April 22, 2024
ATS NE April 2022
GateLite panels were used to create the facade of One South First in Brooklyn.
ATS NE April 2022

The former St. Augustine Beach Motel has been added to the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the civil rights movement as well as its historical and architectural importance. The hotel, which opened on Labor Day in 1940, was the site of protests in the summer of 1964.

ATS NE April 2022
Luxury vehicle dealer Karma Automotive plans to expand into the Jacksonville market. Owned by New York native Val Ranguelov, Karma will be located on Beach Boulevard, with the $5 million dealership expected to open this summer.

Northeast Florida Roundup

Building designers create panels that resemble stone, brick or marble with a versatile lightweight concrete

Laura Hampton | 4/19/2022


Versatile Concrete

In the last few years, Jacksonville-based prefabricated concrete company Gate Precast has experimented with a versatile lightweight architectural concrete layer.

Designers can create concrete panels that resemble natural materials such as stone, brick or marble, but they can also create one-of-a-kind building facades, such as the 45-story One South First building in Domino Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. The mixed-use building’s facade was designed to resemble sugar cubes in honor of the historic Domino sugar factory on site.

“We can give an architect any color or texture they want,” says President and COO of Gate Construction Materials Group Dean Gwin.

In addition to design versatility, the GateLite concrete panels are 2 inches thick as opposed to the standard 6 to 8 inches, making them more environmentally friendly.


  • Vystar Credit Union has appointed Sean Cummings senior vice president and market president of North Florida, which includes Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Ocala, Tallahassee and St. Augustine.
  • TD Bank has named Randy Estrada North Florida Retail Market president. Estrada oversees business development in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Gainesville and Ocala.


  • Galen College of Nursing plans to open a campus in Gainesville. The college is owned by Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, which will open a second Gainesville hospital in November.
  • The University of North Florida has received R2 Doctoral University High Research Activity status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. The designation is given to institutions that award at least 20 research or scholarship doctoral degrees and report at least $5 million in research expenditures.


  • The North Florida Land Trust acquired 157 acres in Putnam County for $472,600 from Weyerhaeuser Corp. Located in the Ocala-to-Osceola wildlife corridor, the land will provide for wildlife migration and protect Camp Blanding from encroachment.


  • Gainesville-based medical implant developer Exactech has acquired a minority interest in JointMedica, a device designer and manufacturer based in the United Kingdom.
  • UF Health Shands Hospital has reached 14 out of 15 possible bars on the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients’ five-tier outcome system, making outcomes for the hospital’s transplant program the highest in the U.S.


  • Gainesville-based medical device manufacturer Invivo Diagnostics has laid off 500 employees since December. The company is owned by Philips North America, which announced plans in 2019 to move about 300 of the plant’s 500 jobs to India.
  • Jacksonville-based medical equipment supplier Advancing Eyecare has acquired New York-based Santinelli International, which provides optical finishing equipment.


  • The Jacksonville Daily Record has moved from a weekday publication to Thursdays only. In addition, Angela Campbell has assumed the publisher role for the 110-year-old newspaper.


  • Real estate investment company Groundfloor plans to enter the Jacksonville market. In partnership with Fast Houzz Funding, Groundfloor is pledging $50 million in financing for home flippers and developers in Jacksonville.
  • Rayonier has begun work on the second phase of its master planned community Wildlight. The 15,000-acre property in Nassau County will include up to 15,000 homes and 1.4 million square feet of commercial space.
  • Anchor Faith Church has purchased the 187,000-sq.-ft. former Ponce de Leon Mall in St. Augustine for $10.7 million. The church plans to make the space available to local entrepreneurs and businesses to open shops, boutiques and stores.
  • St. Augustine plans to study the feasibility of using city-owned land for affordable/workforce housing. The study will consider three city-owned properties and will evaluate both city and private developer financing and management options.


  • Outdoor Living Brands based in Richmond, Va., has bought Jacksonville-based Superior Fence & Rail. The fence company started franchising in 2016 and now has 29 operations in 15 states.
  • Greg Park, owner of the Tampa Mall, has opened a new miniature mall in Ocala. More than 40 vendors have signed up for space in the Ocala mall, which is housed in a former Kmart building.


  • The National Women’s Golf Association has a new owner and name. Purchased by Ponte Vedra Beach resident Mark Berman, the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour will cluster tournaments within driving distance of each other to reduce travel expenses for players.


  • Jeff Ettling has been named president and CEO of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Ettling previously served as president and CEO of the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan.


  • The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has hired Balfour Beatty to oversee construction of its $49-million Bay Street Innovation Corridor. The project will convert the Jacksonville Skyway into an autonomous vehicle network that will operate downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods.


  • Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership has received a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy for a local workforce participation survey. The survey will identify and address barriers to workforce entry.

Tags: Northeast, Housing/Construction, Manufacturing/Distribution, Retail & Sales, Technology/Innovation, Feature

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