Gulfshore Business Daily: June 17

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Joel Markus
Lead Photo: Sarah Owen has been promoted to director of development at Gulfshore Playhouse. Details below.

 

CORPORATE OWNER OF EDISON MALL IN FORT MYERS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION

Washington Prime Group Inc. has filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Columbus, Ohio-based company announced this week, blaming its indebtedness on challenges it faced from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, a retail REIT that owns Edison Mall in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte Town Center as well as a portfolio of 100 other malls, enters Chapter 11 after executing a restructuring support agreement with creditors, led by investment firm SVPGlobal, that hold about 73% of the principal amount outstanding of the company’s secured corporate debt and 67% of the principal amount outstanding of the company’s unsecured notes. Washington Prime will utilize Chapter 11 to implement a comprehensive and consensual financial restructuring of its corporate-level debt that will allow it to substantially deleverage its balance sheet and strengthen its business and operations going forward, either through a full equitization of the company’s unsecured notes or an alternative value-maximizing transaction that would repay, in full in cash, all of its corporate-level debt, the company reports.

 

LEE COMMISSIONERS ACCEPT $3.7 MILLION IN GRANTS TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS

Lee County commissioners on Tuesday voted to accept state and federal grants totaling more than $3.7 million to provide housing and services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Commissioners voted to accept $1,997,727 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC); $941,808 from Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act funding from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Office on Homelessness; $407,750 from DCF to provide housing and services for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness; and $362,662 in Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Anyone experiencing homelessness with housing needs should call 239-533-7996.

 

LEE COMMISSIONERS AWARD CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING AND INSPECTION CONTRACT FOR ORTIZ AVENUE

Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to award a contract to AECOM Technical Services, Inc. to provide construction engineering and inspection services to widen Ortiz Avenue to four lanes from Colonial Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. This project has been identified as a priority for expanding transportation infrastructure in Lee County because the 1.7-mile section of Ortiz offers relief to Interstate 75 during periods of heavy congestion. In addition to widening to four lanes, the project includes 7-foot bicycle lanes, a 10-foot-wide trail on the west side of the road, a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side of the road and lighting along the corridor. Construction is expected to begin early next year. The contract awarded Tuesday is for about $1.9 million. The total cost of the project including design, land acquisition, construction and construction inspection is expected to be $21.8 million. The recently approved state budget includes a $2.17 million appropriation for the project.

 

ALICO INC. ADVANCES ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE

Fort Myers-based Alico Inc., one of the nation’s largest citrus producers, has made substantial progress with respect to its environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiative, the company announced this week. A new board-level Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee has been established by the Alico board and a full-time executive has been named Director of Sustainability to lead the company’s ESG program. Alico’s management also has formed a broad Sustainability Task Force across its business units and engaged consultants to produce an annual sustainability report by the end of the year. The company’s sustainability policies and a vendor code of conduct have been formulated, its initial carbon footprint and climate risk evaluation has been prioritized, and plans are underway to revitalize and increase Alico’s social media presence to better highlight its ESG policies.

 

STUDIO+ TO DESIGN OAKES FARM’S IMMOKALEE FRESH CUTS PRODUCE FACILITY

Immokalee Fresh Cuts, an affiliate of Oakes Farms, intends to construct a new packing facility to process produce. The building, designed by Fort Myers-based Studio+, is preliminarily sized at approximately 60,000 square feet and will be located at the intersection of New Harvest Road and E. Main Street in Immokalee. The site is adjacent to an existing Oakes Farms facility in Immokalee and will feature loading docks, offices, breakrooms, and refrigerated processing rooms. The team includes architecture firm Studio+ and Gulfpoint Construction as general contractor and construction manager for the project.

 

FL STAR RECEIVES CONTRACT FOR PROVIDENT JEWELRY EXPANSION

FL Star Construction, a division of FL Star, has been awarded the contract for the expansion and renovation of Provident Jewelry on Fifth Avenue South in Naples. The renovation will add 2,310 square feet to the current Provident Jewelry facility, creating a grand showroom, lounge area, private lounges, offices, private salesroom and staff facilities encompassing 5,093 square feet. Originally established on Florida’s east coast, Provident Jewelry currently has locations in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach, Wellington, Fort Myers and Naples.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

NAPLES MAN INVENTS PRODUCT TO REPEL TOXIC CANE TOADS

When his golden retriever had a near-death experience with a toxic cane toad, a Naples man had a life-changing experience. Andreas Kunz joined forces with Patrick Corignolo to create PupDefense, a granule designed to create an “invisible fence” to keep cane toads from invading Florida yards. The toxin produced from this invasive species can be deadly for cats and dogs, so the PupDefense repellent uses natural oils such as peppermint, cinnamon and garlic to keep the toads away from homes, WINK News reports.

 

STARABILITY ANNOUNCES BOARD OFFICER AND DIRECTORS

The STARability Foundation welcomes a new officer and three new directors to its board of directors. Laura Georgelos will serve as vice president. She joins board president Lisa Kahn-Allen, Lisa Kahn Designs; treasurer Ken Gilman, retired CEO; and secretary Kelly Moynihan, retired ExxonMobil consultant. An experienced real estate broker, Georgelos joined STARability’s board of directors in 2020 and has been a longtime volunteer with the organization, having co-chaired its signature event, the STAR Gala, twice. The new directors are Anne Fleming, Waterside Shops; Jeff Maconaghy, AssuredPartners Transportation; and Joe Smallwood, BCB Homes Inc. They join Carrie Cooney, community volunteer; Eric Cosentino, FineMark National Bank & Trust; Domenic Lucarelli, Lucarelli Law; and Jerry Schoenfeld, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business; in their new roles. Board terms are for two years and will begin July 1.

 

Joel Markus

GULFSHORE PLAYHOUSE PROMOTES TWO STAFF MEMBERS

Gulfshore Playhouse has promoted Joel Markus to chief operating officer and managing director and Sarah Owen to director of development. Markus will continue to oversee the theater’s day-to-day business affairs and work to cooperatively set financial and operational goals. Originally from Miami, he came to Gulfshore Playhouse from the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where he served as the production manager. He has a 25-year career and assisted in the production of hundreds of plays at multiple venues. Owen previously served as annual giving and events manager for Gulfshore Playhouse, where she planned the theater’s events and focused on raising funds for the Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence. Before that, she worked for JDRF, where she received the National Mission Award for raising $1 million at the organization’s 2013 gala and golf tournament, and Susan G. Komen, where she helped grow the organization’s granting by 72% in one year.

 

Nathalie White

SCHENKELSHULTZ ARCHITECTURE WELCOMES WHITE

SchenkelShultz Architecture has added Nathalie White as a designer in the firm’s Fort Myers office. In this role, White will serve as a key member of the design team and spearhead the firm’s engagement in the Southwest Florida community. With more than 10 years of experience, White has been a team member on SchenkelShultz’s current work at the Naples Airport and the new Estero Fire Station No. 45, a 19,200-square-foot facility scheduled to open in 2022. White comes to SchenkelShultz with experience in the hospitality, luxury residential, civic and healthcare markets. She served as a member of the architecture teams for Fort Myers-area projects, including Amavida Living, Skilled Nursing Unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center, and FineMark National Bank & Trust headquarters. White earned a Bachelor of Design in architecture from the University of Florida and is a current member of the Real Estate Investment Society (REIS) of Southwest Florida. 

 

PREMIER SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY WELCOMES TEAM MEMBERS

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty has welcomed two new sales professionals in the company’s Naples area sales gallery locations. Sean Cohane has joined the Central Naples office, and Alisha Goldstein has joined the Vanderbilt office. Headquartered in Naples, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty has more than 1,400 professionals and employees in more than 40 locations throughout Florida and North Carolina.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES
 

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank provides rent-free office space to local nonprofits at its College Parkway location.

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank donates office space

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has donated rent-free office space to the South Gulf Coast Chapter of Community Association Institute (CAI) trade association in Fort Myers. CAI works to assist and provide community associations, managers, management companies and those affiliated with them, educational programs, social networking opportunities and information for related community matters. Last summer, the bank relocated its operations center to its new location at 9311 College Pkwy., creating approximately 2,700 square feet of available office space. In addition, the Southwest Florida Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack and the Southwest Florida Symphony moved in under the bank’s offer of rent-free office space within the building. The bank’s College Parkway Branch remains based at 7500 College Pkwy. as a fully operational bank location.

 

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