TRAVEL INDUSTRY REVIVING IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
Travel experts say there’s a lot of pent-up demand to travel after the past year, and now that vaccinations have ramped up, more people are ready to get out and explore. Southwest Florida, in particular, is booming because it’s surrounded by beautiful beaches and lots of wildlife. We’re still mostly seeing local tourism within the state, but numbers are trending up, which is good news for the local economy. Compared to pre-pandemic visitation numbers in January and February 2020, the region is still down about 17%. AAA says enough people are booking flights again that airlines are returning to using their larger planes. Even sales for cruises are picking back up, and cruise lines are planning with the Centers for Disease Control on how to safely set sail again this year, WINK News reports.
ESTERO-BASED HERTZ SELECTS EQUITY SPONSOR FOR ITS CHAPTER 11 EXIT
Estero-based Hertz Global Holdings Inc. has selected an enhanced proposal from Centerbridge Partners L.P., Warburg Pincus LLC and Dundon Capital Partners LLC to provide the equity capital required to fund Hertz’s exit from Chapter 11, keeping the company on track to conclude its Chapter 11 case in June, the car rental company announced. The deal is reflected in definitive executed documents, agreements and statements filed with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court presiding over Hertz’s Chapter 11 case. The proposed transaction, which remains subject to approval by the bankruptcy court, is supported by holders of more than 85% of the company’s unsecured noteholders, which comprise the vast majority of creditors in the largest class of claims voting on the plan. Under the exit proposal, Hertz would eliminate about $5 billion of debt, exit with more than $2 billion of global liquidity, and completely eliminate all corporate debt on its European business, the company reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
PROPOSED $50M PROJECT WOULD BRING APARTMENTS, BUSINESSES TO BIMINI BASIN IN CAPE CORAL
A project that has been years in the making is moving closer to reality in Cape Coral. The proposed development would bring apartments, stores, a parking garage and a waterfront restaurant to a vacant lot at Bimini Basin. The $50 million project still needs financing and development approval by the city, but the community redevelopment agency signed off on the letter of intent Tuesday. A North Dakota developer is proposing 185 apartments, a parking garage, retail space, a restaurant, a dock and boat slips. Construction is expected to bring in more than 500 jobs. If approved by the city, the tentative timeline to break ground would be late spring 2022, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
WASTEPRO NEARS RESOLUTION PLAN FOR TRASH PICKUP ISSUES IN CAPE CORAL
Concerned community members heard from WastePro at the Cape Coral City Council meeting Wednesday, as neighbors in parts of the city continue to be stuck with garbage that has not been picked up for weeks. WastePro says it will have an action plan ready for city council on Monday about how it will fix these pickup problems and how long it will take. The city already put the trash pickup service on notice that it could run into fines for each household that doesn’t have garbage picked up. WastePro hired two subcontractors and says it hopes to be all caught within the next two months. Company representatives said a nationwide driver shortage has affected trash pickup in neighborhoods locally and elsewhere, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
WORK SET TO BEGIN SOON ON GOODLAND’S ONLY ACCESS ROAD
Crews are working to fix flooding issues on Goodland Drive, the only road leading to Goodland, a small community east of Marco Island. Business owners are worried that construction will keep customers away, but everyone agrees the work needs to be completed. The roadway badly flooded in 2012 and 2016, so businesses and residents have waited for a remediation project for years. Collier County plans to raise Goodland Drive to alleviate flooding and to restore historical tidal exchanges between the east and west mangrove stands by adding cross drains at appropriate locations along the corridor. The project is expected to last nine months and cost about $3 million, WINK News reports.
FIRST PROTON THERAPY CENTER ESTABLISHED ON FLORIDA’S WEST COAST
Advocate Radiation Oncology is establishing the first proton therapy center along Florida’s west coast. Advocate Radiation Oncology, in conjunction with its affiliate Southwest Florida Proton, selected IBA’s (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT) ProteusONE compact proton therapy solution for its new proton therapy center. The site will serve the greater population of Southwest Florida in a centralized location between Lee and Collier County. An advanced form of radiation that uses proton beams to target tumors and cancer cells more precisely, proton therapy has proven effective for the treatment of many common cancers, Advocate Radiation Oncology states. Advocate Radiation Oncology is directed by a team of expert board-certified radiation oncologists and has several locations across South Florida.
CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FACILITY FOR WIC PROGRAM
Michael Sheeley and MK Architecture have commenced construction of a new Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program Facility at Trusted Medical Park in Lehigh Acres. The project consists of a 4,000-square-foot interior buildout to house office and clinical areas for the FL DOH WIC’s programs, which provides no-cost healthy foods, education, counseling, breastfeeding support, healthcare referrals and community services. The Owner is QJR Properties and the selected General Contractor is Heatherwood Construction. The project is expected to be completed by July 2021.
SWFL HIRING EVENT TO TAKE PLACE ON APRIL 15
CareerSource Southwest Florida (SWFL) will host a Virtual Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 15. CareerSource SWFL is planning to have more than 60 businesses representing a variety of industries and occupations. Some of the industries included are construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, government, hospitality and leisure. There will be a diverse selection of occupations also from entry-level, middle and upper management, and professional. For more information, click here.
LIGHTHOUSE OF SWFL ANNOUNCES 2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lighthouse of Southwest Florida has selected its 2021 officers and members of the board of directors. Serving as officers are president Jill Turner, child protection team Florida Department of Health; vice president Gwynetta Gittens, Lee County School Board member; secretary and treasurer Shelia Clark, community volunteer; past president Brian Sykes, Southwest Home Care. Evan Connell, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Unit; Jack Green, community volunteer; and Arthur “Chip” McElroy, Hodges University; are also continuing service on the board. Michael Ciccarello of Colliers International, Armando Llechu of Lee Health, and Patricia O’Donnell of O’Donnell Landscapes have been elected to serve their first term on the Lighthouse of SWFL’s Board of Directors.
ROYAL PALM COAST REALTOR ASSOCIATION NAMES DIRECTOR OF MLS
The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (RPCRA) has appointed Jeffrey Bratton as the association’s new director of MLS (Multiple Listing Service). In this position, Bratton is responsible for handling the operations of the Florida Gulf Coast MLS and supporting the RPCRA in meeting the ongoing MLS needs and goals of more than 8,000 real estate professionals served by the association. Bratton is passionate about the future of the MLS industry and plans to actively contribute to the Real Estate Standards Organization and Council of MLS, leveraging new technologies and helping the industry respond to challenges faced in the market. Bratton brings more than 15 years of experience in the MLS industry to his role with the RPCRA. He most recently served as the MLS manager at Southwest MLS for three years and previously worked with real estate associations in New Mexico and Texas. Bratton earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of New Mexico.
LONDON BAY PROMOTES STAMOULIS TO VP OF CONSTRUCTION
London Bay has promoted John Stamoulis to vice president of construction in its development group. Stamoulis joined London Bay in 2020 as director of development, bringing more than three decades of construction industry experience across the New York metropolitan area and Pennsylvania. His expertise encompasses land planning for large-scale residential, corporate, retail, commercial, healthcare, transportation and education facilities. In his new role, Stamoulis will supervise the construction of nearly 2,000 combined units of continuing care residences, condominiums and hotel suites.
SOUKUP JOINS ROOF AS BOARD OF DIRECTORS VICE CHAIR
Sheryl Soukup, president of Soukup Strategic Solutions, has joined Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) as the vice chair of the board of directors. Soukup founded ROOF in 2014 while working on a project to connect adults with developmental disabilities with residential options across the state. ROOF was founded with a mission to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain affordable and inclusive housing of their choice. Since its inception, Soukup has provided fundraising, strategic planning, board development, marketing, and nonprofit management expertise for ROOF with the support of Soukup Strategic Solutions. Soukup served as an executive director and chief executive officer for nonprofits in Southwest Florida for ten years before founding Soukup Strategic Solutions. ROOF will soon announce the new hire of the organization’s first full-time executive director. Soukup will assist in onboarding its new executive director as ROOF continues to increase the housing opportunities available for individuals with developmental disabilities in Southwest Florida and beyond.
Midwest Food Bank of Florida participating in Giving Tag Program
Midwest Food Bank of Florida – a volunteer-driven, faith-based organization dedicated to alleviating hunger, malnutrition and providing disaster relief locally – has begun generating donations through the Giving Tag Program. The Giving Tag Program, which launched in February 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. When a shopper purchases the $2.50 reusable Community bag at The Winn-Dixie store located at 14600 Palm Beach Blvd., Fort Myers, they have the opportunity to direct a $1 donation to Midwest Food Bank Florida using the attached Giving Tag. Midwest Food Bank Florida has already begun generating donations through the use of the Giving Tag. For more information on the Giving Tag Program, click here.
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