Regional Corridor Update

Regional Corridor Update  

Compiled by Jason Dehart and Maria Mallory White

SPOTLIGHT New Car Museum Venue Adds Meeting Space

By Jason Dehart

Businessman DeVoe Moore has the biggest monster garage in town. There’s no denying that Moore’s massive collection of automotive history is pretty awesome – after all, he owns not one, but three Batmobiles.

The 95,000-square-foot Tallahassee Automobile Museum houses the finest collection of antique and historic autos in the Southeast, from the 1894 Duryea on up to the 2001 Plymouth Prowler. In addition to the museum, the site offers 20,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space.

The new museum is located at U.S. Highway 90 and Interstate 10.

“We’re going to pull in a lot of people who are traveling across the state,” says Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer and one of the many dignitaries on hand to celebrate the opening.

“The Tallahassee Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is not only excited about the appeal the new museum has to visitors, but also the draw the new meeting space has to entice more groups to come to the Capital City,” says Sharon Liggett, president and CEO of the visitor’s bureau.

On the Market

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, the Florida Association of REALTORS has news for you: In its year-end sales data for existing condominium and home sales, Panama City extended its run as one of the least-affected real estate markets in the state.

Fourth-quarter 2007 re-sales in Panama City ranked 3rd best in existing home sales and 4th best in existing condo sales statewide.

Across Florida, fourth-quarter sales of existing condos slumped 27 percent, and sales of existing single-family homes for the same period declined 31 percent. Panama City sales bested both sets of those year-to-year figures by roughly 50 percent, respectively.

Is that good news? Absolutely, according to Paul Goulding, owner of The Goulding Agency in Chipley, which is spearheading the campaign to publicize the area’s sales performance.

“So often mainstream media … they accentuate the negative,” Gould said. “Panama City-Bay Co. has been among the top three least-affected parts of the state since last June.”

HOSPITALITY Hampton Inn Goes Green

Hampton Inn and Suites near Interstate 10 is the latest hotel in Florida to earn a “green” designation from Green Lodging Florida, a program that establishes guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution.

“Our No. 1 aim is to be environmentally friendly, but by doing so it’ll save the hotel money and our guests money in the long run,” says Beth Rodan, the hotel’s sales manager and “Green Team Captain.”

The changes implemented as part of the program included installing CFL lightbulbs, low-flow toilets and low-flow showerheads.

“We have no idea how much money we’ll save over time,” Rodan says, “but our comment cards indicate our customers have a positive response toward (the change).”

AVIATION Nonstop Service Now Offered

American Eagle Airlines, a regional jet service, has begun nonstop flights between Tallahassee and Miami as American Airlines expands its South Florida services.

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome American Eagle to Tallahassee,” says Mayor John Marks.

American Eagle flies the route twice a day with 44-seat Embraer 140 jets.

“We are excited to launch this service to Florida’s capital city – with its strong ties to South Florida, both in government and education,” says Peter J. Dolara, American’s Senior Vice President-Miami, Caribbean and Latin America.

New Green Program Tackles Businesses

A new pilot project is encouraging Tallahassee’s downtown businesses to recycle. Businesses located within an area bounded by Gaines, Tennessee, Gadsden and Bronough streets can register to participate.

Businesses that join the program will get a 96-gallon mixed office paper recycling barrel that can be set outside for weekly pickup. All paper and cardboard – with the usual exception of those greasy old pizza boxes and the like – will be accepted.

“We are hopeful that businesses within the current pilot project will take advantage of this great opportunity, and that one day in the near future all business in Tallahassee will be recycling,” says Sue Dick, president of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

The recycling program is a joint venture between the Chamber, the Downtown Merchants and Business Association, the Downtown Improvement Authority and Highpoint Center.

About 1,000 of the area’s 20,000 businesses currently participate in some form of recycling, according to city officials.