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Talk of the bay

Published November 20, 2006



My, how the friendly skies have changed. Discount king Southwest Airlines hit another milestone in its relentless growth. For the first time, in August the Dallas-based carrier flew more passengers, domestic and international, than any other U.S. airline, passing long-time No. 1 American. There is a footnote: Southwest flies only within the continental United States and since 2003 has reigned as the top U.S. domestic carrier. In August, Southwest flew 8.7-million people - 200,000 more than American carried on its U.S. and international routes. And the beat goes on. Next year, Southwest will buy 37 jets, bringing its fleet to more than 500.

Piano bar gets howling mad

Apartment dwellers aren't the only ones baying about their upstairs neighbors. Howl at the Moon, a piano bar at Tampa's Channelside entertainment complex, says the Bennigan's above it hasn't fixed a damaging water leak. Howl wants the restaurant's owners to fork over $10,000 for a replacement sound system, at least $12,000 for property damage, an unspecified amount for lost revenue, and a dozen cheeseburger egg rolls.

And you thought tuition was high?

Florida isn't a very affordable place for football fans to live. That not-so-shocking news emerged as the bottom line for the Coldwell Banker College Home Price Comparison Index. Just for fun, the real estate company decided to rank college towns by the average price for a 2,200-square foot, four-bedroom house in a middle-management community. Florida college towns turned out to be the most expensive in the Southeastern Conference (Gainesville), SunBelt Conference (Miami) and Conference USA (Orlando), and the second most expensive in the Big East (Tampa) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (Miami). Of course, California is tops for housing prices. A house that costs $393,750 in Tampa will run you $1.6-million in Palo Alto or Los Angeles.

Lower coverage to absorb high taxes

Getting soaked by commercial property insurance rate hikes? Craig Sher, president of the Sembler Co., has tips for escaping the storm. At a business forum last week in Tampa, Sher said most businesspeople overinsure themselves. A $1-billion building, for example, might need just $300-million in coverage, he says. By building better buildings, you can also escape the worst of the rate hikes. Sembler has developed some of the region's premier projects, including St. Petersburg's BayWalk. Sher's more sore about property taxes. BayWalk's taxes increased - gulp - 70 percent in one year.

[Last modified November 19, 2006, 22:32:46]

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