Big ideas generate boom in investment
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 11:17 a.m.
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After 2 1/2 years of community workshops, the Plum Creek timber company has submitted a long-term master plan for nearly 61,000 acres in Alachua County.
The company, which owns a total of 65,000 acres, is proposing to develop 11,000 acres between Newnan's Lake and Hawthorne to include up to 14 million square feet of commercial space and up to 10,500 homes. The company plans to place 23,000 acres in conservation while retaining timber rights, on top of the 24,000 acres already in conservation. Smaller allotments are earmarked for agriculture and rural land. County staff will review the plan before sending it to the county planning commission, county commission, state and back to the county commission for a final vote in about a year.
Infinite Energy was named Best Overall Large Business and PeerFly was Best Overall Small Business at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards. Infinite Energy has 370 employees and provides natural gas services in four states and electricity in Texas. The company has been named one of the best companies to work for by Florida Trend magazine in four of the past five years. PeerFly has 12 employees and provides internet marketing to about 2,000 clients in 150 countries after 4 1/2 years in business. Other winners were: Mindtree, International Business Award; RTI Surgical, Best Business Expansion; Mobiquity, Best New Business; neutral7 design group, Best Minority-Owned Business; ProActive Tax and Accounting, Leading Women's Enterprise; and Peaceful Paths, Best Nonprofit. … Jim Painter of Painter Masonry was named Builder of the Year by the Florida Home Builders Association for his efforts to train young people in construction trades and his advocacy from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C., on behalf of the construction industry. Painter is the first mason contractor to win the award and the fourth winner from Gainesville, following George Kirkpatrick Jr. in 1981, A.W. Fletcher in 1982 and Barry Rutenberg in 1994.
Beer and (e)cigarettes
Swamp Head Brewery and Ovale USA, an e-cigarette distributor, recently announced that they will be constructing new buildings as part of expansion plans. Since Swamp Head's current brewery might be demolished to make way for an Interstate 75 overpass, the company is taking advantage of the situation and doubling its space with a new 13,300-square-foot brewery and tasting room off of Southwest 42nd Avenue near Alley Katz Lanes. Construction is scheduled to start in April.
Ovale, which distributes e-cigs to 230 stores nationwide from a small Gainesville retail store, plans to build a 7,500-square-foot warehouse in the 55th Place Industrial Park off of U.S. 441 and start manufacturing flavored liquid nicotine locally.
Prioria Robotics was awarded $4.5 million worth of contracts to produce 36 small unmanned aircrafts and 12 ground control stations for the U.S. Army. CEO Bryan da Frota says the contracts will allow the company to meet its goal of creating 40 new jobs over four years as part of its application for tax rebates. … Gainesville-based Foresight Construction Group landed a contract that could be worth up to $4 million to provide construction services for a year at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. … Paracosm has secured $800,000 in private and public funding to advance its 3D modeling and navigation software. The funding includes $500,000 from private investors and a $300,000 match from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. … Anamar Environmental Consulting was awarded a 10-year contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor tide, current and water level data in U.S. waters for use by the maritime industry. ... Spin Chill raised $40,000 — four times its goal — through a crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter.com to produce its beer-chilling inventions. The Chill Bit and Beerouette attach to cans and bottles to spin beer in ice water and provide a cool drink in 30 to 60 seconds without the foamy side effects. The inventions were created by University of Florida mechanical engineering students Trevor Abbott and Ty Parker.
Bob Kloepfer, 56, was named president of Environmental Consulting and Technology, leading a firm with more than 200 employees in 19 offices nationwide, including 45 at its Gainesville headquarters. In his last position, he was global director of environment and energy for a 1,200-person division of London-based WSP Environment and Energy.
Consolidated Moving & Transport LLC, www.consolidatedmove.com; Five Bar, 104 S Main St. ZoŽs Kitchen, 3730 SW Archer Rd., No. 200.
Corks & Colors to Westgate Regency Center, 3401 W. University Ave.; Tucker Chiropractic to 4041 NW 37th Place, Suite A.