07/18/14 Working Life
Florida's growth industry is once again, well, growth.
Figures released Friday show the state added 37,400 jobs in June, the single strongest month in four years, helping to push the state's unemployment rate down a notch to 6.2 percent.
One clear driver of that broad-based resurgence: Florida is once again a magnet for residents in other states and other countries. Florida's 16-and-up population has increased by 210,000 over the year, including 17,000 new Floridians in June alone. ...
Venture capitalists are pouring money into companies at levels not seen in more than a decade, nearly hearkening back to the dot-com era.
But Florida continues to largely miss out on the party.
Nationwide, venture capitalists put $13 billion into 1,114 deals in the second quarter of 2014, according to the latest MoneyTree Report being released today by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association....
07/11/14 Working Life
TAMPA — Sri Sridharan is on a daunting mission: to create the state's first cybersecurity center at the University of South Florida, developing a curriculum by this fall for an inaugural class of master's degree candidates.
Over the past year, he examined 181 different institutions offering at least one cyber-security course and assembled a team of 10 expert faculty members.
But Sridharan also reached outside academia, getting advice from corporations like IBM, Raymond James Financial and Bright House. And he met with two colonels from U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. Among their suggestions: Infuse the study of psychology and digital forensics into his curriculum and expose students to the fast-emerging field of cybersecurity law....
07/11/14 Real Estate
Vulnerability to storms still high
Nearly 30 percent of Tampa Bay area homes are considered vulnerable to storm surge damage from even a low-level hurricane, according to an analysis by real estate research firm CoreLogic.
Almost 131,000 of the 445,000 properties in the bay area fall under the "extreme" risk category, which is susceptible to storm surge damage by even a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds between 74 and 95 mph....
The St. Petersburg-based parent of fast-growing C1 Bank has filed plans to go public, seeking to raise up to $50 million for continued expansion, according to a registration statement filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The bank intends to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BNK.
C1 Financial Inc. said the number of shares to be offered and price range have not been determined. However, its SEC filing cited a maximum offering price of $50 million. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. and Raymond James & Associates are acting as joint bookrunners for the offering....
Gov. Rick Scott and politicians from the Tampa Bay area to the Washington beltway rang the warning bell last year. So did real estate agents struggling to sell homes in flood-prone areas of Florida.
Soaring flood insurance rates, they warned, threatened to wreak havoc on property values throughout the state. In the cross-hairs, in particular, was Pinellas County, which had more older, low-lying homes facing a sharp flood insurance increase than any other county nationwide....
Creation of private sector jobs in Florida picked up in June as the state persists as the third biggest job generator in the country, according to a report released Wednesday.
Florida added 22,620 private jobs, up from 17,280 jobs in May, according to national payroll processing company ADP, which uses payroll data to estimate private jobs added every month. Consistent with recent months, California and Texas were, by far, the top two job powerhouses with nearly 80,000 new jobs added between them....
NFL player-turned-restaurant chieftain Crawford Ker is selling his Largo-based sports-themed restaurant chain Ker's WingHouse to investors who have aggressive expansion plans on the menu.
Third Lake Capital, an investment vehicle created a year ago by the family of Ashley Furniture founder Ron Wanek, is buying all 24 stores in the chain, Third Lake CEO Ken Jones confirmed Thursday.
Financial terms were not disclosed. ...
07/01/14 Economic Development
ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Edwards, St. Petersburg businessman turned civic fixer-upper, entered the den of the Suncoast Tiger Bay political club Tuesday to pitch his latest reclamation project: the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Attendance is building enough that the soccer team will gradually outgrow Al Lang Field, he said.
"Really, we need a new stadium someday," he said, seeding the idea of building a new waterfront venue. "That's my dream."...
A group headed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik on Monday unveiled its glitzy vision for resurrecting the long-ailing Channelside Bay Plaza in downtown Tampa and tying it into a waterfront entertainment district.
Unifying the district — paving the way for Lightning fans to easily go from the Tampa Bay Times Forum to Channelside restaurants after a game — is a vision Vinik and his partners have had since arriving in Tampa four years ago....
06/26/14 Working Life
ODESSA — Both of them stare intensely at the conference room's flat-screen TV. Today, they're frenemies.
Stephanie Ries leaves no doubt about her loyalties. The executive assistant for Bauer Foundation Corp. and German citizen wears gold shoes, a black skirt and red top in a layered representation of Germany's flag. She bears a face-painted soccer ball on her left cheek; the German flag on her right. ...
World Cup fever is sweeping through office break rooms and cubicles and anywhere else interested workers can watch the big soccer match between the United States and Germany, which starts at noon.
At Grow Financial employees are competing in a contest launched earlier this month, with each worker choosing a World Cup team to support. Every win earns the employee a chance to pick a prize out of a bucket, including time off or a free lunch....
06/24/14 Personal Finance
Consumer confidence among Floridians zoomed to a post-recession high in June, to the surprise of University of Florida researchers who conduct the monthly poll.
"We did not expect this jump," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
All five components used to measure confidence rose in the survey released Tuesday, which drove the index up four points to 82....
HCI Group, the Tampa-based parent of property insurer Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty, has signed a letter of intent to buy Prepared Holdings LLC and its subsidiaries for $27 million.
The deal includes Florida-based Prepared Insurance Co., which covers about 21,500 homeowners statewide with $48 million of annualized premiums.
The deal, announced after the close of market Monday, must be approved by Florida insurance regulators....
Most Tampa Bay area homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance will see their rates fall for the first time in years under a proposal disclosed Monday by the state-run insurer.
Citizens plans to cut rates in 2015 for nearly seven out of 10 policyholders statewide with the rates falling by an average of 3.2 percent. Mobile home owners would see average rates drop by 3.9 percent.
Among bay area counties, Citizens is proposing average rate cuts for most homeowners policies of 8 percent in Hillsborough; 8.9 percent in Pinellas; 6 percent in Pasco; and 9.5 percent in Citrus. Hernando County policyholders face an average increase of 0.4 percent....