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Seminole Hard Rock sets date for expansion opening

The grand opening for a major expansion at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa will be Thursday, Oct. 3. The $700 million expansion includes a new 14-story hotel tower with 562 guest rooms and suites, three pools and extensive gaming space, as well as a spa and salon, new food and beverage options, retail stores and a Hard Rock event center, with seating for 2,000 guests.

Cox sells Tampa-St. Pete radio stations

Cox Enterprises has reached an agreement to sell its radio station portfolio to a new broadcasting company controlled by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm. The deal includes six radio stations in Tampa-St. Pete: WPOI-FM, Hot 101.5; WXGL-FM, 107.3 The Eagle; WSUN-FM, 97X – Tampa Bay's New Alternative; WDUV-FM, 105.5 WDUV Lite Favorites; WWRM-FM, Magic 94.9; and WHPT-FM, 102.5 The Bone. Apollo is expected to divest WSUN-FM to comply with FCC ownership limits. Financial terms were not disclosed but Cox Enterprises said it would maintain a minority stake in the new company, which will keep the name "Cox Media Group" and will be headquartered in Atlanta.

Credit agency raises red flag about Frontier

Moody's Investors Service said Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) may not have the financial ability to continue to adequately invest in network modernization and remain competitive. The credit agency also cited concerns about Frontier's ability to address "existing and sizable debt maturities in 2022 and beyond." Frontier, a communications firm, is one of the larger internet service providers in the Tampa Bay area. Moody's downgraded the corporate family rating of Frontier to Caa1, a non-investment grade rating that indicates substantial risks.

Kriseman tells ‘St. Pete story’ at mayors’ conference

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will join more than 250 of the nation’s mayors in Honolulu June 28-July 1  for the United States Conference of Mayors annual meeting.  Kriseman said the group will talk about tackling tough issues and share innovative, creative work in their own communities. "Specifically, I will have the opportunity to address my fellow mayors at a best practice forum on moving toward a carbon-free economy and at a transportation and communications standing committee," Kriseman said. "This is another great opportunity to tell the story of St. Petersburg." It's the first time the since 1963 the group has held its annual meeting in Honolulu.

Private equity buyer snags healthcare tech company in Tampa

Funds affiliated with private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired Nextech Systems, a Tampa company with healthcare technology solutions for specialty physician practices. Terms and conditions for the deal were not disclosed. The sellers were Francisco Partners and other stockholders. Nextech will retain its corporate headquarters in Tampa  and will continue to be led by Mike Scarbrough, CEO, and the other members of its senior management team, a news release said.

Tampa amenities company buys wellness firm

Valet Living, a Tampa-based provider of amenities for residential living, acquired Torch Fitness, an Atlanta company that offers fitness, wellness and nutritional programs to more than 200 multifamily communities in 12 states. Financial terms were not disclosed The combination of the two companies will give residents in these communities access to over 400 certified fitness trainers and dietitians, a news release said. Valet Living offers services such as in-home package delivery, on-demand home cleans and pet visits, laundry pick-up and drop-off, fitness classes, doorstep waste and recycling collection and more to 1.3 million apartment homes nationwide.

Humana taps Tampa tech firm for pharma program

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is using an app-based platform developed by Tampa-based Aspen RxHealth to connect pharmacists with patients to deliver clinical services. As part of the pilot program launched in Tampa, Aspen RxHealth is leveraging its community of pharmacists to contact Humana Medicare Advantage members and review medications, provide education and answer questions about their therapy. Humana may expand the program to other markets later this year, a news release said.

St. Petersburg loses community giant, Art O’Hara

The St. Petersburg community lost an icon this morning, with the passing of Arthur O'Hara. Art served as executive director of R'Club Child Care for 18 years, and the Louise Graham Regeneration Center for 12. He was a tireless advocate for children, and adults and children with disabilities. His legacy of servant leadership, inimitable heart, and unparalleled generosity were remembered by dozens of community members through social media Tuesday morning, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. 

What’s ahead for tech hiring in Tampa-St. Pete

Tech teams will continue to grow in the second half of the year, according to Robert Half Technology's State of U.S. Tech Hiring research. Nationally, 67 percent of the IT hiring decision makers polled plan to expand their teams by adding full-time employees. In the Tampa area, that number is 64 percent. But finding the right talent won't be easy, with 89 percent nationally and 87 percent in Tampa saying it's difficult for their company to find skilled IT professionals.

Stockholders approve WellCare-Centene deal

Shareholders for both WellCare Health Plans (NYSE: WCG) and Centene (NYSE: CNC) overwhelming approved Centene's $17 billion purchase of Tampa-based WellCare in separate meetings Monday. The companies are working through the 26-state insurance approval process needed to complete the deal and are working with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has requested more information and materials, a news release said.

TrackFive rebrands, grows in St. Pete

A Lancaster, Pennsylvania tech company that opened an office in St. Petersburg last summer has a new name. Track5Media LLC dropped "Media" from its name and now is TrackFive. The company builds online job boards and recruitment software for niche industries. The St. Petersburg office is its second location and currently has  25 employees, more than half of them women, a news release said. 

Johns Hopkins All Children’s study raises obesity concerns

Researchers hope a new study from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will help pediatricians address the growing obesity epidemic. The study showed that pediatricians and parents may be neglecting healthy-weight kids when it comes to counseling for weight management. Recent health campaigns may have helped providers prioritize the identification and counseling of overweight children, but the data suggested that  providers may be neglecting the role of healthy lifestyle behavior counseling in healthy-weight children as well as obese children, according to an abstract of the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity.

The St. Pete Catalyst

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