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Calling all St. Pete artists: Dome Industrial Area markers

The City of St. Petersburg, The St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District and the Deuces Live are seeking artists/teams local to St. Petersburg to submit proposals to refinish the surface of each of the six Dome Industrial area markers.  The Dome Industrial Park, which includes the Warehouse Arts District, Tropicana Field area and Deuces Live historic main street was designated in 1999.  The art project is meant to "return these structures as part of a neighborhood fabric." The current cement structure signage is currently being removed by the City of St. Petersburg. The structures were "initially erected as homage to an industrial development, this art project seeks to return these structures to the neighborhood and the people who continue to reside within its boundaries." The budget for the large marker is $11,500 and each of the small markers is $4,500, which should include all costs for the final installed work. See the full project details here: Dome Industrial Area Markers Project Deadline: November 1, 2019 Submit via email: info@whereartismade.com

Valley Bank supports Feeding Tampa Bay

Valley Bank has invested $1.6 billion in the communities the bank serves, including providing a grant to Feeding Tampa Bay, which provides healthy meals and snacks to 700,000 central Florida residents. The bank's grant allowed Feeding Tampa Bay to purchase “Tater Tot,” a newly refurbished food truck that will deliver nutritious food to children within a 10-county footprint. The grant was highlighted in the 2018 corporate social report from Valley Bank, a regional bank with $32.5 billion in assets and the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp (Nasdaq: VLY), headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey.

Rubio moves to block federal pension investments in China

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) plans to introduce legislation to block U.S. government pension funds from investing in Chinese stocks. Rubio is concerned about plans by a federal board that oversees billions of dollars of retirement savings for federal employees and the military, according to Reuters. That board said it would begin tracking a stock index that includes specific companies that Rubio says help the Chinese government's military activities, espionage, and human rights abuses. Although the board next month will reconsider its decision to track the index, Rubio said it was not clear that the board would act in the best interests of the United States.

MarineMax sales up, profit down

MarineMax Inc. (NYSE: HZO), a Clearwater recreational boat and yacht retailer, reported $40 million in net income, or $1.57 a share, on revenue of $1.24 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Revenue was up 5 percent but net income fell 8.5 percent compared to the prior fiscal year. Costs related to the company's store optimization plan and Hurricane Dorian cut into profit, but were partially offset by a final payment with the Deepwater Horizon settlement program, a news release said. Although the boating industry is "challenged," the company benefitted from the acquisition early in the fourth quarter of Fraser Yachts, a brokerage and service business, said Brett McGill, CEO. He said MarineMax would use the upcoming boat show season to bring inventory into line with industry trends.

Ruth Eckerd Hall plans to announce new CFO

Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc. said it will announce a new chief financial officer on Nov. 11. Lori Glover, who has been CFO since October 2012, is leaving the job at the end of this year, according to BroadwayWorld.com. Glover, who also has been vice president-finance of the Clearwater performing arts center since 2014, is the senior executive responsible for managing the financial aspects of the company, including overseeing the finances during a multi-phase $19 million renovation project. 

A-LIGN opens first international office

Tampa cybersecurity firm A-LIGN opened an office Sofia, Bulgaria. It's the company's first international expansion, a news release said. The international expansion allows A-LIGN to provide its clients cybersecurity services, such as penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, outside of business hours, said Scott Price, CEO. The fast-growing company, which has more than 300 employees who service 2,300 global organizations, opened an office in Denver in June.

St. Pete, Tampa rank high among startup cities

St. Petersburg and Tampa are both among the 50 cities nationwide on a new list of "best untapped cities for startups in 2020." The list, compiled by Fundera, an online small business financial resource, ranked cities based on their access to a talented labor pool, average labor cost, office space cost, average cost of living and proximity to a larger startup ecosystem. Tampa was No. 22 and St. Petersburg was No. 26. Each city had 52 venture capital deals between Q2 2016 and Q2 2019, according to Fundera.

Clearwater bank has a new owner

West Florida Bank Corp. has completed its previously announced acquisition of Flagship Community Bank, a Clearwater-based bank with about $121 million in total assets. West Florida, a newly created bank holding company, raised over $32 million in capital for the acquisition, said Paul Wikle, chairman. The company paid $14.57 per share for the outstanding shares of Flagship common stock, and Flagship shareholders can elect to receive cash, stock or a combination, a news release said. The West Florida team is made up of well-known local bankers, including Robert McGivney, who is CEO, Jim Nelson who is president and chief operating officer, and Rob Shaw, who is executive vice president.

Raymond James says fee cut will have small impact

A move by Raymond James Financial to cut fees for some of its advisors will have a $7 million to $8 million annual impact, CEO Paul Reilly said in a conference call with analysts. Reilly said it would be a small impact for Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), a St. Petersburg-based financial services firm. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the company reported a 21 percent increase in net income to $1.03 billion, or $7.17 a share, and a 6 percent jump in revenue to $7.7 billion. Lower interest rates and political and economic uncertainties may present challenges, Reilly said, but the company entered fiscal 2020 with a record number of private client group financial advisors, client assets under administration, and net loans at Raymond James Bank. 

Westshore interchange will get a $1.4 billion fix

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation announced $1.4 billion for the reconstruction of the Westshore area interchange in Tampa, at Interstate 275 and State Road 60. Reconstruction of the interchange in the Westshore Business District will help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety for motorists and promote continued economic growth, the governor's office said in news release. This project, set to take place in fiscal year 2023-2024, will connect the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Veterans Expressway and Tampa International Airport with additional general purpose and express lanes. It also will allow for the Westshore interchange to be coordinated with the reconstruction of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which will begin next year.

Tampa insurance firm closes up on first day of public trading

BRP Group Inc.,  the Tampa insurance distribution firm that does business as Baldwin Risk Partners LLC, is now a publicly traded company. After an initial public offering Thursday, the firm is trading on the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol BRP. The stock opened at $14 a share and rose as high as $17.80 during the day, dropping back to close at $16.37.  "The IPO represents a milestone for us," the company wrote in a note to partners. "As a publicly traded company we will have the opportunity to support enhanced services for clients, attract future partners, have a built-in succession plan for future generations and attract and retain talent and execute strategies to build shareholder value." The IPO won't change the vision to be regarded as the preeminent insurance advisory firm, the note said. BRP expected to raise as much as $300 million in the IPO.

Workforce remains top concern for Florida small business

Workforce quality continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index survey. It is the 10th quarter out of 11 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concerns, the chamber said. Economic uncertainty ranked No. 2 for the small businesses surveyed. Despite those concerns, 70 percent of the small businesses expect to have higher sales next year than during the previous year. See the full survey here

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