michael Saunders & Co.

� David C. Eckel, Wagner Realty

� John Harshman, Harshman and Co.

� Doug Schmedlin, Re/Max Gulfstream

� Barry Seidel, American Property Group of Sarasota Inc.

� John Swart, Lakewood Ranch Realty

� Carl Wise, Preferred Commercial Inc.

Charlotte/Lee/Collier

� Mark Alexander, Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors

� Brad Bishop, Re/Max Harbor Realty

� Scott Cameron, Cameron Real Estate

� Frank D'Alessandro, Re/Max Realty/Fort Myers

� James B. McMenamy, Re/Max Realty/Fort Myers

� Rich Sommerville, Coldwell Banker Commercial NT

� David Stevens, Grubb & Ellis ITC/Naples

� Gary Tasman, Grubb & Ellis VIP/Fort Myers

Tampa Bay

� Dave Conn, CB Richard Ellis

� John Dunphy, Colliers Arnold Real Estate Services

� Bill Eshenbaugh, bbre/Eshenbaugh Commercial Services Inc.

� Tim Kilkelly, Trammell Crow Co.

� J. Benjamin McClish, Grubb & Ellis/Tampa

� Jim Michalak, Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc.

� Dewey Mitchell, Prudential Tropical Realty

� Ron Ruffner, Crescent Resources

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