Tampa Bay Business Journal: December 28, 2012

TAMPA - In this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal segment, editor Alexis Muellner discusses why restaurateurs are celebrating this year, how companies plan to increase tablet computer use in 2013, and what "Deal-cember" was.

Many Bay Area restaurant owners are in a merry mood right now as an uptick in the number of company holiday parties is helping their bottom line.

"We've had fantastic walk-in business and fantastic holiday parties," said restaurateur Jason Fernandez of his restaurants Bernini of Ybor, Green Iguana Bar & Grill Ybor City and Carne ChopHouse. "People aren't goofing around. They're drinking expensive bottles of wine - no coupons."

The increase in restaurant business may be a sign companies are becoming more willing to spend money which may be a positive sign for 2013.

Speaking of the New Year, many companies are realizing the importance of using technology.

Businesses believe that using technology like cloud computing and mobile devices can enhance communication and productivity. There are some pitfalls still to be worked out.

"The real challenge is integrating technologies into a cohesive solution," said Jay Prakash Rao, chief technology officer at Flat Rock Systems LLC.

Since mid-December more than $733 million in commercial real estate transactions have been concluded in Tampa Bay.

Among the completed deals was Taubman Centers' $437 million purchase to gain sole ownership of Tampa's International Plaza.

The flurry of December deals occurs because property owners and buyers try to meet their goals to obtain or shed assets and beat the 2013 tax changes.

Lee Arnold Jr., chairman and CEO of Colliers International Tampa Bay, says he expects to see even more deals in January to be completed in January.

For more information on these stories, click on the video player on the left, click youtu.be/Afa_E-ckFXg or pick up this week's Tampa Bay Business Journal available on newsstands.

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