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St. Pete officials take up exemption to storefront plan

A proposed amendment that would exempt some buildings from St. Petersburg's newly approved Storefront Conservation Corridor Overlay cleared a hurdle Wednesday, when the Development Review Commission unanimously agreed the proposal was consistent with the city's comprehensive plan.  The Storefront Overlay regulates storefront size and design in an effort to discourage chains on Central Avenue and Beach Drive downtown. It was approved over the objections of some developers. The proposed amendment would exempt structures built before 1970 that are designated as local landmarks or that could qualify for local landmark status if the property owner asks for that designation. The city council will review the proposed amendment Thursday at a first reading, with a public hearing and vote set for June 13.

St. Pete tech firm wins award

A virtual care and patient engagement platform developed by St. Pete tech firm Synzi won the “Best Patient Relationship Management Solution” from MedTech Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies and solutions in the global health and medical technology market. The platform allows users to leverage everyday devices such as smartphones, tablets, and PCs, with staff engaging patients with video-based virtual visits, email, text, SMS, and secure messaging.

Guardian Protection partners with Minor League Baseball

Security solution provider Guardian Protection will become the "Official Smart Home Security Partner of MiLB" under a partnership with St. Petersburg-based Minor League Baseball.  Financial terms of the multi-year partnership were not disclosed in a news release announcing the deal. Guardian's brand will be included on in-park signage, in promotional materials, and in national marketing programs and events throughout the season with 13 teams, including the Tampa Tarpons. In conjunction with this partnership, Guardian and MiLB will also team up to support the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.

Wannemacher Jensen breaks ground on The Mirror

Leaders from Wannemacher Jensen Architects/WJCreate turned the first shovels of dirt Tuesday for The Mirror, a 34,000-square-foot mixed-use office and condominium building on Mirror Lake. The six-floor building includes four levels of office space along with two floors of residential condos. Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said it will be the first new construction office building in downtown St. Petersburg since Signature Place.

Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg hires Senior Director of Policy, Strategy and Legal Services

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg announced the hiring of a new senior team member in a press release Tuesday. They welcome Dawn Hunter, JD, MPH to their team as Senior Director of Policy, Strategy and Legal Services. According to the press release, Hunter will establish a policy program, develop advocacy efforts in support of policy initiatives, and guide the strategy of the organization. Most recently, Hunter worked at the New Mexico Department of Health, where she served as Director of Health Equity, Policy Director, and Deputy Cabinet Secretary.  Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Princeton University, a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida, and a Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law. She is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners and is a member of the Florida Bar.

Paradise Advertising & Marketing lands Kahwa Coffee

Paradise, a St. Petersburg-based full-service brand advertising agency, announced Kahwa Coffee Roasting Company as the agency's 4th new client of 2019. Since its founding in 2006, Kahwa has grown to become Florida's largest independent coffee roaster. It has 14 cafes and kiosks in Tampa Bay and can found in more than 800 establishments, including Publix, Lucky's Market, Whole Foods, and Tampa International Airport.

CVS expands health offerings in Tampa

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS)  is expanding its HealthHUBs to build on the success of its pilot program in Houston, Texas. The company will open additional HealthHUBs in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey and Tampa this year, and plans to have 1,500 total HealthHUBs operating by the end of 2021, a news release said. HealthHUBs offer a broader range of health care services, new product categories, digital tools and on-demand health kiosks, advice and personalized care.

iQor revamps

iQor has completed the sale of its logistics and product service assets in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and certain non-core assets in the United States. This transaction allows iQor, based in St. Petersburg, to focus on its rapidly expanding end-to-end customer strategy which is a key component of supporting its business process outsourcing customers in North America, a news release said. Staple Street Capital, a private investment firm, bought the divested business and will rename it Ivy Technology. iQor's remaining logistics footprint will support 450 million consumers in the United States and Mexico and the company will have about $1 billion in revenue.  

Former Tampa banker has a new role with Fifth Third

Brian Lamb was named head of retail banking for Fifth Third Bank effective at the start of this month. Lamb previously headed wealth and asset management for Cincinnati, Ohio-based Fifth Third (Nasdaq: FITB). In his new position, Lamb is responsible for the bank's retail and securities line of business, which includes about $3.2 billion in revenue, 4 million consumer households and 10,000 employees. It makes up about 45 percent of the bank's revenue. "I’m excited about the opportunity to lead the continued growth and focus on this business for the bank," Lamb told the St. Pete Catalyst. Lamb was president of the bank's Tampa Bay region from 2011 to 2016 and is former chairman of the USF Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the State University System of Florida Board of Governors. 

Clearwater company has new owner

GoodWest Industries has acquired Jordan’s Skinny Mixes, a Clearwater-based provider of low-calorie coffee syrups, whipped toppings and beverage mixes. Financial terms were not disclosed in a news release. Jordan Engelhardt, who founded Skinny Mixes in 2009, is expected to stay on. GoodWest, based in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, is a national provider of coffee condiments and is a portfolio company of Palladium Equity Partners. 

iSocrates a finalist for ‘companies to watch’

iSocrates is among the first round of the 2019 Florida Companies to Watch finalists recently announced by GrowFL. The digital media company, which recently relocated to St. Petersburg, and other finalists were chosen from an initial field of 224 growing second-stage firms throughout Florida. Finalists now advance to the second round, where they will be further evaluated based on their performance in the marketplace, innovative products, services or processes, philanthropy and empowered employees. Honorees for this year’s award will be announced in July.

Duke Energy speeds up plan to demolish Crystal River nuclear plant

Duke Energy plans to decommission its previously retired Crystal River nuclear plant by 2027 – nearly 50 years sooner than originally scheduled. Decommissioning a power plant involves removing, packaging and shipping radioactive materials to a licensed facility and then demolishing buildings. Duke (NYSE: DUK) has $717 million in a trust fund to pay for the decommissioning, a news release said. The plan is subject to regulatory approval. The Crystal River plant is about 85 miles north of Tampa. 

The St. Pete Catalyst

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