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Business headlines

By SHARON L. BOND, Neighborhood Times Business Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 5, 2002


Travel agency has new home and affiliation

ST. PETERSBURG -- Destinations Everywhere has made two recent moves, one to a new home and another to an affiliation with American Express Travel.

The travel agency in April moved to 32 First St. S on the ground floor of the Bayfront Tower downtown. The move from the Chamber of Commerce building on Second Avenue N by BayWalk was prompted by the agency's growth over the past few years, according to Destinations owner and president, Jere Tolton.

In turn, Destinations' move resulted in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce staying in its Second Avenue space and buying the area the agency vacated so that the chamber can grow. The chamber had planned to move because it was too packed into its current space.

The agency, which opened in 1980, took over the space of Bayfront Tower Travel after merging with that agency earlier this year. Both now operate under the Destinations Everywhere name.

The affiliation with American Express Travel brings to Destinations' customers "the best buying power in the business," according to officer manager Liz Curry.

That can translate to cheaper cruises or better deals on special hotel rooms, she said.

Tolton said the agency had to satisfy certain requirements of American Express, including a financial audit, to become one of its travel representatives.

PR firm to open in Outback building

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Glasure Group, a public relations, marketing and special events company, is taking a chunk of the second-floor office space in the Outback Steakhouse building at 1900 Fourth St. N.

President Jack Glasure said the company is not yet a year old. Most of the employees and independent contractors who work for it live within walking distance of the new office. Six will have permanent work spaces at the Outback building while many of the others work from home, coming in when necessary for meetings or to use the 12 workstations that will be built for them.

"Our goal is for everybody to walk. That way we won't have such a parking problem. We are kind of into it." Glasure, who said it will take him about five minutes to walk from his home to the new office, came down to open an office for a North Carolina public relations firm and then decided to go out on his own.

Downtown apartments draw renters

ST. PETERSBURG -- Even with the construction crews still there, renters are moving into the first phase of the Madison, the luxury apartment complex downtown near Al Lang Field and only a few blocks south of BayWalk.

Madison officials declined to say exactly how many residents have moved in. The first building should be complete by the end of July. In all there will be 277 apartments in two buildings. Rents can range as high as $2,000 per month for the biggest units with the best views on the higher floors.

The Madison is being built by Zom Development Inc. of Orlando, which will start another phase of almost equal size when the first is finished. Included in that phase will be a Publix urban grocery to be built by the Sembler Co. Construction on the grocery will not begin until after the new year.

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