Tampa Bay Business Journal: March 14, 2014

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses the section of the Belleview Biltmore that may be saved, why the Bay Area is a great place to start a business, and the Tampa Bay Rays 2014 marketing slogan.

St. Petersburg developer Mike Cheezem has plans for the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel. His company,  JMC Communities, announced in January it was under contract to buy the property.

Cheezem does not plan to save all of the 820,000-square-foot wooden hotel built in 1897 by Henry Plant. He says it would be cost prohibitive to try to restore the entire structure.

Cheezem's plan is to tear down much of the Belleview Biltmore to make way for 120 condo units and 40 townhouses. He does want to save the 8,000-square-foot Tiffany Ballroom as an event space along with a wing of the original structure as a restaurant.

The question now is whether Cheezem will receive approval from the City of Belleair for his proposal.

Tampa is among the best cities in the country to start a business.

According to WalletHub's 2014 list of the 150 largest cities in the United States, Tampa is ranked at number 32. The only other Bay Area city on the list, St. Petersburg, came in at number 61.

WalletHub used 14 metrics including 5-year new business survival rate, affordability of office space, educational background and local labor force.

The number one ranked city? Jackonsville. The worst? Newark, New Jersey.

The Tampa Bay Rays marketing team is gearing up for the 2014 season. This year they are focused around supporting a new ticketless and highly customized flex plan program that utilizes new technology akin to picking a seat on a plane.

The theme for the marketing team in 2014 is "Rays Up."

"It really clicked that this would be the right year to do it, in part because possibly this is the best team we’ve ever had going into a new season,” said Brian Auld, Rays senior vice president.

The marketing team hopes the players can continue their recent successful seasons on the field so they end "up" marketing another playoff run.

For more information on these stories, click on the video player, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt_Blatc4gY or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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