Big Deals

By Beau Denton June 30, 2010


New Jobs at IMG

After receiving $65,000 in incentives from Manatee County, Bradenton’s IMG Academies will create 65 new jobs in the next three years. To qualify for the incentives, the jobs must pay an annual wage of at least $38,619. IMG also announced plans for a 50,000-square-foot dormitory for 2012 and a $25 million investment in the campus over the next five years.

Sun Hydraulics’ Profit Up

Sun Hydraulics Corp. posted a 500 percent profit increase over last year’s first quarter, due to a 25 percent increase in sales. Sun Hydraulics, which produces high-performance hydraulic valves, is restoring wages that were cut during the recession and plans to reinstate positions that had been eliminated.

ITT Tech Comes to University Park

ITT Technical Institute, which offers Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science degrees, is opening a new location on Cooper Creek Boulevard. The new campus is ITT’s ninth in Florida and will offer four schools: information technology, electronics technology, drafting and design, and criminal justice. The first classes are scheduled for this summer.

SCF Charter School Approved

State College of Florida Collegiate School, a charter middle and high school, received all approvals to open its doors this fall with 130 sixth- and seventh-graders. The students, 65 percent coming from homes where neither parent attended college, will earn their associate degrees by the time they graduate high school.

Pill Mill Crackdown

Bradenton followed 12 other Florida cities in May by enacting a one-year ban on new pain clinics, which critics call “pill mills.” Bradenton’s narcotics unit is establishing a process for examining each clinic. Officials in Sarasota and Manatee counties are considering similar steps.

Manatee County Cuts More Jobs

Manatee County eliminated 60 staff positions in May in response to property tax revenue decreases. The layoffs are estimated to cut $35 million from the budget. County Administrator Ed Hunzecker said some of the 60 employees were offered other county positions. Layoffs will likely continue next year. Sarasota County has kept 29 positions vacant due to budget cuts and has eliminated six positions so far this year; no additional layoffs are being planned.


Baseball Construction Brings 500 Jobs

Sarasota County accepted the bids of two local companies to renovate Ed Smith Stadium and the facilities at Twin Lakes Park. W.G. Mills will partner with Hunt Construction Group to build the stadium, and Tandem Construction will build the Twin Lakes facilities. This first phase of Sarasota’s spring training project began in early summer and will cost an estimated $18.7 million and create almost 300 jobs. The entire plan will cost more than $31 million and create around 500 jobs.

Funds Ready for Cattlemen Extension

The Florida Department of Transportation allocated $14 million of federal stimulus funds for the North Cattlemen Road extension. The extension is an estimated $20 million project that will connect Fruitville Road with University Parkway. Benderson Development, whose University Town Center mall is planned for the north end of the extension, will pay for the remainder. The extension, projected to be completed by May 2012, will ease access to the new Benderson rowing facility; the county plans to reimburse Benderson as the Town Center grows.

New Lakewood Ranch Development Approved

The Sarasota County Commission approved a 5,144-unit village development spanning 5,500 acres in Lakewood Ranch. Villages of Lakewood Ranch South, designed as a walkable, front porch-style neighborhood, also includes 40,000 square feet of commercial space and a school. The primary developer is Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

Sarasota Newsletter Tied to Ponzi Scheme

Sarasota’s Donald Rowe, publisher of The Wall Street Digest, is being sued by five members of a Haworth, N.J., family, who claim that Rowe received referral payments from Arthur Nadel’s hedge fund and other questionable investments. The Formica family claims it lost more than $6 million in Nadel’s Ponzi scheme. This is the second lawsuit which alleges that Rowe is connected to the faulty funds.

Water Pipeline to Damage Venice Park

The Peace River-Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority is embarking on a 20-year project that will add 100 miles of pipeline across four counties. The opening phase will require damaging Venice’s brand-new, $600,000 Myakka River Park. City contractors knew about the pipeline project before the park was completed, but they decided to develop the park before the state grant for it expired. The utility company will pay $200,000 to repair the park before expanding the pipeline, hoping to reach Manatee County by 2030.



Local Businesses Trained for International Trade

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County has partnered with Workforce Florida and Enterprise Florida to create the Global Trade Training program, a $1.1 million effort to train local businesses in increasing international exports. Surrounding counties are working with the EDC. Organizers hope that the program will boost trade for marine-related businesses. A $48,000 grant from the state helped kick-start the effort.

Tampa Selected for 2012 GOP Convention

Tampa beat out Phoenix and Salt Lake City to host the 2012 Republican National Convention the week of Aug. 27, 2012, at the St. Pete Times Forum. It’s estimated to bring 40,000 people and $170 million to Tampa. Organizers expect that cities throughout the bay area will benefit from the event.



The region’s top commercial real estate transactions.

A New York-based real estate investor named 1825 Brentwood Road Inc. purchased a 14,560-square-foot Walgreens on Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota for $5.4 million. The seller was Lockwood 17 LLC. Walgreens leased the building, which was built in 2009, for 25 years with an optional 50-year renewal. The property was previously sold in July 2008 for $1.75 million.

Jon Swift of Sarasota purchased a 12,851-square-foot commercial building from the Miami-based Plaza Hotel Group for $1.1 million. The building, at 630 Orange Ave. in Sarasota, has been vacant since it was purchased in December 2005 for $1.5 million as part of a failed hotel development. Swift, owner of the Jon F. Swift contracting firm, plans to renovate the exterior of the property, which has been renamed the Swift Center, so he can begin marketing the retail spaces by the end of the summer.

Veterinarian Anne Chauvet of Veterinary Neuro Services purchased the former River Forest Animal Hospital at 4937 S. Tamiami Trail from E.F. and Susan Thomas for $975,000. The property was last sold in March 1985 for $95,000. After renovations, the clinic will reopen this summer with expanded facilities and services.

William Boyce of Ellenton purchased the 11,567-square-foot Stephens Furniture building from CDC of Sarasota for $1.1 million. Boyce owns the Palmetto-based Piano Distributors and plans to use the new building, located at 7606 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, to replace his current store in a smaller location nearby. He says that the additional space will be primarily purposed as classrooms for music lessons. The building was last sold in January 2000 for $1.2 million.

Gary and Kimberly Otto purchased the property that houses Bradenton’s Aamco Transmissions & Total Car Care Center at 2801 W. Cortez Road from Stacy Bieker for $725,000. The Ottos own the Aamco. The transaction also included a third of an acre of vacant land. The property previously sold in April 2003 for $725,100.

Davi Plaza Inc. sold a warehouse at 5815 E. 15th St. in Bradenton to RP Properties of SRQ LLC for $700,000. The principal of RP Properties is Jorge Resendiz, owner of Diplomat Taxi, which runs an airport transportation business near the new property. The 9,880-square-foot warehouse sits on 3.76 acres. The building last sold in May 1993 for $26,300.

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