Florida's much-maligned Local Government Investment Pool could get a new manager this month. A review committee is recommending that the State Board of Administration select Federated Investors over current interim manager BlackRock. The board, which meets Feb. 12, brought BlackRock in to right the ship after a run on the fund by investors. The pool consists of an $8.5-billion "A" Fund of high-quality investments and a $2-billion illiquid "B" Fund that includes defaulted investments.
Unsold housing pinching rents
Renters, not landlords, seem to be holding all the cards this year. According to the Marcus & Millichap real estate firm, a "shadow market" of unsold homes and condos in the Tampa Bay area will increase apartment vacancy and dampen rents in 2008. Expect rents to average $799, a 0.7 percent uptick over last year. It's not exactly good news for the housing market. Lower rents tend to squeeze home prices. Why buy if rent is hundreds of dollars less than a prospective mortgage payment? Or so the argument goes.
Teamsters entice UPS Freight staff
Union membership in America may be in decline, but don't tell the Teamsters. Nearly 120 workers at the UPS Freight terminals in Tampa, Fort Myers, and Burlington, Vt., signed authorization cards recently to become members of the Teamsters union, bringing the total number of drivers and dockworkers seeking to join the union to about 3,600 since Jan. 16. The Florida workers would join Local 79 in Tampa. "Our members have done a great job developing a relationship with the UPS Freight workers," said Ken Wood, president of Local 79. "I look forward to welcoming the UPS Freight workers to our local very soon."
News dominates Tampa's ZoogaTV
It's the YouTube for the ultimate news junkie. ZoogaTV, (www.zoogatv.com) an advertising-supported online video site based in Tampa made its debut this week. The site partners with news providers such as Associated Press, Reuters and TV Guide to bring current affairs, sports and entertainment videos in short clips. Zooga also allows user-generated videos, just like the popular YouTube, but the content is restricted to local breaking news stories, how-to videos, feel-good stories and short comedy clips.