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Corporate Report

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  • | 6:00 p.m. August 18, 2006
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Corporate Report

Bristol Bank merging with Bank of Florida

Shareholders of Bristol Bank approved the acquisition of Bristol Bank by Naples-based Bancshares of Florida Inc. According to the agreement, Bristol Bank will merge into Bank of Florida, a subsidiary of Bancshares of Florida Inc.

Bank of Florida also received regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of Financial Regulation for the State of Florida. The transaction is expected to close August 25.

The combined company will have more than $850 million in assets, and the former Bristol Bank office will adopt the Bank of Florida name in early September. Bancshares of Florida is a $756 million-asset multi-bank holding company.

Superior Bancorp one step closer to merger with Kensington Bankshores

Birmingham, Ala.-based Superior Bancorp says the Office of Thrift Supervision approved its planned merger with Tampa-based Kensington Bankshares Inc. as long as it meets stockholder approval. Superior Bancorp will hold its stockholders meeting Aug. 23 and Kensington Bankshares will hold its stockholders meeting at the same time.

The merger is scheduled for completion on Aug. 31. Superior Bancorp is a $1.53 billion thrift holding company for Superior Bank, a southeastern community federal savings bank with 26 branches in 19 locations throughout Alabama and seven locations along the Florida panhandle. Superior Bank also has loan production offices in Montgomery, Alabama and Tallahassee and Panama City, Florida.

Upon completion of the mergers with Kensington and Community Bancshares, Inc., Superior Bank will become a $2.4 billion community bank with 56 banking offices from Huntsville, Alabama to Tampa, Florida. Superior Bank also has 17 new branches planned for Northeast Alabama and Florida in the next two years. Superior will also operate 21 consumer finance offices in Northeast Alabama as First Community Credit and Superior Financial Services.

First Kensington Bank has more than $325 million in assets. It's First Kensington Bank serves nine communities in the Tampa Bay area: Spring Hill, Brooksville, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Sun City, Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Palm Harbor and Clearwater.

Nine projects recognized by AIA for architectural excellence

The Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced the recipients of the 2006 Architectural Design Awards at their annual Design Award Reception at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Nine projects were selected from 58 total submissions.

Architect Dennis M. Carr, AIA, received the top award, the H. Dean Rowe FAIA Award for Design Excellence, for The Carr Residence in Tampa. Earning an Honor Award for Architecture in the Institutional Category was Tampa's Bowers-Whitley Career Center designed by Holmes Hepner & Associates Architects of Tampa. An Honor Award for Architecture in the Institutional Category was awarded for the Northwest Recreation Center in St. Petersburg designed by Wannemacher Russell Architects of St. Petersburg. Tampa-based Wilder Architecture Inc. received an Honor Award in Historic Renovation for Hillsborough High School.

Gresham Smith Partners in Tampa was awarded an Earning Merit Awards for Architecture for the Hollywood International Airport Terminal – Concourse A, an unbuilt five-gate concourse in Fort Lauderdale.

Verizon Wireless broadband covers Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota

Verizon Wireless expanded its wireless broadband network to include the core areas of Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. The expansion - which required installing high-tech wireless hardware and software in dozens of wireless transmission sites throughout the region - extends the Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess network from Sarasota to as far south as Fort Myers. The expansion is expected to cover about 1 million residents.

The high-speed service is scheduled to be available in Manatee and Collier counties within 30 days.

BroadbandAccess allows customers to connect wirelessly to the Internet and log into corporate servers via their laptop at broadband speeds of 400-700 kilobits per second, from virtually anywhere.

The technology was previously only available in the Tampa Bay area.

The technology upgrade also allows Verizon to provide its Wireless V CAST, which offers short video content, downloadable music and games on mobile phones.

In addition to allowing advanced applications such as BroadbandAccess and V CAST, company officials say the network upgrade in Southwest Florida will further strengthen the Verizon Wireless network in the event of emergencies.

SunTrust promotes Waetjen for Southwest Florida

Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. promoted Daniel Waetjen to executive vice president and commercial banking manager for the Southwest Florida region. Waetjen was formerly the Collier County president for SunTrust Bank, as well as market manager of commercial banking in Collier and Lee counties. He will be relocating to Sarasota.

The SunTrust Bank, Southwest Florida region, centered in Sarasota, has more than 65 full service offices throughout Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. Margaret Callihan is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer for the region. It is the fourth largest region in SunTrust's Florida network, which today has 473 offices from Pensacola to Miami.

As of March 31, 2006, SunTrust had total assets of $178.9 billion and total deposits of $122.0 billion.

American Commerce Bank gaining 'Momentum'

The principals of for American Commerce Bank plan to change the bank's name to American Momentum Bank. The de novo bank, which set a record for initial capitalization with $100 million, will open its headquarters and first two branch offices in Tampa under the new Momentum name in early October.

The bank principals say there were too many existing financial institutions in Florida, which already used "Commerce" in their name.

"With our record capitalization and plans to create a statewide banking institution, we wanted a name that was as unique as our organization and differentiated us from the competition," said Don Adam, chairman and CEO of the Bank.

In addition, Michael Crowe, a former senior corporate banking executive, will head the Tampa Bay market as president and chief lending officer.

Rita Lowman, who held state positions in Florida for Bank of America, Republic Bank, and Regions Bank, will serve as the chief administrative officer.

William Falzone, previously chief financial officer for St. Petersburg-based Republic Bank, will serve as the chief financial officer.

Clearwater office listed fourth in Top Specialty Contractors

The Clearwater office of Orlando-based Mechanical Services Inc. was listed as the Fourth largest mechanical contractor based in Florida according to the annual "Top Specialty Contractors" issue of Southeast Construction magazine published in August. The nationally recognized mechanical contractor and service provider reported $26.5 million in 2005 revenues.

The annual survey of trade contractors includes mechanical, electrical, masonry, concrete, steel and numerous other specialties.

First Watch Restaurants creeping up the East Coast

Bradenton-based First Watch Restaurants Inc. is expanding into Virginia and Maryland with more than 15 restaurants planned for the region.

The first of those new restaurants is schedule to open in late August in Fairfax, Va, with locations in Baltimore and Rockville, Md., and Herndon, Va. to follow. The company plans to expand the restaurant chain to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh next year.

Sarasota Ritz' Vernona named 'best' restaurant in Florida

The Vernona restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, has been named the Best Overall Restaurant in Florida in Florida International Magazine's "The Best of Florida" special issue this July.

The magazine's cuisine editor, Margit Bisztray, picked Vernona as his personal favorite in Florida's dining scene, attributing the choice to the restaurant's all-organic menu, elegance and creativity and "Because it works in harmony with local growers and sources everything from specialty artisan producers in the absolute peak of season."

Environmental Process Systems rolling out mold-resistant coating

Sarasota-based Environmental Process Systems started selling FrameGuard mold-resistant wood for construction projects. The anti-mold coating, created by Smyrna, Ga.-based Arch Wood Protection Inc., is applied to lumber and other wood products used in the interior of buildings. "This wood treatment will help reduce both the risk and liability for home builders, buyers and sellers," says Steve Teeple, president at EPS.


• The Suncoast Advertising Federation awarded Peter Paul, creative director of InterAd Agency in Sarasota, its Silver Medal Award.

The Silver Medal was awarded to Paul for his contributions to his company and the general advancement of advertising among professionals and the community.

• Tampa-based Dynamic Leisure Corp., an online leisure travel wholesaler that provides packaged domestic and international vacations to travel agencies and other travel resellers, hired Novato, Calif.-base Redwood Consultants LLC for marketing communications and strategic planning.

• Roy and Carol Cox purchased a Let's Eat! store in Citrus Park, a corporate-owned unit of the Tampa-based meal preparation chain that was launched in 2004 by Marni Poe and Melissa Slack. Let's Eat! aims to simplify the dinner preparation process by providing customers a way to make a month's worth of meals in two hours or less by eliminating the menu planning, grocery shopping, prep work and clean up involved in making home-cooked meals.


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