DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
St. Joe Co. (JOE) hired CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBG) to help sell or lease more than 1,000 acres adjacent to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport for commercial development.
The site is part of about 71,000 acres that St. Joe, Florida's largest private-property owner, owns in Bay County in Northwest Florida.
St. Joe donated 4,000 acres for the airport, scheduled to open in May near Panama City Beach. The company expects the airport to create thousands of jobs and increase the value of its land nearby. The airport also will make the Florida Panhandle easier to reach for vacationers.
"This key agreement will help further establish Northwest Florida as a major business hub," said St. Joe's President and Chief Executive Britt Greene.
The company has been hurt by the housing downturn in Florida, which had been one of the hottest real-estate markets in the country. In 2008, St. Joe shut its home-building operations, slashed its work force to 200 from 1,500, and outsourced management of its hotels, golf courses and marinas.
In November, St. Joe's reported its third-quarter loss narrowed to $14.4 million and revenue climbed 30% to $43.2 million.
Its shares rose 0.8% to $27.43 in after-hours trading. The stock is up 5% in the past year.
-By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com