Florida Keys Business Briefs
Sunday, March 16, 2014


Loaner life jackets available at state park

Sea Tow Key Largo recently opened two new "Life Jacket Loaner" stands at the boat ramp at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.

Boaters may borrow the life jackets at no charge and are asked to return them at the end of the day. The life jackets are available in a variety of sizes, including those for children, as the U.S. Coast Guard requires kids under 13 to wear life jackets when a boat is underway.

Mike Jenkins Jr. built the stands as a part of his Eagle Scout certification.

Since 2008, the Sea Tow Foundation has distributed nearly 22,000 life jackets to boaters, thanks to a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. They are distributed to local Sea Tow captains who make them available to boaters free of charge.

In addition to use by recreational boaters, the Sea Tow Foundation life jackets have been used for towing and marine assistance operations, at boat shows, boat parades, fishing tournaments and water cleanup events.


Shopping plaza changes hands

A New Jersey-based real estate investment firm recently announced its purchase of the 8.5-acre Big Pine Key Shopping Center on Key Deer Boulevard.

The Hampshire Companies bought the 93,000-square-foot retail center that currently houses Winn-Dixie, Bell's department store.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Hampshire representatives called the acquisition "a joint venture" with The Ferber Co., leasing agent for the shopping center, which is currently 90 percent occupied, states a press release announcing the sale.

Claude Gardner, of Prudential Knight & Gardner Realty in the Florida Keys represented the seller, Big Pine Shopping Center, LLC.