1. Archive

Move stirs up new interest in old building

A preservation battle could be shaping up in downtown Tampa. Lykes Brothers Inc. and its affiliated companies plan to move across the street into a modern skyscraper, the First Florida Bank building, and vacate its vintage 1927 headquarters,

The usually secretive Lykes family won't talk about plans for its Mediterranean revivalist tower at 215 Madison St., known as the Lykes Building.

But Sol Fleischman Jr., chairman of the Tampa Architectural Review Commission, thinks the future of the property is a public matter.

He has been trying to meet with the Lykes family to urge preservation or incorporation of the buildings into a skyscraper design.

"We hope it's going to be a win-win for everybody," Fleischman said. "The Lykeses can develop the property to its fullest potential, and these great buildings will be preserved."

The property likely will be discussed at the commission's next meeting Thursday, and the commission may begin the process of declaring the building a local landmark.

Citing the city's previous preservation failures, Fleischman anticipates widespread support for his point of view.


Survey shows bad chairs

really are pain in the neck

All those on-the-job aches and pains could vanish with a simple cure _ a new chair.

A two-year study of factory workers found that many suffered from discomfort caused by their chairs, said Daniel J. Ortiz, a senior research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

More than 90 percent of the 130 workers surveyed already had added foam or pillows in an effort to customize uncomfortable chairs. When researchers brought in chairs that workers could adjust easily, the complaints about back pain almost disappeared, Ortiz said.

It can cost companies about $200 for adjustable chairs, compared with $50 to $75 for other types, but Ortiz said the extra expense is worthwhile. "From a morale point of view, that's got to be a huge positive," he said.


Airport aims to be first

to get monorail off ground

It wouldn't be a Tampa International Airport project unless planners tried out the latest whiz-bang ideas in airport technology.

So the $13-million monorail system that will take passengers from the new parking garage, which opens in November, to the terminal got extra attention from the engineers.

TV sets at the monorail stops will display not only a map of the circular route but the exact location of each driverless car and the number of seconds until the next one arrives.

The five-car system will be touted as the first computerized monorail system in the United States.

It would have been the first in the world, but a waterfront tour in Sydney, Australia, beat the airport to the punch.

However, Sydney's system doesn't work correctly, so the Tampa airport still has a chance to offer the first functioning computerized monorail system.

The glass block walls in the stations are already up. The shuttle cars for the $13-million system arrive July 21. And airport officials are already on edge, putting the construction crews on notice that "get serious" time is here.

They even banished one crew's attempt to add a few homey touches to its temporary abode last week.

The pine tree stuck on top of the portable toilet could stay.

But one of the builders had jury-rigged one of the wall's big glass blocks into a miniature aquarium outfitted with a filtration system. Inside was a Siamese fighting fish the workers were nourishing with shrimp brine.

That had to go.


Williams analyst has eye

back on banking business

Financial analyst Sam Beebe isn't sure whether to accept congratulations or condolences now that he is back on familiar ground as banking analyst at Williams Securities in Tampa.

Beebe won the right to watch such banks as Southeast, Barnett and First Florida with the recent departure of Tim Rayl. Rayl is moving to Boca Raton to join Southeast Research Partners, a subsidiary of New York's Dominick & Dominick. There he will cover commercial banks _ a first for the firm. Rayl has blazed a trail through a number of securities firms, including Raymond James & Associates, and spent the last year at Williams.

For Beebe, a nine-year veteran of Williams Securities, the new job means more work and no change in salary. But it's just as well. His job used to be watching savings and loans for investment opportunities; now many of them have failed and are wards of the federal government.


Golfing good for all, not

just the elite, study says

Golf sometimes is known as a game for the rich. But those dollars spent in the moneyed enclaves have a big effect on the Florida economy, according to a study by two University of Florida professors.

The study, commissioned by the Professional Golfers' Association, reports that money spent in connection with PGA courses, tournaments and other activities in Florida totaled about $454-million in 1990.

By way of comparison, the study estimates that Super Bowl XXV in Tampa was worth $65-million to $80-million to the state.


Cleveland builder needs

to catch up on Salomon

Salomon Brothers Inc. announced plans in February to move its back-office operations to Tampa and recently started construction on a building.

But the news apparently hasn't reached everybody yet, said Mark Sternfeld, Salomon's managing director of domestic operations.

Sternfeld, who was in Tampa for a ground-breaking ceremony Friday, got a call last week from a Cleveland developer ready to make a deal.

Tampa won out against Cleveland and New York City for the Salomon operation, which will bring more than 400 jobs. Sternfeld said the New York investment company initially considered about 72 cities.


NBC, Home Shopping

may make happy marriage

What do the affiliates of NBC television think about running a video retailing show in a joint venture with St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network Inc.?

Home Shopping's new president, Robert T. Sutton, said he has heard from NBC officials that the affiliates are ready to give a warm reception to the company that made cubic zirconia famous.

Pat Schultz, an NBC spokeswoman in Burbank, Calif., said it's too early to tell, although there has been some favorable reaction.

Last month, NBC told its affiliates that it was considering airing a live, hourlong retailing program each day to boost its sagging morning ratings.

Even if things don't work out with NBC, Sutton said, Home Shopping may have some kind of partnership for a retailing show with syndicator King World Productions. There have been informal contacts.

And Home Shopping has been talking to Media General Inc., Sutton's employer until March, about a venture. Home Shopping would provide telephone and computer processing services for a pay-per-view system, Sutton said.

Media General is the parent company of the Tampa Tribune, WFLA-Ch. 8 and other newspapers and TV stations.


Hyatt Hotels will let its

weekend guests sleep in

How many times has your weekend mini-vacation been cut short because you had to check out of your hotel room by noon?

You have to worry about getting up early enough to dress and pack. Forget a relaxed morning in bed with room service. And if you want to use the hotel's pool or spend the day at the beach, you have nowhere to change afterward.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. is letting guests at 89 of its 106 domestic hotels and resorts stay until 8 p.m. Sundays when they spend Friday and Saturday night at the hotel.

Hyatt offered the promotion last summer (typically a slow season) and decided to do it again "because it went so well and customers were pleased with it," said Alicia Angone at Hyatt Hotels Corp. in Chicago.

Both the Hyatt Regency Westshore and the Hyatt Regency Tampa are offering the late Sunday checkout, although reservationist Mary Robinson at the downtown Hyatt said the offer is "based on availability."

Guests are advised to ask for the late checkout because the information won't be volunteered, said Mark Cohen, assistant manager of the Hyatt Westshore.


300 Honeywell workers

breathing easier with vote

The congressional debate about financing for Space Station Freedom provided some tense moments last week for Clearwater employees of Honeywell Inc. _ a "no" vote would have jeopardized 300 jobs. Relief came Thursday when the House approved the program's $1.9-billion budget for next fiscal year.

"Obviously, people are breathing more easily now," said Honeywell chairman James J. Renier, who was in Clearwater on Friday. He said he is optimistic the measure also will pass the Senate. "It turned out they (members of Congress) were more supportive than we thought they were."

Honeywell's Space Systems Group in Clearwater makes a control system and other parts for the space station, which is to be built and launched by the end of the decade. The program accounts for 22 percent of the group's annual revenues.