Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Briefs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Briefs

Article excerpt

RAILAMERICA HAS LOSS OF $2.8 MILLION IN QUARTER

RailAmerica Inc. reported Wednesday a first-quarter loss from continuing operations of $2.8 million, or five cents per diluted share. The loss was caused by $3.6 million in after-tax non-cash charges for interest rate swap termination costs.

Revenue for the Jacksonville-based short line railroad company rose 14 percent to $112.7 million.

"We are off to a solid start in 2010 and are encouraged by a clearly improving economy. The pickup in business activity appears sustainable, and we are optimistic this year will mark our return to positive full year carload growth for the first time since 2006," CEO John Giles said in a news release.

Mark Basch/The Times-Union

HOTEL OCCUPANCY RATES INCREASING IN JACKSONVILLE

Hotel occupancy rates in Jacksonville that dropped in January and February 2009 have been reversed by increases in February and March of this year, but those rates are still off the marks set for the same months in 2008.

Visit Jacksonville said Wednesday that according to Smith Travel Research data, Duval County occupancy rose above the 60 percent level for both months this year after falling below for the same two months in 2009. Occupancy was at 61.4 percent in February, a 6 percent increase over 59.3 percent in the same month last year; the increase for March was to 63.3 percent this year from 58.9 percent last year.

But the county's occupancy rates haven't yet clawed back to 2008 levels, when occupancy rates were 70.8 percent in February and 67.4 percent in March, according to Smith Travel Research.

The 60 percent level is meaningful to hotel managers because hotels need to remain above that level to be considered profitable, according to the Visit Jacksonville release.

Kevin Turner/ The Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE NO. 33 FOR FORECLOSURE NOTICES

Jacksonville placed 33rd highest in the nation when it came to the percentage of homes that received some kind of foreclosure-related notice in the first quarter of 2010.

According to information from real estate data aggregator RealtyTrac, one out of every 76 Jacksonville-area homes received such a notice during that time. …

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