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Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer

Richard Danielson

Richard Danielson covers business news, including economic development, Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay and the Water Street Tampa project near downtown Tampa. Since joining the Times in 1987, he has covered Tampa City Hall (twice) as well as local government in Pinellas and Pasco counties, state and federal courts and higher education. He also has worked as a general assignment reporter and as the Times' Palm Harbor bureau chief and Clearwater city editor. In his last assignment at City Hall, he was the main contributor to PolitiFact Florida's Buck-O-Meter, which tracks Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's performance on 34 campaign promises.

Phone: (813) 226-3403


Twitter: @Danielson_Times

  1. Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa called Wednesday for artists to send in their ideas for a big piece of public art for the outdoor plaza between one of the $3 billion project's office buildings and the new University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    The art should reflect Water Street Tampa's focus on health, the environment, science and medicine, said Strategic Property Partners, the joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment capital fund....

  2. Raymond James advice for small to mid-sized companies about activist shareholders? Prepare and listen


    Shareholder fights between activist investors and publicly traded companies are getting nastier, especially in some industries, and a lot of them don't involve corporate giants like General Motors and Procter & Gamble.

    In 2015, according to Raymond James, 208 activist campaigns were launched against 169 companies valued between $50 million and $1 billion. Since 2009, the number of campaigns against companies that size has grown 163 percent....

  3. Tampa Electric planning to convert Big Bend power plant where five died in June from coal to natural gas


    TAMPA — The parent company of Tampa Electric plans to seek regulatory approval in coming months to convert its Big Bend power plant, the site of an industrial accident that killed five workers last year, from coal to natural gas, a top executive said Friday.

    If approved, the full conversion would cost an estimated $1 billion and could take a decade to complete, said Rob Bennett, who led the integration of TECO Energy with Emera after the Canadian company bought TECO in 2016....

  4. Plan to create 'quiet zone' for train horns in downtown Tampa unravels as cost more than doubles


    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn likes public-private partnerships, but a project the city wants to do with CSX has gone off the rails.

    That's because the estimated cost of creating a "quiet zone" where CSX freight trains won't blast their horns as they roll through downtown Tampa has more than doubled to $7 million or more.

    "It's outrageous," Buckhorn said this week. "We can't afford it."...

  5. 19.6 million passengers at Tampa International Airport in 2017 sets new record


    TAMPA — If you were ever at Tampa International Airport last year and it seemed like the entire population of the state of New York was passing through, well, there was a reason.

    That's because in 2017 the airport saw a record 19.6 million passengers — a number close to the entire population of the state of New York.

    Airport officials on Thursday welcomed the new record, which beats the airport's previous best year in 2007, before and at the very start of the Great Recession....

  6. Florida projected to have $1 trillion economy in 2018


    Florida's economy is expected to hit the $1 trillion mark — about the size of Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product — in 2018, the Florida Chamber of Commerce projected Tuesday.

    "It's time to start viewing Florida on a global scale," chamber president Mark Wilson said at the organization's annual economic outlook summit in Tallahassee. So, he said, the state should compare itself less often with neighbors like Georgia and more often with similarly sized national economies like Mexico....

  7. Tampa law firms part of nationwide push to sue over opioid crisis


    TAMPA — Two Tampa law firms are part of a nationwide effort to recover damages from pharmaceutical companies for states and local governments burdened by a rising tide of opioid overdoses.

    Hillsborough County already is a potential plaintiff. Tampa could sign on this week.

    The suit would be similar to the multi-state legal campaigns launched against Big Tobacco and BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. And the initiative is being led by former Mississippi attorney general Mike Moore, who in 1994 filed the first suit against cigarette makers over the public costs of treating disease caused by smoking....

  8. Outback Bowl director's pay approaches $1 million

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Look around the Tampa Bay area, and it is hard to find an economic development executive, public official or nonprofit leader paid more than Outback Bowl president Jim McVay.

    In 2015, McVay's compensation totalled $993,458, according to the bowl's IRS tax return for that year.

    That's more than the salaries for top executives at the University of South Florida, Port Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport....

  9. Blake Casper files plans for private club with B&B at historic Stovall-Lee estate

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Blake Casper is moving ahead with his biggest project since he created a Tampa see-and-be-seen hot spot at the Oxford Exchange.

    Casper has filed rezoning and alcohol special use requests with City Hall to transform the historic Stovall-Lee House overlooking Hillsborough Bay into a private club with a five-bedroom bed and breakfast for the exclusive use of its members.

    Casper, 44, the CEO of a company that owns more than 50 McDonald's restaurants around the Tampa Bay area, and his wife Tate plan to buy the walled mansion and property at 4621 Bayshore Boulevard from retired senior Coca-Cola executive Harry Teasley Jr....

  10. Bob Buckhorn does his own poll on transit, Donald Trump and Puerto Rico and ... Bob Buckhorn


    TAMPA — Most Tampanians in a recent poll said they would support paying more in sales taxes to pay for building a citywide rail system to ease traffic.

    Most disapproved of how President Trump handled the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, but liked the job Tampa police and Mayor Bob Buckhorn are doing.

    Such are the key takeaways from a private poll that Buckhorn himself commissioned in late November....

  11. Jeff Vinik hires Chicago startup specialist Lakshmi Shenoy to run Tampa innovation hub at Channelside Bay Plaza

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik is hiring an executive from one of the nation's most respected startup incubators to run a similar innovation hub he's planning for his Water Street Tampa project.

    Lakshmi Shenoy, 34, will come to Tampa from her current job as vice president of strategy and business at 1871, a tech entrepreneurship hub in Chicago that UBI Global rated as the top university-affiliated incubator in the United States....

  12. Tampa airport lines up millions in alternative project financing before final vote on GOP tax bill


    TAMPA — Tampa International Airport officials started out trying to hedge their bets against one kind of uncertainty.

    They ended up on guard against another.

    But the response to each was similar: get ready to borrow money a little sooner than expected, before something happens to add to the cost.

    The Hillsborough Aviation Authority governing board held a special meeting Wednesday where it unanimously approved two measures designed to protect itself against rising interest rates, an unpredictable regulatory environment or both....

  13. After questions, Port Tampa Bay commissions outside audit of promotional spending

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Six months after television news reports raised pointed questions about port officials' restaurant and entertainment spending, Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson said Tuesday he is commissioning an outside audit of the port's business development and promotional spending for the past three years.

    It is, he said, an exercise in "utmost transparency" and expects that it will help show how the port has grown its business by recruiting new and different kinds of tenants as well as retaining existing tenants....

  14. Tampa International Airport hasn't suffered an Atlanta-style loss of power, but it is prepared for one


    TAMPA — Tampa International Airport sees about one-fifth as many passengers as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but a major power outage here could cause disruptions to air travel, too.

    That said, TIA has taken steps to create "redundancy after redundancy" to mitigate the impact of an Atlanta-style power loss as much as possible, airport spokeswoman Janet Scherberger said Monday....

  15. Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

    Real Estate

    LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax assessment "exceeds the market value" of the property.

    The 59,500-square-foot building at 15950 Bay Vista Drive is owned by MBGLEN Co., headed by New York businessman Richard Robbins. The company paid a property tax bill of $110,887 ahead of filing the lawsuit in Pinellas Circuit Court. It seeks to have a court set aside the property appraiser's assessment, resulting in a lower tax bill....