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Pinellas community news


Bob Jackson, 80, won't run for mayor's seat again

Former Largo Mayor Bob Jackson, who had been considering a political comeback, has decided not to run for mayor after all.

"Everybody keeps asking me about it," said Jackson, 80. "But my health is more important."

Jackson, a retired school principal, was mayor for two terms and was on the City Commission for three decades. He ran for re-election in 2006 but was defeated by the current mayor, Pat Gerard.

Gerard will step down this year to run for a Pinellas County Commission seat, opening up the office of mayor in the November's election.

Vice Mayor Woody Brown, a 43-year-old chiropractor who has been a city commissioner since 2007, is the only declared candidate for mayor.


Manufacturing plant sells for $8.7M

A large manufacturing plant has been sold in the U.S. 19 industrial corridor, but its tenant, an auto-parts maker, will continue operations.

Sun Microstamping Technologies produces metal stamping, injection molding and insert molding for the auto industry in a 113,040-square-foot plant at 14055 U.S. 19 N.

An investment fund that owned the building sold it for $8.7 million to STORE Capital of Scottsdale, Ariz., according to a news release.

Real estate brokers wouldn't identify the seller, but property records list the owner of the property as Garrison Southeast Industrial Clearwater LLC, a New York-based entity.

Sun Microstamping has occupied the facility since 1991 and has about a decade remaining on its lease.


Top This Pie, Earl of Sandwich open

Speed and variety are the accolades of two new places to eat on Fourth Street.

Top This Pie is a fast-service restaurant at 1535 Fourth St. N that offers individual, made-to-order pizzas within minutes. Customers choose between thin New York-style crust or whole wheat and watch it get flattened in front of them. Then they pick from five sauces, five cheeses, nine meat toppings and 10 vegetable toppings. A high-powered oven cooks the custom creation at 800 degrees within two and a half minutes. It costs about $7, though there are lunch specials and meal combinations.

The small eatery in the former Mickey's Market serves beer and wine, has two flat screen TVs and outdoor dining.

The Earl of Sandwich just opened at 5000 Fourth St. N in the former Talbot's clothing store, with Mayor Rick Kriseman cutting the ribbon. The fast-casual restaurant serves up hot, made-to-order sandwiches within four minutes. It also sells wraps, salads, soups and baked desserts made in-house daily.

The Earl doesn't stop just at the sandwich, which is said to have been invented by Earl John Montagu in 1762. The breakfast menu offers oatmeal, muffins and bagels. Dinner options include pastas, pizza breads and stuffed baked potatoes.

The store also delivers, via London taxi cab, in north St. Peter and downtown areas during lunch hours, no minimum.


The first financial report is in and the numbers look good for the Capitol Theatre, downtown's latest, greatest hope.

Whether the successful beginning for the 750-seat venue will spark a wider downtown revival remains an open question.

After expenses, the theater raked in $170,426, more than $122,000 over internal projections, according to a recent report from Ruth Eckerd Hall, which operates the Capitol.

The period covers revenues and expenditures from the theater's grand opening on Dec. 18, 2013 through the end of March.

The numbers please city officials. The city owns the theater and directed nearly $11 million in county and state funds to restore the once-battered movie house in hopes of revitalizing its downtown core.

"It's been a win for all of us," said City Manager Bill Horne.

At least one established business owner has seen receipts explode since the Capitol opened its doors.

"It's had a big impact. Huge," said Tony Starova, owner of Tony's Pizzeria & Ristorante and the adjacent Capitol Beer House.

But there hasn't been a rush of new businesses along Cleveland Street.

All in good time, said Zev Buffman, Ruth Eckerd Hall's CEO.

High-profile acts such as Jay Leno and B.B. King helped propel the theater in its first 3 ½ months. Revenues from more than four dozen shows totaled more than $1.8 million.

But the charm of a restored theater that first opened in 1921 played a big role, too, he said.

"The old cliche that you only get one chance at a first impression is very true," he said. "If the acoustics stink, you're down for the count. If the seats are uncomfortable, you're down for the count."

Pinellas community news 06/11/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:49am]
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