Southwest Florida Roundup
Tropicana creates Tropical Crunch Cereal for orange juice – not milk
Bradenton-based juice maker Tropicana doesn’t want you to just drink your orange juice with breakfast. It also wants you to pour your orange juice over a bowl of its new Tropicana Crunch Cereal — flavored with honey and almond clusters. The new cereal — available online at TropicanaCrunch.com — sold out in one day, and Tropicana has not announced if the cereal will be reintroduced or if the effort was just a sales stunt for orange juice. Either way, some of the cereal ended up on eBay, where prices ranged from $63 to $170 for a 12-ounce box.
- Work is underway on Palm Grove Luxury Apartment Homes, a 320-unit apartment complex in Ellenton. The development, expected to be completed next year and located within walking distance of Ellenton Premium Outlets, is being developed by Indiana-based Thompson Thrift and Altura Capital. Thompson Thrift also has plans for a 244-unit residential complex in Venice.
- Collier Cos. has started work on the Sorrento, a 300-unit apartment development off Fruitville Road in Sarasota. Among the amenities: A saltwater pool, electric vehicle charging stations, a pet spa, a bocce court, electronic locks and a hammock lounge.
- Pulte Homes is building a 166-home community in Lakewood Ranch called Avanti, where the housing options include townhomes, single-family homes and attached villas.
- Burrell Aviation of Colorado plans to lease 86 acres at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport to develop an aviation technology center, focusing on aviation logistics, as well as aircraft maintenance and repair. The $75-million project calls for the construction of more than 700,000 square feet of industrial space, with the potential to create about 900 jobs.
- Manta, a data organizing and tracking firm based in the Czech Republic, will open its U.S. headquarters in Tampa, where it already employs 40 at a workspace sharing facility. The company, which says it is looking for permanent office space, also has offices in Ireland and Portugal.
- Method Testing Labs, a third-party cannabis and hemp testing facility, plans to open a 7,000-sq.-ft. lab in Brandon this year and hire 30. Indiana-based AFC Transport is moving its logistics division — called AFC Logistics — to Tampa. AFC Logistics, a tech-enabled freight broker, plans to hire 150 over the next three years.
- The University of South Florida received $14 million from philanthropists Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton to expand its financial technology programs at the Muma College of Business.
- The city of Tampa and Tampa General Hospital have partnered to create TampaWell, an initiative intended to increase the overall health of Tampa residents. The partnership will promote exercise and healthy eating, enhance fitness trails and parks, and develop a community garden and food pantry in east Tampa. The hospital has pledged $1 million to help launch the program and fund its first year of operation.
- TradeWinds Islands Resorts has added 141 rooms to its St. Pete Beach properties, increasing the total rooms to 899. TradeWinds has also opened an attraction called the Zing Ray Zip, a three-story, dual-line zipline on the beach. The Inn on Fifth, a 119-room boutique hotel located in the center of Old Naples, has sold for $156 million to Maryland-based Pebblebrook Hotel Trust. Phil McCabe, the previous owner, created the hotel out of a former bank building he purchased in 1998.
- Seagate Development Group, a construction firm and developer based in Fort Myers, has purchased a 502-acre sand and rock mine off S.R. 82 in Fort Myers. The Bell Boulevard Mine, sold by MCIN Bell for $15.3 million, will continue to be mined for now, but Seagate says the land will eventually be developed after the rest of the mine’s sand and rock are extracted.
- Auto maker Tesla plans to open a car showroom in a former furniture store north of St. Petersburg. The 102,410-sq.-ft. building will be renovated to include a 3,000-sq.-ft. showroom, as well as space for car maintenance and repair and storage for cars and car parts.
- SeaPort Manatee has added two mobile harbor cranes, each with the capability of lifting 125 metric tons. Carlos Buqueras, SeaPort Manatee’s executive director, says the cranes will enable the port to keep up with “all-time-high levels of cargo activity.” During the first six months of the current fiscal year, the port handled a record 660,847 tons of containerized cargo.
- Tampa Electric faces a $500,000 fine as a result of a 2017 explosion at its Apollo Beach power plant that killed five workers. The utility has also reached civil settlements with the victims’ families and others harmed by the explosion, which came as the workers tried to clear a molten coal byproduct from a cooling tank.