TD Waterhouse Group Inc. continues to solidify its position on the list of companies that have tumbled since entering stadium naming-rights deals.
Orlando Weekly reported in June that the online brokerage's stock had fallen more than 50 percent since it struck a four-year, $8 million deal with the city and the Magic in February 2000. Between February and April of this year, the company cut its workforce by about 15 percent through attrition. Then, in May, it reported that its second-quarter income plunged 90 percent from second-quarter income a year earlier.
Now, on July 30, comes word that the company is laying off 600 people and closing a call center in Chicago, as well as 17 branches throughout the country.
Beware any promise from the Magic that it can sell the name to a future arena.
Time to smell the roses
Community pressure finally helped convince Orange County to preserve for public use the overrun but famed botanical garden in west Orange County started by horticultural icon Henry Nehrling more than a century ago `The Price of Preservation, May 3`.
The owner, Barbara Bochiardy, wants $800,000 for her six acres, four of which are developable. Appraisals value the land at about $300,000. The Orange County Commission settled for a compromise, allocating $500,000 over the next two years -- $400,000 this year for acquisition and start-up costs, $100,000 next year for operating costs -- to help the nonprofit Henry Nehrling Society open a museum.
Was Bochiardy happy? "Yes, partly," she said. "It's not over yet." Another appraisal is on order. Meantime, no one knows how much it will cost to bring Bochiardy's house up to code and make it handicapped-accessible, as is required. Some estimates say it could cost up to $4 million, an expense to which commissioners didn't take well.
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