Regional Roundup

By Beau Denton February 1, 2011

Manatee County

SCF Applies for New Programs

State College of Florida in Bradenton has applied to state education officials for seven new four-year degree programs: applied science marine industry management, applied science technology management, applied science athletic training, applied science international business and trade, secondary/middle school math, secondary/middle school science and elementary with integrated math and science. SCF currently offers six four-year programs; it could start offering new classes this year if they are approved.

Michigan Skin Care Company Moves to Bradenton

It Works Global Inc., a Michigan company that purchased the Stoneybrook at Heritage Harbour golf course in Bradenton last October, announced plans to move its corporate headquarters to Bradenton, promising 90 jobs over the next three years. It Works Global sells skin care products through 18,000 distributors in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia. The company is planning to build a call center and shipping facility in the next three years. The Stoneybrook location will be used for retreats and seminars for distributors. Manatee County and the state of Florida offered nearly $800,000 in incentives for the new jobs, which will pay at least 115 percent of the county’s average annual salary.

New Apartments Break Ground in Lakewood Ranch

P.A.C. Land Development of Winter Park has begun construction on the 272-unit Lost Creek Resort Apartments in Lakewood Ranch, the first complex for the new Lakewood Centre north of S.R. 70. Lost Creek purchased the 24-acre property for $3.46 million; RBC Bank financed construction with a $20 million loan. Prior to Lost Creek, the largest apartment complex built in Manatee or Sarasota counties since 2006 housed only 25 units. The new apartments are scheduled for completion in September. Lakewood Ranch reported selling nearly 250 new homes in 2010, including 11 that sold for more than $1 million.

Two Oshkosh Companies Move to Florida

Medtech Ambulances, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is relocating operations from Michigan and Indiana to Bradenton and consolidating with Pierce Manufacturing Inc. Another Oshkosh company, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, is moving from Illinois to Clearwater and merging with Frontline Communications. Pierce plans to add more than 100 jobs, and Frontline will add 50. State and local governments offered $1.44 million in performance-based incentives; Oshkosh has long-term plans to upgrade its new Florida facilities.

Sun Hydraulics Opens China Office

Sun Hydraulics Corp. opened a Shanghai office in early January to serve as the center of the company’s China operations. Sun Hydraulics has operated in China since 1998; the country accounted for nearly five percent of the company’s 2010 sales. For the first nine months of 2010, Sun Hydraulics posted $15.1 million in profits, a 2,417 percent gain over the same period in 2009.

Bradenton Landscaper Signs $10 Million Contract

Turner Tree and Landscape has signed a $10 million contract to landscape a new housing development in Hillsborough County. The project’s out-of-state developer requested to remain unnamed. The contract, Turner’s largest in over 10 years, includes 479 homes selling between $300,000 and $700,000.

Bradenton Company Defaults on $4.2 Million

A Bradenton hotel company, Sroka Hospitality Inc., has defaulted on a $4.2 million loan, borrowed in September 2007 to purchase a Manatee County Holiday Inn Express. California-based Bank of the West was the lender. Sroka joins nine other hotel companies in Manatee and Sarasota that have defaulted on loans totaling more than $70 million since January 2010.

Manatee Rezoning Request Denied

The Manatee County Commission denied the request by five Manatee County property owners to rezone 1.75 acres on Manatee Avenue West in Bradenton from residential to professional-small. The rezoning would have allowed homes in the 7600 block to be turned into small office buildings. The county commission denied the request by a 5-2 vote, citing area congestion.


Sarasota County

Benderson Eyes World Championships

Benderson Development has announced a bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota. The company is developing a $30 million rowing complex, including world-class facilities and amenities, at Nathan Benderson Park. The project has received $20 million in support from Sarasota County; Manatee County is developing a smaller facility on the Manatee River to complement Benderson’s. Last year’s world championships in New Zealand attracted teams from 50 countries.

Sarasota Announces Economic Development Position

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Improvement District and the City of Sarasota have created an economic development coordinator position for downtown Sarasota. In January a job search was announced for the new position, which is intended to organize strategies that increase new jobs and businesses in downtown Sarasota. The chamber’s executive vice president will oversee the new coordinator when hired.



Area Businesses Form Florida West Coast Trade Association

Local businesses throughout the region have partnered to form the Florida West Coast Foreign Trade Association (, aimed at promoting the area’s businesses in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The trade association’s founding staff is presenting the idea to companies from Collier to Hernando counties. They then plan to contact business groups and trade offices throughout Latin America, promoting Florida’s west coast businesses and inviting Latin business representatives to a major trade show that’s planned for later this year.

Florida Farmers Lose $273 Million to December Cold

The Florida Department of Agriculture released estimates stating that the total economic impact of lost crops from December cold spells was $273 million, including $115 million in cash receipts lost by farmers. Former Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency after the unusually early cold temperatures in December. Local vegetable growers reported losing nearly half of their December crop, although the short duration of the cold prevented the catastrophic loss citrus growers experienced last winter.



California-based WREI Woodbury LLC has purchased the 14-building Woodbury Apartments in Bradenton from TWC Eighty-Six Ltd. for $8.3 million. The 270-unit complex, at 955 53rd St. E., last sold for $1.03 million in December 1994.

1299 LC and 1099 LC, both owned by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, have sold four Venice buildings to Venice Lincoln Mercury Inc. for $6.5 million. Two of the buildings, on U.S. 41 Bypass, last sold for $5.5 million in 1999; the other two, on Seaboard Avenue, last sold for $1.4 million in 2005 and 2007. The buildings’ total square footage is 70,533.

Manasota Medical Arts Association, a Sarasota investment group, purchased an office building at 2970 University Parkway from University Parkway Offices LLC for $1.83 million. The 23,140-square-foot building, most of which is still undeveloped inside, was last sold for $1.64 million in March 2006.

4150 Bee Ridge LLC of Miami has purchased Strathmore Garden South for $1.23 million from Glenn Blome. The 30-unit, 27,500-square-foot apartment complex, at 4150 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, last sold for $1.08 million in January 1995.

Solmar Developments Inc.

of Ohio has purchased a Sarasota office building for $800,000 from HHRD LLC of Sarasota. The 2,628-square-foot building, located at 1241 Fruitville Road, was last sold for $213,000 in May 2001.

Universoto, LLC has purchased 16.3 acres of vacant land at 1400 Desoto Road for $750,000 from Second Step Asset Management Company. The property was recently annexed into the city of Sarasota to provide affordable housing; it previously served as the Sarasota Kennel Club’s overflow parking.

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