03/03/15 Economic Development
TAMPA — The new retail options vying to do business at the renovated Tampa International Airport include Guess, HSN, the PGA, Quiksilver, Spanx, Tommy Bahama, Tumi, Victoria's Secret — and Beanie Babies.
Dylan's Candy Bar, an exclusive candy boutique from Dylan Lauren, daughter of designer Ralph Lauren, also wants to open shop at TIA. So does Marc by Marc Jacobs, the designer's more affordable line, and high-end housewares designer Jonathan Adler....
02/27/15 Economic Development
If the bay area's most refined palates held a fantasy foodie draft while locked in the wine cellar at Bern's Steak House, they might dream up something like this:
Mise en Place's Maryann Ferenc and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik leading a foodie's row of Bern's, Four Green Fields, Holy Hog BBQ, Kahwa Coffee, Mazarro Italian Market and Rumfish Grill.
Or triple-threat restaurateur Richard Gonzmart (Columbia Restaurant, Goody Goody and Ulele) and Ducky's owner/Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria anchoring a lineup of Bella's Italian Cafe, Buddy Brew Coffee and Datz....
Madison Avenue loves the "manaphin."
The manaphin is the mythical half-manatee, half-dolphin creature that Pinellas tourism officials created last year as an April Fools' Day prank that brought worldwide media attention to the county's beaches.
That campaign received one of the hospitality industry's highest marketing awards Monday night in New York City.
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's Adrian Awards gave the Pinellas County tourism agency, Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, two of its platinum honors, one for the viral manaphin hoax and the other for a website used by the VSPC's industry partners....
02/19/15 Economic Development
TALLAHASSEE — The University of South Florida on Thursday made its second pitch in four weeks to win the Board of Governors' support for its $153 million downtown Tampa medical education and research center.
The sequel was better.
USF wowed the governors. The BOG decided to forgo any discussion and voted to unanimously endorse USF's plan to build a 12-story office tower/medical campus in the heart of Jeff Vinik's $1 billion downtown redevelopment project....
02/16/15 State Roundup
TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott stopped by Tampa International Airport on Monday to announce that Florida's tourism industry set a record in 2014.
The state attracted 97.3 million visitors, and the Tampa Bay region certainly did its share of the work.
On the Pinellas side of the bay, the county set its own record with 5.9 million tourists spending the night in 2014.
In Hillsborough, hotels reached 70 percent occupancy for the first time in county history and generated a record $540 million in gross revenue....
This week, supporters of the University of South Florida's proposed urban medical school will again seek the approval of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System.
It's another big vote for the USF project. But it's not the vote.
That's because the fate of the $157 million development will ultimately be decided by Florida's most powerful politicians.
"It's about he who holds the purse strings," said former Sen. Paula Dockery, "and he who controls the one holding the purse strings."...
TAMPA — Jeff Vinik is still searching for a Fortune 500 corporation to move its headquarters to his $1 billion downtown redevelopment project.
And when he finds one, he wants to be ready to move fast.
That's why his real estate entity, Strategic Property Partners, is already designing the proposed corporate headquarters that will help anchor Vinik's project.
"You cannot be opportunistic if you're not ready to pull the trigger," said SPP's managing director of development, Bob Abberger, a veteran Tampa developer. "We're proceeding with the designs and plans because we want to be permit-ready."...
This has to be more fun than the prequels:
Disney Cruise Line on Thursday announced Star Wars Day at Sea, a daylong event that will be held aboard eight select sailings of the Disney Fantasy in 2016.
Star Wars joins Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean and Pixar as the popular Disney properties that have earned a special celebration at sea aboard Disney's cruise ships....
Millennials are a conundrum to marketers. • "They're almost impossible to market to because they don't want to be marketed to," said Pinellas tourism chief David Downing. "The thinking is that engagement, on their level, on their turf, is a good way to start." • Which explains all those mysterious, snarky snowmen that recently started popping up in New York City and Chicago, the ones holding signs that read "Sunshine or bust!" and "Even I've had enough!" At the bottom of those signs, a mystery URL: winterblows.com. • That's how the Pinellas tourism agency Visit St. Pete-Clearwater captured the attention of millennials this winter: with a stealth campaign launched amid the agency's traditional marketing blizzard up north....
TAMPA — The University of South Florida's ambitious plan to erect a new 12-story medical education, research and treatment center downtown faces two final hurdles.
Both involve money.
The $157 million project needs $57 million in state funding. Officials are confident they'll eventually get it.
But USF must also raise $25 million more in private donations.
Much more than a medical school is at stake: USF's project is one of the tentpoles of Jeff Vinik's $1 billion plan to redevelop downtown. For Tampa, as Mayor Bob Buckhorn put it, the project will be "bigger than baseball."...
TAMPA — The Volkswagen Group recently put Port Tampa Bay on its short list of American ports vying to receive a new stream of Mexican-made Volkswagens and German-made Audis.
Port Tampa Bay made its pitch over the summer. Volkswagen hasn't picked a winner yet, but port officials said the multinational eliminated Tampa from the competition before Christmas.
What's important to port officials, however, is that they were in the running in the first place....
01/27/15 Economic Development
TAMPA — The state of Port Tampa Bay is good, CEO Paul Anderson said, and it's getting better.
But the port isn't just focused on improvement, Anderson told a crowd of more than 300 gathered for the annual state of the port address on Tuesday.
Port Tampa Bay is hoping that two years of branding, marketing and infrastructure investments will soon pay off with new cargos — and new revenues....
01/21/15 Economic Development
JACKSONVILLE — It has been a smooth ride for the University of South Florida's proposed downtown Tampa medical school. In the past four months the project has won nothing but accolades and approving votes.
The victory tour came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday.
The medical school faced a crucial vote for state funding from the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System. But the meeting quickly unraveled when a handful of governors complained they didn't know enough to start spending tens of millions....
TAMPA — The movement to build the University of South Florida's next medical school inside Jeff Vinik's downtown redevelopment project has scored two wins at home.
Now it needs to win on the road.
USF's proposal needs $62 million in state funding. That must be approved by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System.
The board is set to hold two votes on the proposal when it meets today and Thursday at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville....
01/20/15 Economic Development
TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn has vowed to save downtown's struggling streetcar — once again.
If that sounds familiar, it's because the mayor also vowed to save it back in 2012. But downtown's underused, underfunded trolley system remains in distress.
But this time, the mayor said, he really means it.
"I'm happy to take ownership of this," Buckhorn said, "because I do think we need to resolve this."...