Monday, December 22, 2008


"GO GREEN". State of Florida, with the leadership of the Governor, is going green with many incentives in place and many more to come. Is it the right thing to do? This can be argued, however, it is happening and the State of Florida is putting their money where there mouth is. Take a look below and see where the State of Florida is going.

Raising the Green Bar
By John M. Dunn

Lauderdale-based Stiles Corporation is part of the new building trend.
Recently, the company completed its 130,000 square-foot, multi-tenant Lake Shore Plaza II in Sunrise — the first such structure in Broward County to be certified by a third-party rating system that uses Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs (LEED) standards, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council as national benchmarks for green design, construction and operation.
Getting LEED certified is a relatively new idea in Florida, but the concept is spreading. Last year, New College in Sarasota opened five new student residence halls built to LEED specifics. The City of Orlando also has undertaken green efforts. Recently, the city built a new LEED-certified fire station, and to demonstrate that eco-friendly homes can be affordable, officials obtained community help in constructing a $120,000 bungalow for a local resident, which earned a platinum rating — LEED’s highest honor. So far, only eight new homes in Florida are LEED certified, but those numbers are expected to rise.
Another industry group, the non-profit Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), has its own green building certification standards. So far, it has certified almost 1,000 green homes in Florida. The coalition also bestows a Local Government Standard upon qualifying cities and counties for their environmental stewardship. St. Petersburg was FGBC’s first green city recipient, and Pinellas County the first green county.
Florida builders have yet a third green certification process — one created by the National Association of Homebuilders.
Why bother to get certified at all?
“Most builders who build green do so as part of their ethics,” says Eric Martin, senior research engineer with the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research facility at the University of Central Florida, which provides verification for LEED certification projects.
But there are other motivations, Martin adds: “A lot of builders are going green to get a market advantage over the competition.” They also understand that a growing number of consumers now seek construction that offers future savings accrued from reduced use of electricity, water, maintenance and disaster mitigation. The rigorous certification process, Martin points out, also provides high “quality control management” that reduces call-backs and complaints.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I believe this gentlemen below has hit it on the head. This will also hold true for our local economy. Are we ready? With little or no new quality and affordable home building being done in the last couple of years and the reduction of military housing, we could go from famine to feast very quickly. The customer is demanding more for their dollar. This will demand builders to seek efficiencies in their building process and thinking outside the box. The customer is always right.

Financial mogul Sam Zell, beleaguered owner of the Tribune Co. that declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, told an Israeli business conference Sunday that the U.S. real estate market will be in recovery by spring 2009. Zell pointed out that the U.S. population is growing, and with fewer than 600,000 building starts in 2008, a million fewer than any of the last 10 years, demand for housing will rise. Zell blamed the current crisis - at least in part - on ill-considered decisions. "We are living through our first Blackberry recession where, literally, information is instantly disseminated around the world and people, in effect, respond to it, perhaps, often without any particular caution or attention," he said.


The rates are out with increases for the upcoming year. If you need further information, please don't hesitate to give me a call. As a Former Military Housing Director for the Southeast United States, I am very familiar with the process and the impact it has on the military pay system.

The 2009 Basic Allowance for Housing payment rates are now available. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. BAH provides uniformed servicemembers accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided. Since 2007 the BAH rates are now following the cost increases of the local rental housing markets. Although BAH rates will generally either remain stable or increase, there may be some areas that decrease due to a decreasing local rental market.


E-1 1204
E-2 1204
E-3 1204
E-4 1204
E-5 1211
E-6 1418
E-7 1456
E-8 1497
E-9 1575
W-1 1419
W-2 1473
W-3 1523
W-4 1575
W-5 1678
O1E 1464
O2E 1515
O3E 1607
O-1 1235
O-2 1413
O-3 1521
O-4 1713
O-5 1848
O-6 1863
O-7 1894


E-1 903
E-2 903
E-3 903
E-4 903
E-5 1091
E-6 1197
E-7 1204
E-8 1252
E-9 1316
W-1 1201
W-2 1251
W-3 1322
W-4 1428
W-5 1465
O1E 1211
O2E 1302
O3E 1418
O-1 1196
O-2 1208
O-3 1344
O-4 1460
O-5 1485
O-6 1523
O-7 1553

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Is the area ready for the normal transition of military personnel to the area? Approximately 25-30% of the number of personnel assigned to a military installation are transferred out, which means the same number are transferred in. With this in mind, the number of military homes being demolished on the Eglin AFB now, and the assignment of new positions to Eglin AFB and the surrounding military installations in the upcoming months, it could get interesting. Now, take the finacial world of the active, retired, and former military, and the benefits of buying to them, it makes it even more interesting. Just take a look at the VA Guaranteed Loan Program, available them. A VA mortgage loan can be guaranteed with no money down, in some cases up to $417,000. There is also no private mortgage insurance requirement with a VA guaranteed loan, which could offer you substantial savings on your monthly payment. You can even use your VA Loan benefit to refinance an existing loan – even if it is not a VA Loan. Sounds interesting. 2009, I expect will be a tremendous year in our market, provided we have quality homes available to this large group of customers. Any questions, give me a call or view some of my past Blog Entries. GREAT INFORMATION!!!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Army's 7th Special Forces Group Families vist the Area

The 7th Special Forces group and their families begin to get the feet wet and visit the area in preparation to their arrival. This is a major step and it outlines the need of the families of this very special group. Any advise I could give you from information I receive is; Get ready NOW!!! and don't miss the boat.

7th Special Forces contingent takes in the Emerald Coast
Trio will return to Fort Bragg with information for spouses who are nervous about move
By MONA MOORE Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4443

CRESTVIEW — Three assistants from Fort Bragg’s Family Readiness Group dipped their toes in the Emerald Coast this week. They toured Eglin Air Force Base, Destin, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach to gather information to take back to families of the Army 7th Special Forces Group, which will move to Okaloosa County in 2011 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Three years is not much time for the Special Forces. The group will return to Fort Bragg from deployment in March and be deployed again by May. When the unit returns home again, it will be for the move. Crestview officials organizing the three-day tour that focused on schools, jobs and resources available in their city. Darlene Thornton, one of the assistants with the Family Readiness Group, said families’ greatest concerns are child care, education and employment opportunities for spouses. The group came armed with questions from the families. The tour left a great impression on the trio. Thornton said the Special Forces will leave its North Carolina base, where they are one small group in a sea of 150,000 soldiers. “For us to bring 5,000 to a community with open arms … we’re just blown away,” Thornton said. They learned that local homes offer more square footage for the money than those in North Carolina. Readiness Group assistant Felecia Neal said many of the soldiers were less than 25 years old with three or four children. The families live in base housing because there are few affordable options. Coming to Eglin will be a challenge because the base is in the middle of private housing; the families must find homes in surrounding communities, she said. Crestview officials assured the visitors that the soldiers can afford to call their city home. The Readiness Group said the Okaloosa County School District will be important to families. The women met with Superintendent of Schools Alexis Tibbetts and principals at Crestview High School, Davidson Middle School and Antioch Elementary School. After tours Monday and Tuesday, the Family Readiness Group met Wednesday with Crestview City Council members and heads of the recreation, water and sewer, police and the fire departments. City officials painted the city as a haven for families who want a safe, smalltown lifestyle with access to beaches and metropolitan areas. “We practice community-oriented policing,” said police officer Richard Long. “There’s always some kind of event going on,” Fire Chief Joe Traylor added of family events from Destin to Pensacola. He also noted that a fourth fire station to be built will put firefighters within 5 minutes of residents. “We are ecstatic that you are coming here,” said Councilman Charles Baugh. City officials and members of the Readiness Group left the meeting with a better understanding of how the Special Forces Group will affect the county. “A lot of our soldiers don’t go to Iraq. They go to (the country of) Panama,” Thornton said. “So instead of bringing trinkets back, they bring families back.” The women asked about crime rates, curfews, recreation and public transportation. Many spouses rely on public transportation, speak English as a second language and have Fort Bragg as their only reference of the United States. The women are afraid of what they will find in Okaloosa County. For many of the families, the transfer to the Emerald Coast will be the first permanent move they have made, the women said. The soldiers have been known to begin and end their military careers at the same base, so families root themselves in the community, Thornton said. “We like people that want to be part of the community,” Baugh said. “We’re praying that you will want to make Crestview your roots.” Some spouses have worried that 4-bedroom homes would cost $500,000, that they would get blown away in hurricanes and find alligators in their toilets. “I’ve heard some crazy things from our spouses,” Neal said. The answers the Readiness Group will return with will help some spouses decide whether to relocate. Their roots are so deep at Fort Bragg that some of them are considering staying put. Spouses say that for the few months soldiers are home, they can drive up to North Carolina on weekends. “Because I’m used to him being gone, he can get used to me being gone,” Neal said. She said she and her colleagues will give spouses an honest impression of the area. “We’re trying to lay their fears to rest,” Neal said.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Location, Location, Location. This local story continues to demonstrate the buyer is looking for good projects at an affordable price in a good location. As noted in previous blog entries, a high demand is coming upon us and supply is dwindling. Success stories like this one will be one of many in the upcoming months, as long as builders listen to the customer and provide a high quality homes.

Northwest Florida Daily News Story - December 7, 2008
Slump? What slump?

Some local developments, like Meridian Square Townhomes, are reporting brisk sales
Special to the Daily News Despite the economic downturn, some local projects are reporting steady sales. One is Meridian Square Townhomes, a new development in Fort Walton Beach. The townhomes are targeted as affordable, wellbuilt housing within a stone’s throw of Hurlburt Field’s back gate. Sales are brisk despite the economic slump, says Jay Ghosh, a spokesman for Okaloosa Properties LLC, which ultimately plans to build 66 three- and fourbedroom townhomes on six acres off Martin Luther King Boulevard, next to Heather Glenn Apartments. The two-story townhomes are close to the base, the joint campus of Northwest Florida State College/the University of West Florida and the businesses in the city’s Industrial Park. “We’ve already built the first 24 units and we’ve sold 23 of them in the last 90 days,” says Ghosh, “proving that, even in this real estate market, if something’s priced right and in a good location, it will sell.” The townhomes range in size from 1,750 to 1,900 square feet, depending on the floor plan, and feature such amenities as stucco, tile and granite counter tops. They are energy efficient and hurricane resistant, with low-energy windows. Buyers so far have been mostly military personnel who plan to live in the townhomes, which all have ample kitchens, good-sized living rooms, well-designed master bedrooms and one-car garages. The fourbedroom models have three full bathrooms and the three-bedroom models have 2½ baths. “What’s great about this project is its location, which is ideal for people who work at Hurlburt Field,” Ghosh says. “They will be living less than half a mile from the base’s back gate. And at under $100 a square foot, it’s a very good price.” Shiloh Builders of Fort Walton Beach has begun work on the second phase of the development. An additional 12 units are currently under construction and 12 more will be under way in January.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's Association, I get the opportunity to visit with the senior officials in the local area. This morning, I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with the Eglin Base Commander. One of my discussions was the Privatization of the Military Housing at Eglin. He noted, the RFP for the Privatization was on hold; however they were continuing to demolished the existing homes to approximately 1300 units. The original number of units at Eglin was approximately 2750. This will place a additional demand on the present supply in the upcoming months. As I have noted in my past blogs, there is an enormous amount activity coming to our area and the need for quality homes is a must. Please read through my previous Blogs or give me a call for further details.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The Baby Boomers are looking to our area for a place to stay. Not only is this a great place for retired military to settle down and call home. Others have found the panhandle of Florida to be a great place, as well. Below are some thoughts in the minds of this generation on what they expect for the retirement home.


At least one in four baby boomer generation couples and individuals expect to move to a more age-appropriate home in their retirement years, according to a study by Opinion Research Corporation, commissioned by AARP. Most boomers say they would like to stay in their current home for as long as possible, but many feel they will most likely move to a more suitable residence in the future. Most of those who expect to move will be looking for a better home for retirement living. Many will be seeking a better climate, and perhaps a home that's closer to family members and friends, the study noted.More than half of boomers (age 45 to 64) plan to move into a one level home. Older boomers are significantly more likely than younger boomers to want a single level home. And about half of them will be seeking a smaller home. Interestingly, boomer men are more likely than women to believe they will move into a home located in a warmer or better climate. Boomer women are more likely than men to think they will move into a smaller home, probably with an eye toward reduced housekeeping responsibilities."While boomers will reflect the patterns of earlier generations and mostly age in place, the sheer number of boomers will increase demand for a whole variety of home and community options," said Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president of AARP. The number of persons age 65 and older is expected to grow to 70 million by 2030.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Before I start, Happy Thanksgiving to All. As we have seen, the real estate market has had some ups and downs. But, as I have been conveying to you, the Northwest Florida market is prime for a number of opportunities. Some of them are;

1) The Military BRAC decision, which is moving thousand of military personnel to the area, along with some unique Defense Programs that brings additional Defense Contracting personnel.
2) The new International Airport in Panama City (See below and other Blog entries).
3) The new Research Campus outside the gates of Eglin Air Force Base.
4) Florida A&M University decision to move a Campus with four degree programs to the downtown district of Crestview, Florida.
5) The modernization of the Crestview Industrial Airport on the north side of town, which employs thousands of jobs, which plans to add thousands more. Thanks to the State of Florida by giving Okaloosa County millions of dollars for improvements and placing it in an "Florida Enterprise Zone". It should be noted, this airport is one of the most unique in the South and will attract a number of Defense Contractors and Non-Defense Contractors, alike.
6) The Privatization of Military Housing, which is reducing the number of homes by over a thousand and relying on the local community to absorb the need. This iniatitive is the desire of the military, which is to reduce their housing inventory and empower the service personnel to use their Basic Allowance of Housing and let them make their on choices. This is a more cost effective way of meeting the needs of the uniform personnel. Note: I am a former Military Housing Director for the South United States.
7) A new Military Resort on the Beaches of Fort Walton Beach. Request for Qualification has already to sent out.
8) A new Lifestyle Center for shopping (Replacing the Exchange and Commissary on Base)outside the gates of Eglin AFB for both active duty and retired personnel. Eglin AFB was named one of the first to have such a Lifestyle Center built. Request for Proposal to be released shortly.
9) And so much more.

So, continue to stay tuned. Their is more on the way. The I-10 corridor is a very unique area from Mobile, AL to Jacksonville, FL, with Okaloosa/Walton County being in the middle of it all. I am always ready to talk in detail, just give me a call at 1-888-389-3665.

A shorter runway may be added to new airport
5,000-foot span would relieve flight traffic
By PAT KELLY Florida Freedom Newspapers (850) 747-5076

PANAMA CITY — The Panama City-Bay County Airport Authority has set a Dec. 19 deadline to a vote on what Chairman Joe Tannehill calls “the last piece of the puzzle” for the international airport under construction. The hope is to add a 5,000-foot crosswind runway that will handle smaller aircraft and make traffic less congested on the 10,000-foot concrete runway now being built. Tannehill said Airport Authority members want to move forward so the smaller runway can be completed by the airport’s opening in May 2010. The shorter asphalt runway will be used by smaller commercial aircraft and corporate jets. That adds a crucial safety factor that pilots of larger international flights should find comforting, Tannehill said. Completion of the crosswind runway is not necessary for the $318 million airport to open in May 2010, “but we are trying to get the runway down with the money we now have available,” he said. The asphalt runway should cost about $18 million, far less than the $98 million runway that will handle heavier aircraft and last up to 40 years. The Airport Authority should have the money for the second runway, Tannehill said. The airport is $17 million under budget and there is about $17 million in untapped contingency funds. Another reason for the Dec. 19 deadline is that Phoenix Construction Services is about 55 percent finished with the longer runway. The company will move some of its equipment from the site within 60 days, Tannehill said. If the crosswind runway decision is delayed and Phoenix is forced to move equipment back to the site, the runway’s cost could increase.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Construction on Hwy 331 just South of Freeport Begins

This is just another step in meeting the continuing growth of the Freeport and the surrounding area. I believe the Freeport area is on the move with the additional highway section of Hwy 331, planned Publix's Grocery store, and the completion of the new international airport on the horizon. Stay tuned, more to follow.

U.S. 331 widening to begin
The $10.4 million project, to start next month, is expected to ease hurricane evacuations in South Walton County
By KIMBERLY WHITE Florida Freedom Newspapers 654-6905, Ext. 244

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Construction crews are expected to begin widening U.S. Highway 331 from the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to U.S. Highway 98 next month. Workers recently finished clearing vegetation along the stretch and are laying new drainage pipes, said a representative of C.W. Roberts Contracting. The $10.4 million project — which includes new traffic signals, sidewalks and bicycle lanes — is expected to be completed in 2010, said Tommie Speights, district spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. No major traffic delays are expected because construction will be done off the road, he said. The work is part of a multiphased project that Walton County commissioners say will boost economic development and provide a better hurricane evacuation route. County commissioners want U.S. 331 to be widened to Interstate 10, including widening the Clyde B. Wells Bridge to four lanes. But Speights said it’s not clear if or when funding will be available. The DOT “works off of a five-year work program, and right now construction is not in the five-year work program,” he said. In October, commissioners met with Florida Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelousos to make their case for the project. Speights said he has not heard back on the status of their request

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Army is coming. The Army is coming. One of the final hurdles is completed and the troops are on their way. Infrastructure is either being planned or all ready being started. This is great news for the Crestview and surrounding area. The below was a story released on Saturday, November 22, 2008.

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to have new home west of Duke Field
By MONA MOORE Florida Freedom Newspapers 315-4443

EGLIN AFB — The Air Force signed a Record of Decision on Thursday to bring the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to Eglin Air Force Base as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure changes. An area four miles west of Duke Field will be the Army unit’s home. The 500-acre area spans from Duck Pond on the west to Gopher Creek on the east. With easy access to Duke Field for frequent deployments and room for expansion, the locations for the range and base were Eglin’s preferred choices. The 7th Special Forces Group’s base will include operations and maintenance facilities, a dining area and facilities for munitions storage and loading. The base will have dormitories but will not include family housing. The range will be a 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from the Army base. Noise also played a factor in the decision. The location is outside Duke and Eglin’s 65-decibel average noise level area. That is important because many of the soldiers sleep during the day when air operations at Eglin are at the highest, Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, said Friday during a teleconference with media. Col. Bruce McClintock, commander of the 96th Air Base Wing, said the Record of Decision for the realignment of the Special Forces Group was the highlight of the day. “It’s just the next step for Eglin to become a premier installation,” he said. Construction of the dorms and compound will start in 2009. The cost will be $382 million. The Army will begin moving 2,200 soldiers and 4,600 family members from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Eglin in late spring. Relocations will continue through 2011.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


They are coming and they are buying homes. Are we ready? Where are they buying? Do we have enough quality homes available in our area? What does the customer want? All great questions. The news is good and I expect it will get better in our area. The key is quality homes available and the demand for those quality built homes. Supply and demand of quality homes. It is that simple. The below is some great news for the future and something we will all be watching closely.

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18, 2008 – Sales of existing single-family homes in Florida rose 5 percent in third quarter 2008 compared to the same period last year, according to the latest housing statistics from the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). A total of 33,203 existing homes sold statewide in 3Q 2008; during the same period last year, a total of 31,558 existing homes sold statewide. “Coming on the heels of positive sales activity in September, Florida’s existing home sales are once again above year-ago levels in the third quarter,” says 2008 FAR President Chuck Bonfiglio. “Despite lending restrictions and the difficulties of finding affordable credit, we’re seeing buyers take advantage of homeownership opportunities in the current market – buyers who want to make a long-term investment in their future. And, more than ever, people are turning to Florida Realtors to find the professional expertise, knowledge and friendly guidance they need to make the complex process of buying or selling their home go more easily and smoothly.”The statewide existing-home median sales price was $185,400 in the third quarter; a year ago, it was $233,200 for a decrease of 20 percent. In 2003, the third-quarter statewide median sales price was $163,700, which reflects an increase of about 13.3 percent over the five-year period. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.Twelve of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased sales of existing homes in the third quarter compared to the same three-month-period a year ago, while seven MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. A number of local markets have reported increased sales activity over the past few months, according to FAR.Florida Realtors continued to report positive signs for the state’s housing sector in the third quarter, including an increase in pending home sales (based on contracts signed but not closed) and a slower rate of expansion of inventory levels in some areas.To gain insight into current trends in Florida’s real estate industry, the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies conducts a quarterly survey of industry executives, market research economists, real estate scholars and other experts. According to the third quarter 2008 survey, the investment outlook for various types of properties remains steady. “People who have responded to our surveys have not lost their faith in Florida as a place to be and a place to invest,” said Dr. Wayne Archer, director of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. “We have 40 pages of comments from our respondents, and although the dominant theme is the disruption of financing, perhaps the second theme, as one person put it, is people being on the sidelines with full pads and helmets just waiting to jump back in.”Over the long term, Florida stands to benefit from the migration of new residents, particularly as baby boomers age, Archer said, adding that the Sunshine State’s mild climate and outdoor amenities continue to make it an attractive retirement destination.In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for condo sales, 9,472 units sold statewide for the quarter compared to 9,680 in 3Q 2007 for a 2 percent decrease. The statewide existing-condo median sales price was $160,000 for the three-month period; in 3Q 2007, it was $196,000 for an 18 percent decrease.Continuing low mortgage rates remain another favorable influence on the housing sector. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.32 percent in third quarter 2008; one year earlier, it averaged 6.55 percent.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Planned Natural Gas Line to Cross Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties

Local municipalities taking the steps to meet the demands of the major growth coming to the Panhandle of Florida. Great job to all concern. I hope this news gets widely disseminated to demonstrate the committment by our local governments to think ahead. But don't stop hear, the word on the street is the folks coming are looking for more, such as, better housing, shopping, medical care, and much more.

Planned natural gas line to cross Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton
When completed, it will bring 820 million more cubic feet of natural gas to Florida
By DUSTY RICKETTS Florida Freedom Newspapers 315-4448
Florida’s portion of a 5,000-mile natural gas pipeline across five states could soon undergo a $2.45 billion expansion. Florida Gas Transmission Co. filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late last month to add 483 miles of pipe in the state to increase the amount of natural gas that can be provided. The project would include laying an additional pipeline in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. “The population continues to increase and the need for additional power continues to grow as people have more computers and more televisions, and those things stay on all the time,” said John Barnett, director of external affairs for the Southern Union Co., part owner of Florida Gas Transmission. “About 85 percent of the natural gas that gets consumed in Florida is used to generate electricity. Most of our customers are local utility companies.” Florida Gas Transmission hopes to start construction in early 2010. Barnett said the company hopes the new pipeline is up and running by the spring of 2011. Construction is not expected to interfere with existing pipelines. The pipeline runs from south Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It delivers 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The proposed extension would would pump an additional 820 million cubic feet of natural gas to Florida daily. Much of the extra gas — 400 million cubic feet — will be used by Florida Power and Light for new power plants, Barnett said. “We do project that Florida will need that amount of gas,” he said. Utility companies already have reserved about 90 percent of the additional fuel. In addition to building the new pipeline in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties, a compressor station in Santa Rosa will be upgraded.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


GO GREEN!!!!!!!! It is the right thing to do.

Study says: 48% of homeowners would spend $2,500 or more to green up for resale

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Nov. 6, 2008 – A Better Homes and Gardens survey conducted at home shows in 15 cities across the country gauging consumer environmental practices suggests that many Americans are going green when it comes to their homes. Despite “cost” being singled out by 36 percent of respondents as the greatest impediment to going green, half of those surveyed have paid more money for an energy efficient product in the past 12 months and one in three homeowners (30 percent) claim they would be willing to spend $5,000 or more on green improvements to increase a home’s appeal to potential buyers.The findings are the result of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Living Green Consumer Survey, which looked at responses from over 2,300 consumers. The results are being announced as a part of the Better Homes and Gardens and Green Works Living Green Tour finale – the culmination of an eight-month, 15-city tour promoting healthy and environmentally friendly living. Launched in February 2008 by Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Green Works Natural Cleaners, the tour featured a 2,500 square-foot Living Green Home, which showcased how small changes can impact the energy efficiency of everyday homes.“As their environmental awareness grows, American homeowners are beginning to take action on green issues and are willing to spend their money accordingly,” explained Sherry Chris, president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “These survey results confirm homeowners are identifying greater value in green and when the time comes to sell their homes, they will look to convert high consumer awareness levels on the green issue into a market differentiator.”Additional survey findings revealed that 82 percent of respondents believe they are informed when it comes to issues pertaining to the environment. When preparing to buy or sell a home, more than half of those surveyed (51 percent) believe in the importance of working with a green certified real estate agent – professionals who can assist in the identification and marketing of homes with high green quotient. This would include knowledge in regards to housing materials and construction, energy efficient appliances and systems, as well as the impact of landscaping on a home’s environmental footprint. In the cities of Hartford, Conn., Greenville, S.C., and San Francisco, two out of three respondents indicated that working with a green agent would be important.Some of the other factors keeping survey respondents from being greener included convenience, 22 percent; lack of knowledge on how to, 18 percent; and lack of time, 17 percent. However, many consumers reported engaging in “eco-friendly’ or “green” acts in the past six months, including recycling, 73 percent; replacing incandescent lights with CFLs, 69 percent; conserving water, 57 percent; adjusting the thermostat, 51 percent; and purchasing energy efficient appliances, 30 percent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Privatization of Military Housing is at a snail 's pace. But this is not bad for the local building industry. I had the opportunity to have breakfast with the leadership of Eglin AFB this morning and asked the question. What is the status of Privatization of Military Housing at Eglin? The answer was, it is on hold. What does this mean? Well the Air Force continues to demolish housing in preparation of the contract, which means the supply of housing continues to be reduced and the mandatory assignment process has been removed to make way for Privatization of Military Housing Contract. With this being said, new military members will be given their Basic Allowance for Housing and will be looking for a home to live in. If anybody has any questions, just give me a call. NOTE: First preference of the military is to give their servicemembers their housing entitlement and let them make their housing choice.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Florida Existing Home Sales Rose in September Up 24% from September 2007

Good news on home sales in Florida. Spread the word. For the first time in almost three years, Florida's existing home sales rose in September, up 24 percent from September 2007; and statewide sales of existing condos increased 11 percent in the year-to-year comparison, according to FAR's latest housing data. Sales are up nationally, too: NAR reports sales of all types of existing housing rose 5.5 percent last month compared to August's sales, and are 1.4 percent higher than September 2007 sales.


Another great opportunity for Northwest Florida. As mentioned below, this facility will be a great boost to the local economy with more jobs being created in the future.

Prison locks on to Milton
Private facility to employ more than 400 people when it opens in 2010
By JENI SENTER Florida Freedom Newspapers

MILTON — A privately run special-needs prison will be built in the Santa Rosa Industrial Complex just east of town, officials announced Wednesday. Construction of the $120 million, 2,000-bed prison should begin in a couple of months and be complete in 2010. Santa Rosa County Commissioner Don Salter said the facility should give a boost to the local economy. “This private prison has the potential of generating thousands of jobs over time,” Salter said. GEO Group Inc. will operate the prison. According to a GEO Group news release, the company has been awarded a contract from the state to design, build and operate the prison. The release said the prison will house “medium and close-custody security adult male inmates, the majority of whom will require chronic medical and mental health treatment.” The prison is expected to employ more than 400 people and provide services such as administration, education, health care and information technology. The average salary is reported to be 15 percent above the county’s average wage rate of $15.29 an hour. Workforce Escarosa will oversee the hiring, which is expected to begin in the spring of 2010. A work fair will be held near the time of hiring. Details about applying for a job can be found at workforce TEAM Santa Rosa president Ed Gray is excited about the prison’s potential economic impact. “This facility presents a great economic boost for our local community,” Gray said. “In light of current economic trends, it is important to identify businesses that are, to a large extent, immune from economic downturns. A construction project of this size will inject capital and create good-paying jobs.” The Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development at the University of West Florida estimates the prison could inject an initial $202.5 million into the local economy, with an additional $46.9 million generated annually. In about 18 months, GEO Group will hold vendor and contractor fairs. Details will be advertised in the local newspapers and placed on TEAM’s Web site. Salter said the prison was made possible through efforts of local government and business leaders. “We look forward to welcoming such a strong addition to our economic landscape and building a strong, lasting relationship with them,” Salter said

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dr. Paul Hsu Takes over as Chairman of Okaloosa County Economic Development Council

After attending a reception of the Econcomic Development Council for the incoming Chairman, Dr. Paul Hsu last night, you could not feel but excited about what is going on in Okaloosa County and what is about to happen. Dr. Paul Hsu, an international recognized businessman, has his sites on getting our area the global attention it deserves. Dr. Hsu has been traveling around the world and opening doors to the global economy for Okaloosa County. The the new Research Lab outside the gates of Eglin, the massive improvements to the Crestview Industrial Airpark, and other majors iniatiatives planned, you will have the world's attention. Dr. Hsu has been quoted as saying, this area is been primed for being the silicone valley of the East coast. So stay tune, as we progress into this global economy adjacent to the largest military base in the country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2009 Military Pay Raises Are Out

The 2009 Pay Raises for Military members is out. The Basic Allowance for Housing will be released on December 15, 2008.

2009 Pay Raise - President Bush signed the National Defense Act of 2009, granting the across-the-board 3.9 percent military pay raise to active duty members that Congress requested. The 2009 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retired pay will be 5.8%. This increase, which goes into effect on December 1, 2008, also applies to SBP annuities, Social Security checks, and VA disability and survivor benefits. Retirees will see the increase in their January 2009 checks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's in Store in Emerald Coast Air Travel

With all of this explansion with the air travel plans for the panhandle of Florida. You will have to be in the dark not to know about the Emerald Coast.

What’s in store for Emerald Coast’s Air Travel
When it is built, Bay County’s international airport will have an advantage over the others, economist says

October 18, 2008 - 10:08PM
Thomas J. Monigan
Daily News

SANDESTIN - Runways, expansions, millions of dollars in improvements. Show-and-tell galore dominated Friday's panel discussion on the three major airports along the Emerald Coast.But it was a brief lesson in "conglomeration economics" that provided a unique perspective."Stimulating The Economy with Transportation" was the title of the leadership conference hosted by the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with business groups from Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties.Officially, the "key question" was titled: "How can our region's airports work together to win better service for everyone?"Panelists included:- Greg Donovan from Northwest Florida Regional Airport;- Donovan's former boss, Frank Miller of Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport;- Joe Tannehill, chairman of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport Authority;- Davage "Buddy" Runnels Jr. from Coastal Vision 3000.- Darryl Jenkins, author of "Handbook of Airline Economics."After all the high-production videos and relentless parade of numbers from the airport men, Jenkins gave a visitor's perspective. A career college professor from Virginia, he spoke of waking before dawn to the sound of waves in the Gulf of Mexico. And then came first light and all the colors unique to the beaches of the Emerald Coast."I will not forget it anytime soon," Jenkins said.Then came questions that the visiting professor said were the keys:- What will the price of jet fuel be in five years?- What will be the status of secondary hubs?- What will an airline look like in five years? In 10 years?- Who will be the biggest international carrier by that time?As an answer to the final question, Jenkins asserted it would be the United Arab Emirates, which are ordering international commercial jets in large numbers.Finally came the lesson in "conglomeration economics."It involved days not long past when there was a gas station on each corner of an intersection. Then one station added a convenience store and was able to sell more than the others.So based on the premise that the new airport just outside Panama City would be able to offer regular international flights, Jenkins said it would have unique advantages."No ifs, ands or buts about it, that creates an economic engine like this region has never seen," Jenkins said. "The other two are perfectly good airports and they all have their niches. But where the whole industry is going is not where those two airports are going to grow."

Monday, October 6, 2008

NWF State College Spending Millions on Niceville and South Walton Center Facilities

With a change of name from Okaloosa Walton Community College to NWF State College, it brings Northwest Florida to another level in the higher education arena. Stay tuned, higher education has found this area with many more options on the way.

NWF State College spending millions on Niceville, South Walton Center facilities
Kari C. Barlow
October 5, 2008 - 5:27PM

In higher education, the money to build buildings and programs often is hard to come by.
That's why Northwest Florida State College is taking advantage of the dollars that have recently come its way. Construction is at an all-time high at the college's main campus in Niceville and at its new South Walton Center.
"We're in a student, a program and a facility growth phase," President Bob Richburg said. "That's an exciting time in any institution, but the fact that it's occurring at one time is just fascinating."
Richburg had always expected the college to expand into South Walton County, but believed it wouldn't happen until about 2025.
"We've been accelerating," he said. "It's an interesting time."
The $2.8-million South Walton Center will be built on 16 acres of the nearly 30-acre site on U.S. Highway 331, just north of U.S. Highway 98. South Walton High School, the South Walton Library and the Walton County Government Center are located on adjacent parcels.
"It will have specialized offerings," Richburg said of the center. "South Walton will become to that area what Chautauqua is to DeFuniak Springs."
The first phase of the construction is an 11,000-square-foot structure that will combine four buildings under one roof. The facility will house administrative offices, classrooms and computer labs.
The site also will include facilities to house the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, an environmental organization operated under the auspices of the college. Also housed there will be the new Allyn C. Donaldson Entrepreneurial Institute, a program made possible through gifts to the college from Donaldson, a longtime Santa Rosa Beach resident and NWF State College Foundation board member.
The South Walton Center will be the college's second complex in the county.
Gary Yancey, vice president of administrative services, said the college is fortunate to have the money to complete these projects.
"With the economy the way it is, it's a tribute to our legislative delegation," he said.
The South Walton Center is expected to be complete by next summer.
On the main campus, construction and the headaches it causes likely will be a part of daily life for quite some time, Yancey said.
"It's really stressful," he said. "It's disrupted traffic flow and parking and people are impacted, but everyone is excited."
Students, staff and faculty are watching the progress of the new 120,000-square-foot Community Services Complex. The joint-use facility will house Okaloosa County's 911 Emergency Operations Center, a 2,400-seat basketball arena, a wellness center, ROTC facilities and other instructional spaces.
"We're running as hard as we can," Yancey said. "We have an aggressive schedule."
Sitting on 28 acres of the 265-acre Niceville campus, the facility is being built to sustain 190 mph winds so that it can also be used as the county's primary hurricane shelter.
The $30.67 million project is being funded jointly by federal, state and local money. Work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2010.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


You heard, "The British are coming, The British are coming". Well Army, Navy, and Air Force are some of the new folks coming, plus there is some Defense Contractors, who will be following along.

BRAC to add transportation woes with 10,000 new people
Mona Moore
September 29, 2008 - 9:50PM

In just a few years, Okaloosa County residents will have more than 10,000 new neighbors.
As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure changes, the U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) will relocate to Eglin Air Force Base from Fort Bragg, N.C., and the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center will open by 2011.
County officials arranged an informational meeting on the challenges the influx of 10,000 residents will bring. State, county and city officials met with representatives from Eglin AFB and the U.S. Army on the campus of Northwest Florida State College Monday morning.
"We worked with Representative Sansom and Senator Gaetz to bring key players together to have a discussion about the primary infrastructure needs for both the Army 7th Special Forces beddown as well as the Joint Strike Fighter," said Jim Curry, Okaloosa County administrator.
Senators Don Gaetz and Charlie Clary, Rep. Ray Sansom and representatives from the offices of Sen. Bob Martinez, Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller got an overview of Okaloosa County's preparations, including the Joint Land Use Study and a growth management plan.
"As the construction begins, it's going to have an impact on families - military families, on civilian families," Sansom said. "We wanted to get on the same page so as we start moving forward and seeing projects change, permits applied for and construction started, that we have this synchronized so that it will have the least amount of impact on the citizens of this community."
Eglin sent Bob Arnold, chair of the Mission Enhancement Committee, Col. Arnie Bunch, Vice Commander, Air Armament Center; Col. Goerge Ross, JSF Task Force; Col. Rick LoCastro of the 96th Air Base Wing and Col. Dennis Yates, Commander of the 96th Civil Engineering Group to field questions and participate in the discussion.
"It was more about the identification of solutions that we can work towards because our resources are so strained at the county and the state and the federal level," Curry said. "We have to make sure that we use them in the best possible manner."
The group shared ideas about possible road expansions and the immediate need to establish sewer services for the 7th Special Forces Group complex that will be located south of Crestview.
"We're willing to listen and look at what our options are," Yates said.
The real challenge will be transportation issues, Curry said.
Long before the Army or JSF move to Eglin, the county will have to accommodate construction traffic.
Curry said the group considered a temporary traffic light on SR 85. The group also mentioned expanding the state road to six lanes.
"Those that live on the north end of the county have that morning commute. It's a very high-volume traffic," said Curry. "Six-laning Hwy 85 is one option. But unfortunately, that's hundreds of millions of dollars -resources that we just don't have."
Okaloosa county plans to study other solutions to the impending traffic problem.
"Crestview is looking at Arena Road. The county is looking at Rattlesnake Bluff Road," Curry said. "There are just a number of options that we could look at."
Retired Army Gen. Mike Ferguson attended the meeting as a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army.
"My main focus has to be impact on families and deployed soldiers," Ferguson said. "This is a unit that has already been deployed seven or eight times."
Ferguson asked those in attendance to keep in mind that the Army will have a small window in 2011 to deploy back to the base and relocate families.
"They've got to sell homes at Fort Bragg, train, find new jobs," he said. "Time really is almost over to study decisions. It's time to make decisions."
Curry said time and resources are working against Okaloosa County.
"We want to do everything we can to have as much of those infrastructure needs in place timely with those events," he said after the meeting.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fort Walton Beach's Landmark Center Construction Inching Closer

The light is at the end of the tunnel and getting brighter everyday. This project will surely change the dynamics of the Historic Downtown Fort Walton Beach area. Thanks should be given to everyone involved, from the lending instituitions, City Government, locals, and the great staff of Emerald Coast Partners.

Landmark Center construction inching closer
Dusty Ricketts
September 27, 2008 - 9:21PM
FORT WALTON BEACH - After nearly two years of planning, designing and financing, construction on the Landmark Center is expected to begin soon.The Fort Walton Beach City Council recently approved the ground lease with developer Emerald Coast Partners where part of the 343-space parking garage will be built. Emerald Coast Partners also submitted its permit application to the Northwest Florida Water Management District this week and will submit its building permit application to the city in the next few weeks.Bruce Houle of Emerald Coast Partners said he hopes construction on the parking garage can begin in October, but said it will likely start in November."We're excited. We've been working on this for two years," Houle said. "It's going to be great for the city and it's going to be a great visual coming into the city over the Brooks Bridge."Landmark Center is a four-story, mixed-use development to be built near the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and Perry Avenue. The roughly $27 million project will feature restaurants, shops and condominiums.Emerald Coast Partners and the city are partnering on the parking garage. The city will purchase 107 parking spaces in the garage for the public.Once construction starts, Houle said it is expected to take six to seven months to complete the five-story parking garage. As it nears completion, Houle said construction crews will slowly start to work on the actual Landmark building.Construction on the Landmark building originally was expected to take about 16 months, but Houle said he believes it could take about a year now.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Something ahead of schedule. I guess they really want to this to happen. Hats off to all the responsible parties. As many know, this is just another reason Northwest Florida will be home for many more to come and be welcomed.

Bay County airport ahead of schedule
Airport Authority still facing several decisions

By PAT KELLY Florida Freedom Newspapers (850) 747-5076

WEST BAY — A small army of construction workers using huge earth-moving equipment guided by satellites cleared the land and graded the earth on 1,300 acres, preparing for the new airport just north of State Road 388. Standing on smoothed ground where the parking lot will be located, a visitor can see trucks coming and going constantly, scurrying from one end of the treelined horizon to the other, kicking up dust before depositing their loads. So far, more than 4 million cubic yards of material have been moved. When lunch came, as many as 180 workers rumbled their large equipment to the trailerstudded nerve center of the complex and wolfed down prepared meals under communal tents. “It’s a massive project,” said Roy Willett of Kellogg Brown and Root, senior project manager for construction of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport. “There is really nothing like it going on in the country today.” The Airport Authority held a media day Thursday for a tour of the airport site and a briefing on construction. An open house for the public will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday so residents can see the progress and ask questions of the project team. “Things are going increasingly well,” Willetts said. He said crews are four months ahead of schedule, and the bed of the 8,400-foot runway is ready for the first layer of asphalt to be poured in preparation for the 14-inch concrete cover. However, Airport Authority members still have decisions to make on the construction of the airport, which is set to open in 2010. For example, the board still is considering whether the concrete for the runway should be poured to a depth of 15 inches, which will increase durability, and whether the length should be increased to 10,000 feet to accommodate larger international flights. Also under consideration is whether or not to rebid the contract for the terminal. The current bid package, which originally came in about $14 million more than expected, must be accepted by Oct. 7. Board members have been working with terminal bidder Walbridge to “value engineer” savings into the original bid of $68.6 million for the terminal, tower and other buildings. Jeff Dealy, program manager for Kellogg, Brown and Root, said 180 workers and 130 pieces of equipment are at the site. The number of workers should increase to about 500 per day when “vertical” construction begins on the air traffic control tower, the terminal and other buildings. When the airport is completed, about 1,000 workers will have had a hand in the construction, Dealy said.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


It just keeps coming. Having had the opportunity to be brief by the General, who is in charge of this project recently, it is on the fast track and Eglin has been identified as one of the first to be selected for this new complex. As noted below, it is on the way to becoming a reality. All I can say, is the area of going to ramp up pretty fast.

Shopping center to follow retail trend of commercial developments like Destin Commons
By MONA MOORE Florida Freedom Newspapers (850) 315-4443
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE — Base Exchange, your days are numbered. The ode to 1972 architecture will soon be replaced by a 500,000-square-foot “shopping destination,” said Judd Anstey, a spokesperson for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Lifestyle Center. “It’s hard to renovate a store that’s 36, 37 years old and have it be really new and contemporary,” said Joe Giuffreda, vice president of the community development initiative and plans directorate for AAFES. “The market’s changing. It’s growing and the shoppers are changing because they want a nicer offering and we want to remain competitive.” Eglin is one of five military installations pegged for the $80-million to $90-million pilot project. The base made the cut partially because of the Base Realignment and Closure recommendations. The BRAC commission named Eglin as the new home of the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Bragg, N.C., the Special Forces Group’s training ranges and the newly established F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center. The new installations mean the base can support the 100,000 customers the Lifestyle Center will likely draw. “(Eglin is) mission gaining, picking up airmen and family members. It’s growing substantially,” Giuffreda said. “That speaks to the long-term viability. In other words, Eglin’s not going away.” Perched half a mile from the Shalimar gate along Lewis-Turner Boulevard, the proposed center will follow the retail trend of commercial developments like Destin Commons. Tentative plans for the modern outdoor shopping center feature 30 to 40 retailers including book stores, food courts and apparel stores. “There could be Bath and Body. There could be American Eagle or Hollister,” Giuffreda said. The base’s regular offerings of military clothing, fast food, barbershops, beauty salons, laundry and dry cleaning will still be a part of the Lifestyle Center. “We’re just sprinkling in some of these other tenants so it’s more convenient for customers,” Giuffreda said. “AAFES always does fast foods. One of the things we’re trying to do here is the sit-down casual dining, like a Chili’s or Buffalo Wild Wings or Olive Garden.” There’s even talk of a multi-screen theater with first-run movies. “We have never shown first-run movies before so we’re trying to break the code on that,” he said. The center will have a main street, outdoor furniture and possibly a fountain where children can play, Giuffreda said. There will be a decidedly military flare to the experience. The Post Exchange, and possibly the commissary, will anchor the center. The center will serve only military clientele. “Our mission is just to take care of our authorized customer base: the military and their family, the retirees and their family,” Giuffreda said. “They really deserve a nice, new contemporary facility. Not something that was built in the early 70’s.” Like all AAFES centers, 70 percent of the Lifestyle Center’s profits will fund military quality of life programs like the library, recreation facilities and child care centers. The remainder of the profits will fund new construction. The center will offer new jobs and a new tax base for the community. Retail stores that are not run by AAFES will charge sales tax. “We estimate it to be about 850 to 1,000 new jobs,” said Giuffreda. “We’ll have needs for suppliers and managers and subcontractors and even opportunities to open stores for local businesses. We really see it as a good partnership and win-win with the community.” The center is at least two years from breaking ground, but it has reached a milestone in the process. An environmental assessment determined that plans for the new center would not have an adverse effect on the area. The report examined the noise, land use, air quality, geological resources, water resources, biological resources, cultural resources, socioeconomic resources, environmental justice, traffic, utilities and hazardous materials and wastes. Based on the findings, the Air Force is proposing to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact. Drafts of the FONSI and EA are available at libraries in Shalimar, Fort Walton Beach and Valparaiso. Public comments and inquiries on the drafts will be accepted through Oct. 5. Written comments and inquiries should be sent to Mike Spaits at 96 CEG/CEV, 501 DeLeon Street, Suite 101, Eglin AFB, FL 32542 or emailed to spaitsm@eglin.


The silicone valley of the East Coast. This is what some of the business leaders have said about the growth of the high-tech in this area. This is a major step in that direction with many more initiatives in the works or already starting. Strap on your seat belt it going to be a fun ride.

High Tech Business Center In Okaloosa County

FORT WALTON BEACH, FLORIDA - Two hotels, four restaurants, a graduate education center, and over a million square feet of high-tech office space.....Planners of a new research park say it's all in the works.Channel Three's Laura Hussey is in Fort Walton Beach with our second top story.Throw in over a thousand new jobs and you'll have some idea of the scope of this project, called the Emerald Coast Research And Technology Park.It's about to jump from the drawing board to reality. A research park where education, the military, and private business come together.Greg Clauson/Coldwell Banker United Realtors "It's difficult to describe in just a few words, other than mammoth, significant......unbelievable to most of us in this area"The Emerald Coast Research And Technology Park will be anchored by the University Of Florida's Engineering Education Facility, known as The Reef. On ninety-eight acres next door, there will be graduate housing, a child care center, hotels, restaurants and a conference center. All close to the airport and Eglin Air Force Base.Larry Sassano/ Economic Development Council "Eglin's growing. And as it grows, a lot of the contractors will need space"The park will provide one point two million square feet of office space. But even more important, says Larry Sassano of the Economic Development Council, is the research component. Larry Sassano/Economic Development Council "We have companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and BAE Systems that have a significant amount of research being done by the parent companies, but it's not being done here. I think that's going to change" Greg Clauson At Coldwell Banker United Realty says even in the pre-leasing stage, interest is high.Greg Clauson "It's all in a walking community, a campus environment, that meets all the needs of any major defense contractor/IT/health service who would like to relocate"Larry Sassano/EDC "It's a reality, it's going to happen, yes I think there will be thousands of jobs over time"The research park will be built on land leased from the Air Force.That lease is about to be finalized, and groundbreaking is expected in the spring

Friday, September 5, 2008

Eglin 46th Test Wing to Stay at Eglin

I hope this put this issue to rest. To have both houses of government and both parties in support of the the same issue is very rare and a monumental move.

Sen. Nelson: 46th Test Wing to stay at Eglin

FORT WALTON BEACH — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says Air Force Chief Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz has confirmed that Eglin Air Force Base’s 46th Test Wing will not move or report to a new base. “As soon as I got (the news) last week, I knew you’d want to hear it,” Nelson told those gathered at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce for a town hall session Thursday. Leaders at the Air Force Materiel Command had considered stripping the test wing from the Air Armament Center’s chain of command to form one Air Force Developmental Test and Evaluation Center. “I simply was not going to let this happen,” Nelson said. Nelson is a member of the Senate’s Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, Foreign Relations, Intelligence and Aging committees. As the only senator who is a member of all three of the senate’s committees on national security, he used his leverage to get answers. At confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services committee, Nelson withheld the approval of Michael Donley as Secretary of the Air Force before the Senate’s August recess. “He could not answer my questions. I put a hold on him,” he said. “I told him I wanted some answers.” Nelson said he used the same tactic two years ago when the test wing’s realignment came up “to get their commitment they would come to Eglin.” He met with officials from the Air Force’s Materiel Command and said he and Miller acted like “two prosecuting attorneys,” firing questions that did not get answered. “They wanted to close down the (McKinley) climatic lab,” Nelson said. “We held the defense bill up and bought a year, making them produce a report (the RAND Corp. study). We got the Air Force to back off and we thought it was a done deal.” In May, Nelson said he sent a letter to the Air Force’s chief of staff. “They came back with Air Force answers and the answers didn’t give justification,” he said. Nelson had better luck after withholding the Donley nomination. In an e-mail dated Aug. 28, the Air Force answered two questions Nelson had asked. When asked for an update on the status of any Air Force Test and Evaluation reorganization, Maj. Reginald L. Bullock of the Air Force Senate Liaison Office answered: “No planning activities or actions have occurred or are occurring concerning reorganization or modification to the Air Force T&E enterprise. The Air Force is currently working with the other services and AT&L (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) in developing a uniform financial management system for DOD T&E facilities as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2003, PL 107-314. That activity is currently focused on processes and does not involve the reorganization or movement of personnel.” Nelson also asked for details of any plans to reorganize or modify any units or missions that might affect the base. “Air Force T&E is not currently pursuing any actions that would involve reorganizing or modifying any units or missions that would affect the military or civilian workforce at Eglin AFB,” wrote Bullock. On other issues, Nelson repeated that he would not support drilling for oil or natural gas off Florida’s coast. He said drilling looked like a “seductive and simple” solution when gas reached $4 per gallon, but that it is not the answer because it would compromise the military’s mission, he said. “I’ve been standing up for the U.S. military for 25 years now on this issue,” he said. “This isn’t just the Air Force. This is the entire defense preparedness for this country.” Daily News Staff Writer Mona Moore can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 1443.

Monday, September 1, 2008


It could not have been said any better by Fred Leopold. This defense contractor is setting itself up for the growth planned by the expansion of both the defense industry and civilian aerospace targeted in this area.

Certified Manufacturing poised to expand
Encouraging business forecast spurs decision to add 32,000 square feet

When Certified Manufacturing Inc. became the first tenant in the Holt Industrial Park eight years ago, it brought about 10 employees from Crestview. So why were local officials so pumped up? “It’s really a stepping stone for what might come,” said banker Fred Leopold, who was chairman of the Okaloosa Community Development Corp. Maintaining the atmosphere and structure of an extended family has enabled CMI to begin realizing its potential as it enters its 11th year of existence. Recently, owner Pamela Bechtold and about three dozen employees broke ground on what should become three buildings that will triple the company’s space. Financing from DestinFirst Bank and a small business loan from the federal government have proven crucial, said Bob Bechtold, Pamela Bechtold’s husband and the company’s vice president. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our bank,” he added. The cost of the project is estimated at $3 million, which means family-owned CMI is taking what it hopes is a well-calculated risk. So far, it has enjoyed considerable sub-contracting success with products and services that are used by all branches of the military and Homeland Defense. “When the big companies are considering you, they like to see you have the facilities, capabilities and personnel,” Bob Bechtold said. “With an expansion like this, at some point you have to make a decision based on your forecast and the business environment. We made the decision on the excitement our customers have and the bid backlog. We feel we have a robust enough future forecast to take this step.” K&J Construction of Baker is the general contractor. Completion of the first building (12,000 square feet) is targeted for the end of this year. The other two buildings (10,000 square feet each) have should be finished by the end of March. Overall, it breaks down to 4,000 square feet of offices and 28,000 square feet of manufacturing space. There’s also room on the 6.5-acre site for 25,000 more square feet to be built. The company makes products such as cables, circuit card assemblies, electronic panels and mechanical assemblies. They can be used in cockpit and weapon controls in military aircraft or armored vehicles, or in controlling cameras on top of Humvees. “Everything we build here goes straight to our troops,” Pamela Bechtold said previously. “Nothing gets put on a shelf.” From August of last year through July of this year, CMI recorded 100 percent ontime delivery of 77,340 units. Its quality performance was rated at 99.99 percent. “These products are high margin, high quality and high need, and scheduled delivery is the key issue with all of them,” Bob Bechtold said. “It’s a low volume, but a high complexity factor that requires lots of customer interface. Sometimes we even have to reverse engineer some products.” CMI’s benchmarks include an AS9100 rating from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a non-government network of national standards institutes from 157 countries. In addition, CMI is part of a Mentor-Protégé Program in which the Department of Defense pays Boeing to train CMI employees. “Our people got us here,” Bob Bechtold said. “We have very low turnover. We pay our employees competitively, and at our small company they get benefits that most people expect from big companies. People enjoy working here. We treat them well. “My wife has set the tone in developing a family atmosphere of dedication and compassion. Our people really care about the success of the company.” Daily News Business Editor Thomas J. Monigan can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 1438.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Everything you wanted to know about the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and was afraid to ask.

Frequently Asked QuestionsAbout the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorizes a $7,500 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing homes on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit.
1. Who is eligible to claim the $7,500 tax credit?First time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs.
2. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit.
3. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?Any home purchased by an eligible first-time home buyer will qualify for the credit, provided that the home will be used as a principal residence and the buyer has not owned a home in the previous three years. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses, and condominiums.
4. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I have hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been "purchased" on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date.
5. What is "modified adjusted gross income"?Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine "adjusted gross income" or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as "adjustments" or "above-the-line deductions"), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts such as foreign income, foreign-housing deductions, student-loan deductions, IRA-contribution deductions and deductions for higher-education costs.
6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $7,500 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phaseout limits. The credit becomes totally unavailable for individual taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income of more than $95,000 and for married taxpayers filing joint returns with an AGI of more than $170,000.
7. Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $7,500 by 0.5. The result is $3,750.Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $7,500 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,625. Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.
8. Does the credit amount differ based on tax filing status?No. The credit is in general equal to $7,500 for a qualified home purchase, whether the home buyer files taxes as a single or married taxpayer. However, if a household files their taxes as "married filing separately" (in effect, filing two returns), then the credit of $7,500 is claimed as a $3,750 credit on each of the two returns.
9. Are there any circumstances for which buyers whose incomes are at or below the $75,000 limit for singles or the $150,000 limit for married taxpayers might not be able to claim the full $7,500 tax credit?In general, the tax credit is equal to 10% of the qualified home purchase price, but the credit amount is capped or limited at $7,500. For most first-time home buyers, this means the credit will equal $7,500. For home buyers purchasing a home priced less than $75,000, the credit will equal 10% of the purchase price.
10. I heard that the tax credit is refundable. What does that mean?The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that taxpayer qualified for the $7,500 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $6,500 ($7,500 minus the $1,000 owed).
11. What is the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction?A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $7,500 in income taxes and who receives a $7,500 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $7,500 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives a $7,500 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $1,125 (15 percent of $7,500), or lowered from $7,500 to $6,375.
12. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?No. The tax credit cannot be combined with the MRB home buyer program.
13. I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the DC first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?No. You can claim only one.
14. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?Maybe. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS), who has not owned a principal residence in the previous three years and who meets the income limits test may claim the tax credit for a qualified home purchase. The IRS provides a definition of "nonresident alien" in IRS Publication 519.
15. Does the credit have to be paid back to the government? If so, what are the payback provisions?Yes, the tax credit must be repaid. Home buyers will be required to repay the credit to the government, without interest, over 15 years or when they sell the house, if there is sufficient capital gain from the sale. For example, a home buyer claiming a $7,500 credit would repay the credit at $500 per year. The home owner does not have to begin making repayments on the credit until two years after the credit is claimed. So if the tax credit is claimed on the 2008 tax return, a $500 payment is not due until the 2010 tax return is filed. If the home owner sold the home, then the remaining credit amount would be due from the profit on the home sale. If there was insufficient profit, then the remaining credit payback would be forgiven.
16. Why must the money be repaid?Congress’s intent was to provide as large a financial resource as possible for home buyers in the year that they purchase a home. In addition to helping first-time home buyers, this will maximize the stimulus for the housing market and the economy, will help stabilize home prices, and will increase home sales. The repayment requirement reduces the effect on the Federal Treasury and assumes that home buyers will benefit from stabilized and, eventually, increasing future housing prices.
17. Because the money must be repaid, isn’t the first-time home buyer program really a zero-interest loan rather than a traditional tax credit?Yes. Because the tax credit must be repaid, it operates like a zero-interest loan. Assuming an interest rate of 7%, that means the home owner saves up to $4,200 in interest payments over the 15-year repayment period. Compared to $7,500 financed through a 30-year mortgage with a 7% interest rate, the home buyer tax credit saves home buyers over $8,100 in interest payments. The program is called a tax credit because it operates through the tax code and is administered by the IRS. Also like a tax credit, it provides a reduction in tax liability in the year it is claimed.
18. If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose ("elect") to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.
19. For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?Yes. If the applicable income phaseout would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in 2009 and a larger credit would be available using the 2008 MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Congratulations to the City of Crestview and local politicians in support of this great opportunity to the City of Crestview. This opportunity and the others planned in the Crestview area should make the City of Crestview a great place to live, work, and play.

Crestview banking on FAMU fueling economy
By KYLE WRIGHT Florida Freedom Newspapers

CRESTVIEW — Scholars and politicians alike say a Florida A&M University pharmacy school would pump millions of dollars into the local economy. Rick Harper, director of the Haas Center for Business Development at the University of West Florida, says the proposed school in downtown Crestview would have an immediate direct impact of $3 million to $6 million per year in faculty and student spending. Harper based his estimate on the projected initial enrollment of 50 students served by about seven faculty members. State Sen. Durell Peaden, who led the effort to secure state funding for the first phase, expects the project eventually would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. Analysts project new medical schools at Florida State University and the University of Central Florida to create an economic impact of more than $1 billion during the respective schools’ first 10 years. Peaden thinks a local pharmacy school could be worth about half that amount. “It’s worth more than anything else we could bring to Crestview,” he said. “It’ll be worth at minimum a couple of hundred million dollars, and as it develops, it will get even higher.” Crestview Mayor David Cadle emphasized the city would not get stuck with the bill if the project encounters a funding shortfall. FAMU officials estimate the facility will cost $10.2 million. The state has allocated $2.5 million for the project. FAMU officials hope to secure additional state funding in future years. “There will be no city liability whatsoever for the final cost of the renovation” of the Alatex building, the likely site for the proposed school, Cadle said. “The city will not be committing any money to the project. It will be totally through the state.”

Monday, August 25, 2008


s I have mentioned before, Eglin AFB and the surrounding areas are taking on many initiatives to maximize the potential of this area for the military and making it a strategic area for Training, Testing, and Operational programs. The area gives the military something not many other places can offer to all services. Joint operations are a must in this budgetary climate and Eglin and the surrounding bases are ahead of others in this area using the land, air, and sea assets in this area.

Department of Defense proposes restructuring of airspace
Growing military presence in Northwest Florida cited as reason for overhaul
By PAT KELLY Florida Freedom Newspapers

PANAMA CITY — The Department of Defense is working with civilian aviation counterparts to restructure the airspace over Northwest Florida for the first time since World War II, an aviation technical advisor told the Airport Authority. Mike “Pappy” Penland, with Eglin Air Force Base’s plans and programs of the Air Armament Center, said an increase in air traffic over a region he called a “national treasure” vital to national security has prompted the review. Also playing a role is the anticipated addition of aircraft and training because of base realignment and closure. “Everybody realizes that this piece of airspace is very complex,” he said. The new model, which will be the end result of a two-year initiative, could serve as an archetype for similar efforts nationwide to minimize congestion in areas of high growth, he said. More military personnel and air weapons systems are coming to the area, including 113 of the new F-35 multi-role fighter aircraft at Eglin, Penland said. F-35 flights are likely to affect the flow of traffic in and out of civilian airports. There also will be increased training flights of the F-22 fighter, which needs a bigger block of airspace than the older F-15, and the turboprop T-6, used for basic navigator training. “It’s a big domino effect” that will affect airspace from Tallahassee to the Mississippi-Alabama border, Penland said. Flights over Eglin airspace alone, not counting operations over water, are expected to rise from 192,000 to 427,000 by 2014. The economic impact in the area is one of the chief concerns of the military and one of the driving forces behind the study, Penland said. Reaching out to their civilian equivalents is only the first part of the Defense Department process, Penland said. The course of action also will include working with university research centers to develop computer models of airspace plans. Usually, the department works with the Federal Aviation Administration, which then consults with civilian authorities, Penland said. The new approach “tries to get everybody together in a coordinated manner,” he said. As a general rule, the FAA “owns” the airspace, and the Defense Department manages the airspace the FAA gives it, Penland said. Goals will be determined by an executive steering committee composed of military flag officers, with the rank of general or above, and civilian flag officer-type equivalents from the governor’s office and other state economic development and aviation groups. There also will be a workinggroup level of airport directors and other experts. Initial plans call for a finished product by December 2010, Penland said.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


It just get better and better for the local area. With more flights coming in to the Okaloosa Regional Airport and with the Military and many defense contractor relying so heavily; we should be ready for many folks migrating to our beautiful area. ARE WE READY FOR THEM?

Airport consultant: Okaloosa poised to succeed
OKALOOSA ISLAND — Aviation expert Mike Boyd told about 120 business and community leaders Friday that the price of a plane ticket will continue to climb. But despite multiple challenges to the industry, Okaloosa Regional Airport can succeed, he said. Boyd, who heads aviation consulting firm The Boyd Group in Colorado, made his presentation at the Emerald Coast Conference Center. “Airline service is like the Internet — without it, you don’t grow,” he said. “The real measure of air service … is connectivity with the rest of the world … They’re the ones that come here and spend money.” Fewer nonstops and using the huband-spoke airport system is what’s ahead for America, Boyd said. Attendee Martin Owen, who handles marketing for Jay Odom’s Crystal Beach Development, worked in the travel business for 30 years. “I came away with the information that Okaloosa Regional is wellplaced to have a successful future in a time when the airline industry has to reassess everything it’s doing,” he said. “From a local business point of view, it’s a concrete positive for the future.” Along with the rest of America’s economy, airlines are deeply affected by the cost of oil. “When oil is up 30 percent … you can’t fly the same routes,” Boyd said. “Most seats right now are ‘under cost’ … but when airlines can raise fares, you can call your broker in Zurich to be able to afford a ticket. This is not a cycle … you’re not going to see the low fares we had three, four, five years ago.” American Eagle, Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways fly out of Okaloosa Regional with connections to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston and Memphis. Boyd touted Dallas for its developing connections to Asia and South America. Low-cost success story Southwest Airlines is a name on many airports’ wish lists. Boyd called Southwest “a potential possibility on paper” for Okaloosa Regional. “They’re using ‘hedged’ fuel (bought cheaper in advance) so they’re OK right now,” he added. “They’ll be cutting flights and capacity this fall.” Airports should be “complementary, not competitive,” Boyd asserted, but he did provide the following numbers on average fares for last year: ¿ Pensacola $206. ¿ Okaloosa Regional $256. ¿ Panama City $300. “It’s not about air fares and cheap seats, it’s about economic growth,” Boyd insisted. “If you’re going to make a connection, do it out of here.” Daily News Business Editor Thomas J. Monigan can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 1438.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Mossy Head Florida at the Interstate 10/Highway 285 Interchange is beginning to take shape for the future. With this park, the new elementary school, and the golf course under construction, it will sure to be a future growth spot. It is strategically located within 20 minutes to Crestview, Niceville, and Definiak Springs. Mossy Head also features an Industrial Park, which has been designated a "Florida Enterprise Zone".

Mossy Head Park to Open
8/13/2008 Public invited to August 18 opening, 10:00 a.m.
For Immediate ReleaseAugust 13, 2008

Mossy Head, Fla – The first public park in Mossy Head is scheduled to open Monday, August 18. District 3 Commissioner Larry Jones announced that the park will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:00 a.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The park sits next to the new Mossy Head Elementary School, which will open the same day. The park is located on Highway 90 in Mossy Head about one mile east of State Road 285. The new 3-acre park is comprised of a walking trail, playground, and picnic pavilions. One of the pavilions is specifically designed to be handicap accessible. Walton County construction crews will add a splash pad within the next few weeks. The park also has drinking fountains and restroom facilities. The $250,000 park was mostly funded with grants from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The new park will also serve future Mossy Head residents of a new development overlooking an 18-hole golf course now under construction less than a few hundred yards away. The park can be expanded in the future, since it rests on 20 acres of undeveloped land which joins neighboring school property. “I’m proud to see this public park be constructed in Mossy Head,” says Commissioner Jones. “I look forward to those in our community walking the new trail, using the new playground equipment and enjoying all of the park's amenities. I hope everyone will join us in celebrating the park’s opening on August 18.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008


As you can see below, the Bob Sikes Airport is off and running. Having attend the announcement in person, it was very exciting to hear some of the initiatives the Airport has planned and the additional impact it will have on the economic growth of the Crestview area. To learn more about the Crestview Industrial Airpark, you can visit

Emerald Coast Aviation gets FBO job at Bob Sikes Airport
If the contract is finalized, the firm will replace Sunshine Aero
By BRIAN HUGHES Florida Freedom Newspapers

CRESTVIEW — After 28 years under Sunshine Aero Industries, Bob Sikes Airport has a new fixed-base operator. A selection committee heard presentations from Sunshine Aero and Emerald Coast Aviation on Aug. 6. After deliberating several days, the committee recommended to Okaloosa County Airports Director Greg Donovan on Monday that the contract be awarded to Emerald Coast Aviation, the fixedbase operator at DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport. “We have many opportunities at Bob Sikes Airport and we need a company that will grow with us,” Donovan said. “Emerald Coast Aviation impressed us with their focus on customer service. “The services they are willing to provide, in the selection committee’s opinion, are a very good fit for the future of Bob Sikes Airport in that they see services that are not currently there,” Donovan said. “Somebody had to have a vision in combining these services. “Another thing that I thought Emerald Coast has insight to is bringing back the military fueling concession,” he added. Donovan praised Emerald Coast’s marketing proposal for the airport, which included investing $20,000 a year. Donovan said his office is negotiating the details of a 30-year lease the county proposes to offer Emerald Coast Aviation. He plans to present it to county commissioners Sept. 2. If approved, Emerald Coast Aviation will take over airport operations Jan. 2. Donovan acknowledged that the decision to choose Emerald Coast Aviation was a major disappointment to Robert Keller, president of Sunshine Aero. “We will be offering to facilitate building a new facility for them,” Donovan said. “Sunshine Aero’s military testing company is very important to the airport and to the area. We want to see them succeed,” Donovan said. “We want to see a smooth transition to allow him a sublease and a transition until he can build his own facilities,” he added. “Mr. Keller ultimately has to make those decisions on his own. We will encourage him to keep his operations in Crestview because he’s very important to us.” Introducing a new fixed base operator in uncertain financial times is a challenge, Donovan added. “We’re taking a bit of a risk with anybody that we’d be partnering with in a contract like this, but Emerald Coast has a very good conscientiousness in not just marketing, but in growing with us,” he said.