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Smashburger plans 35 new restaurants in Florida West Coast

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Smashburger opened its first Tampa location last week in South Tampa at 4035 South Dale Mabry Highway and plans to open at least 35 new restaurants along the Florida West Coast in the next 5 to 6 years.

The investment will cost $ 37 million dollars. Each location will employ 30 people, adding about 1,400 new jobs in total to the region.

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The Denver-based, fast-casual, burger concept is also located in Clearwater and Sarasota. Smashburger was founded in 2007 and serves “made-to-order, never frozen” burgers.

Their localized burger for the Tampa Bay area is the “Media Noche” burger, which contains smoked ham, aged Swiss cheese, pickles, red onion, and mustard on an egg bun. Local craft beer from the area will be a highlight of these locations.

Some would say the Tampa market is over-saturated with burger concepts. I don’t think that is necessarily the case.

There are just a number of low-quality, badly-managed, and overpriced restaurants that have expanded too much and you can see that playing out in the market with bankruptcies and retreats from locations.

The burger business is a $ 73 billion dollar business and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Smashburger is participating in the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Burger Week and serving their “Sin City Burger” from Vegas for the promotion for $ 6.69 plus tax. The burger features “signature Smash sauce (a mayo, mustard, relishy blend), topped with a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, and haystack onions”.

Instagram Photo

I stopped by last week for a taste and my favorite burger was the Truffle Mushroom Swiss. I thought about that burger days after visiting. I don’t care what food snobs say about truffle being overrated, I’ll take some on everything, thank you very much.


Carlos Eats

October 24, 2017 |

New owner announces expansion plans for TIA’s Jet Center

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The former Tampa International Jet Center at Tampa International Airport has a new owner and expansion plans are in the works.

  • New owner Sheltair plans to spend more then $ 5 million on improvements
  • Sheltair provides runways, maintenance services for private aircraft

The buyer, Sheltair, plans to spent more than $ 5 million dollars to build a 32,000 square foot hangar and executive offices on the property.
 
"We look at ourselves as the front door to the city for business," said Phil Botana, Sheltair General Manager.
 
The new hangar will include high tail doors to accommodate larger aircraft.
 
"There are a lot of people who are constantly asking us, ‘Do you have hangar space, do you have hangar space?’ and right now, we’re full," saod Warrem Kroeppel, Sheltair’s Chief Operating Officer. "We’re looking at the demand and we’re trying to satisfy the needs of the local community."
 
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the Sheltair expansion is a nice compliment to the major expansion already underway at TIA.
 
"People love coming to TIA. If you’re lucky enough to have a private jet, that experience will be matched here at this operation, so it’s good," said Buckhorn. "You know, money turns over in the local community, they’re going to hire more people, they’re going to retain the people that were here. It’s a win-win for everybody, both for the airport and the employees."
 
Sheltair provides runways, aircraft fueling, maintenance, hangar and other services for private aircraft.
 
The company plans to start construction on the new hangar soon and hopes to have it finished by the second quarter of 2017.

Bay News 9 – local-news

June 29, 2016 |

Designers present plans for St. Pete Pier approach

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St. Petersburg City Council members received an update Thursday from design teams on their plans for how the approach to the St. Pete Pier will look.

  • Designers hope to incorporate business, parks and event space
  • Rendering of concept plan expected by end of July

“Now we’re kind of at the point where we really understand all the issues.”, says Barbara Wilks, principal with W Architecture.“ And so getting this input, we’ll be able to start putting it into focus.”

That focus will involve creating a seamless transition between the bustling and vibrant Beach Drive restaurant and shopping district and the new pier.

Councilman Jim Kennedy says he likes what he sees so far.

"I think it was a good discussion as to how intense is that development going to be, discussions of how many restaurants or how much green space," said Kennedy. "So I think we’re going about it very methodically."

The designers hope to have a concept plan with rendering of the pier approach completed by the end of July.

Bay News 9 – local-news

June 9, 2016 |

Exit of research firm from Florida could damage governor’s economic plans

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After enjoying nearly a decade’s worth of taxpayer-funded incentives, a prominent health research firm is considering leaving Florida, a move that could deal a crippling blow to Gov. Rick Scott’s economic development agenda.

  • Sanford-Burnham discussing turning over Orlando research facility to University of Florida
  • Employees at facility would become state employees
  • Gov. Scott wants few state employees, more taxpayer money to create private jobs

The firm, Sanford-Burnham, is in discussions with the University of Florida to turn its Orlando research facility over to the state-run school. Billed as the crown jewel of a fledgling biotech ‘cluster’ when state and local leaders agreed to a $ 320 million incentive package in 2006, the facility is home to more than 250 jobs that would revert to the state’s payroll in the event of the firm’s exit.

That prospect is doubly troubling for Scott, who has made cutting the state government workforce and using taxpayer money to incentivize businesses to create jobs centerpieces of his economic development efforts.

"This news that this firm might be leaving the state is not surprising," said Rich Templin, a lobbyist for the Florida AFL-CIO. "It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s going to continue to happen until legislators become the adults in the room."

The Republican-controlled Legislature has, in fact, already put the brakes on much of Scott’s business incentive agenda, denying his request for $ 250 million in new incentive funding. Sanford-Burnham’s departure would join a string of taxpayer-subsidized projects that have failed to deliver and lead to increased public skepticism about the merits of using public funds to ostensibly create private sector jobs.

The governor, a former health care executive, has close ties to the business community, and through his political committee has accepted millions of dollars in contributions from many of the same companies seeking state incentive funding. Despite claims by critics that Scott is perpetuating politically-influenced ‘corporate welfare’, he says his focus is on growing Florida’s economy using widely accepted tools.

"We’ve got to look at how are we going to be competitive with other states that have programs where you can go out and incentivize companies to move or expand in your state," Scott said.

Bay News 9 – local-news

May 25, 2016 |

Pasco crafting improvement plans for consistently failing schools

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Several Pasco County Schools have been getting failing grades for the past few years. The district says its making them their top priority.

  • Six schools received "D" or "F" grades for two or more years
  • District working on improvement plans for all six schools
  • Improvement plans could include rewarding teachers for proven student success

Currently, six Pasco elementary schools have been getting ‘D’ or ‘F’ school grades for two or more years. Those schools include Gulfside Elementary, Gulf Highlands Elementary, Hudson Elementary, Pasco Elementary, Rodney B. Cox Elementary, and Lacoochee Elementary.

Hudson Elementary is the state’s biggest concern. It’s had a ‘D’ grade since 2010.

“We were a little bit concerned,” said parent Kerry Duck.

The district is working on improvement plans for all six schools to be implemented next year.

Hudson Elementary already has a head start with a new principal, Dawn Scilex. Scilex came from Fox Hollow after changing its grade from an ‘F’ to a ‘C’ in three years.

Scilex says part of it was focusing on her teachers.

“We are providing additional professional development throughout the year, so they have time outside of their contract time that they’ll be compensated for,” said Scilex. “We are also bringing instructional coaches to the campuses."

Part of the improvement plan could also include rewarding teachers for proven student success. It will be different than what Lacoochee Elementary had done in the past, giving teachers bonuses for just working there. The teachers still left.  

Now the district hopes to fill vacancies. The district has been holding job fairs, as well as going out of state to recruit high quality teachers to fill the roughly 180 openings throughout the district for next year.

The plan is to recruit high quality teachers and student services staff, which is something parents like Duck like to hear.

“It’s really important for me that my daughter comes to school excited to learn every day and has these wonderful teachers that encourage her and support her," said Duck.

Bay News 9 – local-news

May 8, 2016 |

State utilities present 2016 hurricane season readiness plans

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It’s been more than a decade since a series of major hurricanes battered Florida’s electrical grid. Despite all that time passed, many state utility customers are still paying a monthly surcharge to cover the losses.

Such surcharges might be unavoidable in the wake of hurricanes that leave multi-billion dollar losses in their wake.

However, utilities companies have been called upon by the state’s Public Service Commission to show how future losses might be avoided by creating storm readiness plans.

Utility executives told state regulators Wednesday at a commission hearting they’re confident their companies’ equipment and personnel are capable of handling virtually anything the 2016 hurricane season throws Florida’s way.

"The network of support and cooperation between utilities nationally is much stronger today than it was back then, in those ’04 and ’05 years," said Duke Energy Director of Power Quality and Reliability Jason Cutliffe. "And so, we all learned from sending our folks out of state."

The plans include fortifying power poles and eliminating trees that pose a threat to power lines and transformers. The plans also refer to implementing best practices developed over the past ten years.

Bay News 9 – local-news

March 30, 2016 |
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