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.