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Mote Marine changing quickly

by Roger Pettingell

Information update on the local facility

Research funding increases and Mote SEA gets closer to a start

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium - The programs started 64 years ago and the facility on City Island is receiving greater recognition at all levels.

Last year I did an update on Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. But events are happening quickly at the research facility on City Island and much of it has to do with the leadership of Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D. The President and CEO of Mote has been out in the community educating the public on the research while lobbying hard at all levels of government to fund programs to help revitalize the oceans and sustain life in the seas through its research.

The Waves of Support effort is a fundraising initiative to solicit the philanthropists of our world with seven different “Waves”, from Friends donating under $1,000 to those who make a significant donation of $75,000 or more and become members of the William R. Mote Guild. William R. Mote and family made large donations to the research facility that was renamed in his honor in 1967. It was founded in 1955 as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory and a vision of the “Shark Lady”, Dr. Eugenie Clark.

Problems in the seas these past decades is bringing together scientists to research programs, including 30 Ph.D. researchers at Mote studying different programs that require these skills. Florida appropriated $500,000 last year for coral restoration research. The goal was to restore 50,000 corals in the Florida Keys. It was a continuation of state funding for coral restoration. Last November three national organizations partnered to issue $1.5 million to restore 130 acres of coral reefs. The initiative brought attention to the program and multiple grants matched. Coral reefs grow slowly from polyps that attach themselves to subsurface natural structures and provide an environment for other life.

One of the many exhibits at the aquarium open to the public
Educational Exhibits - High quality displays at Mote Marine provide a vast amount of information.

Harmful algal blooms became a big concern in Florida starting with a major outbreak in 2017. Mote has become one of the nation’s leaders in the research because of the effect it was having on our coastal wildlife. Mote became a partial beneficiary of an $8 million federal appropriation and provided research to congress for the legislation to pass. Last year State Executive Order 18-221 directed $100,000 to Mote for its responses to marine mammal, sea turtle and other fishes affected by the outbreak. While Governor Scott was in office last year he directed $2.2 million to Mote Marine Research. Earlier in 2018 the state divided $1.6 million between and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Wildlife Research Institute.

Mote has 22 different programs of research, each receiving its own funding of grants, appropriations and donations. Some of these research programs may seem obscure but are vitally important to the future of the oceans. Consider Benthic Ecology, or the study of organisms on the bottom of sea, led by senior scientist Jim Culter. The Ocean Technology Research program provides a database of local coastal environments and has deployed an optical instrument to detect algal blooms. The Ecotoxicology headed by Dr. Richard Pierce relies on the data to study harmful toxins. The Environmental Laboratory for Forensics in Dr. Dana Wetzel program has studied the effects of petroleum in the water and has received $16 million over 18 years. Dr. Catherine Walsh of the Marine Immunology program is responsible for the health of marine life.

The vast other programs mentioned above combine with different research programs for phytoplankton, dolphins, manatees, fish, rays, sea turtles, sharks: well, just about anything in the oceans. They do this from field stations around the globe.

Upcoming events at Mote support World Oceans Day

An array of events surrounding World Oceans Day starting Saturday will be held at Mote. The day before on Friday the International OCEAN FILM TOUR, volume 6 is a big screen presentation starting at 7 PM, a film for all who have a fascination with the ocean. Saturday events start with the FMSEA/FWC Aquatic Species Collection Workshop, hosted by Mote and held twice a year. It is followed by the World Oceans Day Family Festival 2019 from 10 AM to 1 PM. This is a full day of photo opportunities, vendor booths, presentations and entertainment. Check out all the events at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium website.

Update on the Mote Science Education Aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park

Mote SEA
Mote SEA - Dream gets stronger for education center

Last month more news of the Mote Science Education Aquarium surfaced when a construction management team was announced for the new site of the Aquarium to be built between the Mall at University Town Center and Nathan Benderson Park off Interstate 75 in Sarasota. The project is proceeding with Willis A. Smith Construction which has had previous projects with Mote. A national firm The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company with an office in Tampa will work with Massachusetts based architect CambridgeSeven as the second and third triad in its construction.

The 12 acres of Benderson Park was allocated in January by Sarasota County and has a request to fund $20 million of the estimated $130 million cost. Private donations have totaled $34. Manatee County is studying the legality and feasibility of providing $15 million from funds raised by a 5 percent tourism tax on hotel stays.

When finished the Mote Science Education Aquarium will be an icon for the two counties and the state. It will become an education and marine outreach center with displays that have originated from around the world. Over 1 million gallons of water will host aquatic life and technology used throughout the 110,000-square-foot facility to educate with labs and even on-site scuba diving training center.

The location was selected for its proximity to I-75 and the increased traffic that is brought in through shopping mall visits. Last month the Benderson Development Company announced plans for 1,750 apartments, office space and a 900,000 square foot entertainment center with multi-screen theater. Three hotels, restaurants and shopping stores are also planned in the East District.

Last week I listed a fabulous, coastal contemporary home at 658 Mourning Dove Drive with updates found throughout this Bird Key waterfront estate. It should be one of those on your list worth looking at. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
658 Mourning Dove Drive $1,895,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Economist view of the Market

by Roger Pettingell

An Economist's View of the Market

As funny as his presentation was, his message was strong

Elliott Eisenberg, Ph.D., economist
Elliott Eisenberg, Ph.D., economist - Click on the image for more information and to register for his 70 word daily blogs on economics.

Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D. is a funny guy. He is an economist, so how can I call him funny. He recently spoke at a recent gathering for local REALTORS®, there to speak on the economics of the housing market.

There was laughter at many of his jokes and one in particular. He was explaining the Federal government’s role in stimulus packages. He noted that more rebates for home buyers weren’t necessary based on inventory and the number of buyers for those homes. It was actually the Federal government that was a factor in the overload.

“If you dig a hole too deep,” he said. “Get rid of the shovel.”

He was good at either an analogy or quick witted comment to put everything in perspective. It was an economist’s view of inflation, business growth, government programs, and yes: interest rates and the housing market. There was a tie-in to housing sales in all the economic indicators and he showed the graphs that he used to back up his findings. Even his website is a combination of serious figures and comedy routines,

He pointed out that more state and local jobs will be created and industry production is increasing too for more jobs. He made a point to indicate that with more jobs, the housing market is stronger. We can all make that assumption but it took someone with his background to look at the numbers to tell us whether we are going up or down.

He noted the government’s role in interest rates. He seemed to have a clear vision of the Federal Reserve, despite the changing of the guard and the inauguration of Janet Yellen as head. He claimed that short term-rates will stay low as long as unemployment and inflation remains low.

Dr. Eisenberg noted that lenders need home buyers and that buyers should seek out lenders they trust. At issue is the uncertainty in creating loans and uncertainty in getting a loan that was created by the housing crisis a few years ago. This has created a situation where the banks are losing money. It also may account for the recent announcement from RealtyTrac that 65% of home purchases in Sarasota County were based on cash purchases. This ranks among the top five in the nation of cities with populations over 500,00. He reasoned that regulations will ease a bit to pull us out even faster.

He did note that the government will likely drive interest rates upward, but that it won’t start until the Fed tapers its stimulus packages, likely to start in November. Dr. Eisenberg made note that his views were smart, but that government is not always smart.

He displayed a graph that was a combination of existing home sales and new home sales. The gap was very noticeable the last four years. Encouraging were his figures on the decreasing number of distressed homes as a percentage of total home sales.

He wrapped up with graphs on Florida and its comparison to other states in the nation. He said that the east coast up to Pennsylvania is looking good for the housing market and that Florida is fourth or fifth in unemployment recovery. He was keen on the fact that listings are still down but that Florida has recovered to a point that houses were selling at 95% of the original listing price. He said we still have a long way to go from the 34% below market prices that this state is in recovery.

The take-away is that we should all be bullish on the economy and we have all seen the indicators. Now we have a good perspective that relates it all back to the housing market.


For more information, and to register for 70 word daily blogs on the economy, visit the website of Elliott Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Please take a look at our most recent listings. We welcome these new sellers to our services here at Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker Previews International. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (941) 387-1840.

3030 Grand Bay Blvd., #354 $1,149,000 Video  
1000 Longboat Club Rd. #703 $649,000 Video Photo Slideshow



Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2




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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.