The Tampa Bay area will get its only nonstop flights to Maine starting Nov. 20 when Allegiant Air launches twice-weekly service between Bangor and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Introductory fares start at $89.99 one-way, not including taxes and fees. Flights to Bangor will depart Monday and Friday afternoons, with return flights both evenings. A leading no-frills carrier that flies vacationers from smaller cold-weather cities to sunny destinations, Allegiant is the dominant carrier at the Pinellas airport.
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Signature Place suit a family affair
Joel Cantor, developer of St. Petersburg's Signature Place condo tower, has juggled a handful of lawsuits from disgruntled buyers. But the most recent unhappy purchaser was a doozy: his father, Irwin Cantor. The elder Cantor sued his son's company in late August, demanding to downsize from a $3.26 million penthouse to something more affordable. Joel Cantor said his father was working an "angle" so that Fifth Third Bank, the tower's main financier, would agree to the contract change. In fact, the younger Cantor said he threw his weight behind his father's request, and both sides recently settled. Cantor senior will close this month on a more humble two-bedroom unit in the tower at First Avenue S and Second Street. "He wasn't mad at me," Joel Cantor said. "He was just trying to get the bank to respond." The 36-story building has completed sales on about 65 of its 220 units.
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Lab to put homes in hurricane's path
The Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, wasn't content with its ultra-hurricane-resistant headquarters in Tampa, an iconic, hurricane-symbol-shaped building adjacent to the Museum of Science and Industry. Now it's building a $40 million cluster of hurricane-resistant buildings in South Carolina, a full-scale lab to test ways to minimize hurricane and fire damage. IBHS, which is funded by the insurance industry, on Wednesday broke ground for its disaster safety research center in Chester County, S.C. It says the lab will be "unique in all the world" with the ability to subject 2,000-square-foot one- and two-story homes, plus light commercial construction and agricultural buildings, to "a variety of hazards, including realistic Category 3 hurricanes, wind-blown fire (mimicking wildfire embers) and hailstorms." Construction will be funded by property insurance companies, reinsurers and brokers. The goal is to find ways to minimize risk and loss from natural disasters. Institute spokeswoman Candace Iskowitz said many labs have been built to test against the force of earthquakes, but nothing of this scope to test against hurricane winds and wind-blown fire. See a virtual tour of the planned lab attinyurl.com/mvk7la.