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Tampa Bay Times Sells St. Petersburg Headquarters

Apr 24, 2016

The Tampa Bay Times has announced it sold its eight-story downtown St. Petersburg building for $19 million to a joint venture group: Convergent Capital Partners and Denholtz Associates.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

According to a feasibility study released Friday, the Museum of Science and Industry would benefit greatly by moving to downtown Tampa.

The 171-page study, which was funded by the museum and Hillsborough County, did not discuss a specific location, size or cost of a new science center, nor possible funding sources.

However, it raised the possibility of a new museum being part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's billion dollar renovation plan for the Channelside District.

Take a look at the next box of strawberries you find in the store. Depending on where in the country you happen to be, it may have come from Florida. But it won't for much longer.

Why?

Port Tampa Bay

The hardest part of getting a business off the ground is finding resources and money.

Downtown Tampa will become a hub for creators and investors to meet starting Monday, February 8. The goal is to make launching a startup easier in the Bay area.

Tampa Bay Startup Week will host workshops, panels and networking events centered on entrepreneurship. 

Tourism Leaders Challenge Change to Bed Tax

Feb 1, 2016
Christopher Collier

Leaders in Tampa Bay's tourism industry said they're concerned about a legislative proposal to designate part of the local bed tax for police services. 

The bed tax, formally known as the Tourist Development Tax, is $.05 on the dollar in most area counties – $.06 per dollar in Pinellas County --  for hotel rooms, timeshares and short-term rentals.

The proposal from Rep. Brad Drakes, R-DeFuniak Springs, would set aside 10 percent of the bed tax for police services. 

Roberto Roldan / WUSF

The excitement for Saturday's annual Gasparilla Parade is ramping up, but some local businesses along the parade route are closing down.

Two Americans laid off by Disney have filed lawsuits in federal court in Tampa, against Disney and two global consulting companies, which brought in foreign workers who replaced them. They claim the companies colluded to break the law by using temporary H-1B visas to bring in immigrant workers, knowing that Americans would be displaced.

Crystal River Nuclear Financing Plan Gets State Approval

Nov 17, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

Saying the move will save hundreds of millions of dollars for Duke Energy Florida customers, state regulators Tuesday approved a financing proposal for costs tied to the shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant.

The decision by the Florida Public Service Commission came after years of controversy about the damaged power plant, but the financing proposal drew support from Duke, consumer attorneys and business groups.

On Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik shared his vision about Tampa's Channelside District and downtown. But Vinik's goal is to make downtown more than just office buildings.

Before Vinik came to Tampa and bought the Lightning, he Googled 'how to buy a sports team'," he said. 

Just days after a City Council election that may signal a shift with the way St. Petersburg deals with the Tampa Bay Rays, Mayor Rick Kriseman sat down Friday with representatives of the team. It was the second meeting in a little over a week between the two sides, which are trying to figure out ways for the Rays to look for a new stadium site. This time, according to the Tampa Bay Times, the meeting was "cordial."

Visit Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is experiencing a tourism boom, with a 13 percent increase in outside visitors. New figures show the industry brought in $329 million in taxes during the last year alone.  With $30 million being brought in from outside profits during the last fiscal year, the city is reaping the benefits of its many facelift projects.

Pointing to what it described as "significant risk" for the public, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday called for cracking down on lawyer-referral services that cater to accident victims.

Getty Images

Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop slightly.

The August unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, compared to 5.5 percent in July. The state added 19,600 jobs last month, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The jobless rate remains higher than the national rate of 5.1 percent with approximately 507,000 unemployed Floridians.

Gov. Rick Scott made the announcement at the headquarters of a Boca Raton electronic security company. He's made job creation the main focus during his time in office.

TECO Energy, the parent company of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System, will be sold to Canada-based Emera Inc. in a deal estimated at $10.4 billion, the companies announced Friday.

The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in mid-2016.

www.twitter.com/shipt

Even when picking up "just a few items," between the drive, parking and checking out, grocery shopping can be a tedious and time-consuming effort. Seeing the need, Bill Smith created Shipt.

Shipt is based in Birmingham, Ala., and recently made its Florida debut with a celebration in Tampa. Shipt users download the Shipt application onto their smartphones or tablets. Using their marketplace, customers select their items and pay for the items from the app.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Tampa Electric announced Tuesday the utility will build the largest solar project in the Tampa Bay area.

It is planned to be 25 megawatts, with the capacity to power more than 3,500 homes. It would include more than 70,000 solar panels on 125 acres of company-owned land at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach.

Company officials say it should be completed in 2016.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is refusing to fold on its push to continue hosting blackjack and baccarat at most of its casinos, but Gov. Rick Scott's administration is trying to shut down the lucrative "banked" card games.

Letters swapped Monday between the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the tribe indicate that the two sides may be heading toward a showdown later this year over the card games, part of a 20-year gambling "compact" inked in 2010.

Florida officials are asking the Seminole Tribe when it plans to end card games at its casinos and the tribe has responded—with a request for mediation.

Fl Dept. of Citrus

The Florida Citrus Commission unanimously appointed Shannon Shepp as interim executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus on Wednesday. Shepp replaces Doug Ackerman, who resigned Monday following his arrest last week on a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge.

Shepp has served as the Department’s deputy executive director since August 2013, where she has been responsible for overseeing administrative operations as well as nutrition, quality and economic research.

Florida's unemployment is dropping slightly.

The June unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, compared to 5.7 percent the month before. The state added 7,000 jobs last month, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The state's jobless rate remains higher than the national rate of 5.3 percent. There are approximately 529,000 unemployed Floridians, out of a labor force of nearly 9.6 million people.

June's rate was a 0.6 percentage point drop from a year ago.

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