Regional Roundup

By Beau Denton April 30, 2011

Around the Region

Three Red Cross Chapters Combine

The Charlotte County, Manatee and Southwest Florida American Red Cross chapters, which formerly served Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Hardee and DeSoto counties, announced plans to merge into a single, regional chapter to increase resources and service opportunities. A corporate board of directors, yet to be named, will form advisory councils for each county.


Manatee County

Lakewood Ranch New Home Sales on the Rise

Lakewood Ranch reported 107 new home sales during the first quarter of 2011, a big increase over the 31 new home sales during first quarter of 2010. The community currently has 130 new homes being built, and has just completed construction of a new residents’ club in Country Club East. In addition, Urban Accents, a modern home accessories store, is scheduled to open this summer on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

Bradenton Launches Online Service

The City of Bradenton announced an online and mobile platform for residents to request garbage pickup, tree trimming, road repairs and more. The portal, powered by PublicStuff, can be found at

Saint Stephen’s Builds LEED-Certified School

Last month, the Sunlight Middle School at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton received LEED Silver Certification. One of 15 LEED-certified schools in the state, Sunlight Middle was constructed by Fawley-Bryant Architects, Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. and TLC Engineering for Architecture.


Sarasota County

Sarasota Institutes Paid Parking

The City of Sarasota has begun installing paid parking meters throughout downtown Sarasota, planning to eventually charge $1 per hour Monday through Saturday. Several downtown lots will offer cheaper long-term parking, and about 650 spaces near Main Street will continue to be free. Violators will be fined $25; parking officials have been equipped with upgraded technology to enforce the changes.

Integrated Freight Acquires Oregon Company

Integrated Freight Corporation of Sarasota acquired Oregon-based freight hauler Cross Creek Trucking. The move expanded Integrated Freight’s shipping reach into the Pacific Northwest and increased its nationwide fleet to more than 650 trailers and 300 tractors. Cross Creek reported nearly $28 million in revenue in 2010.

Taylor Morrison Sold for $955 Million

Homebuilder Taylor Morrison, as well as its Canadian subsidiary, has been sold for $955 million. The buyers are private investors TPG Capital, Oaktree Capital Management and JH Investments, Inc. Taylor Morrison returned to profitability in 2010 after reporting losses in 2009. No operational changes have been announced for the company’s regional locations, which include offices in Sarasota.

Orioles Set Spring Training Record

The Baltimore Orioles announced that the 2011 spring training attendance numbers set a franchise record for the second year in a row. A total of 115,506 fans attended games at the recently renovated Ed Smith Stadium. Ten of this year’s 16 home games sold out, with an average attendance of 7,219.

Beneva Solutions Partners with FTD

Sarasota-based Beneva Solutions has reached a deal with Florist Transport Delivery to sell Beneva’s mobile device application, floralapp. Floralapp, already the most popular mobile app for florists, will be made available to an additional 12,000 retail florists in the U.S. and Canada through FTD. The application allows customers to order from local florists through their mobile devices.

SinoFresh Signs Contracts for Eastern Corridor

SinoFresh HealthCare of Sarasota has signed sales contracts for the U.S. Eastern corridor with Upstate Sales Alliance, M.L. Ballsmith Sales and Beech Haven Sales and Marketing. The companies will represent Sinofresh’s nasal and sinus spray in a market of more than 150 million people.

City of Sarasota Opens Health Center

A new Employee Health Center has opened for City of Sarasota employees and retirees. National company CareHere operates the facility, as well as similar locations in 18 states. The Sarasota center is staffed by two physicians and is intended to lower the city’s healthcare costs through voluntary screenings and consultations.

Socially Responsible Real Estate to Operate Siesta Concessions

After a two-and-a-half-year proposal process, the Sarasota County Commission approved a five-year agreement for the Socially Responsible Real Estate Initiative to operate Siesta Beach’s two concession facilities, as well as the Siesta Beach Gift Shop. The company plans to expand the menu, and the county is performing minor renovations on the facilities. The county will earn $34,000 per month and two percent of gross sales from the deal, which includes a provision for a five-year extension.

Macy’s Pest Control Acquires Venice Company

Macy’s Termite and Pest Control of Sarasota has acquired Venice-based Mike Wilcox Pest Control. The deal adds 10 percent growth to 2011 revenue projections for Macy’s, as well as 700 new customers to Macy’s 5,000 customers throughout the Gulf Coast region. In March, Macy’s became the only Florida company to carry Altriset from DuPont, the first termiticide given reduced risk status by the EPA.


Real Estate

The Sanders Trust of Alabama has purchased two Pinnacle Medical Group buildings—19,942 square feet at 7005 Cortez Road W. and 35,217 square feet at 315 75th St. W. in Bradenton—from PMG Real Estate Investors LLP for a total of $11.2 million. The 75th Street property was last sold for $2.71 million in May 2003.

Benderson Development has purchased 25 acres in east Bradenton from Rickie Paley for $3.25 million. In January, Benderson filed plans to develop a retail center with a maximum building area of 180,000 square feet by the end of 2014.

Real Property Holding—Manatee County FL LLC of Pittsburgh has purchased 788 acres from PNC Bank for $2.4 million. The property, off Grass Farm Road in Palmetto, was last sold for $35.1 million in November 2005 before PNC foreclosed on it in December 2010.

George Meadows, a pediatric dentist, has purchased the Cracker Bay General Store in Bradenton for $2.88 million from SR 64 LLC. The 18,580-square-foot property, located at 5904 E. S.R. 64, was last sold for $3.5 million in October 2007.

ICORR Properties International of Ontario purchased the Citrus Park Shops in Sarasota for $1.75 million from 6160 Gunn LLLP. The 15,800-square-foot retail center, which was 50 percent occupied before the sale, was last sold for $1.04 million in March 2003.

Paradise Development Group, Inc. has purchased the Cortez Village Square, located on the 6600 block of Cortez Road in Bradenton, for $1.6 million from Cortez Village Square LLC. The 36,542-square-foot property is anchored by the Anna Maria Oyster Bar and was last sold for $5 million in September 2006.

Manatee County Rural Health Services, Inc. has purchased a former dormitory building at 5325 26th St. W. in Bradenton for $1.1 million from Cabot Pointe Associates LLC. The 17,639-square-foot building last sold for $700,000 in April 2002. The building will be renovated into a functional health clinic by the end of the summer.

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