Neal close to its record for annual home sales
LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Neal Communities is on the verge of having its best year ever.
The Lakewood Ranch home builder sold 85 new homes in November, bringing its year-to-date total to 808. With a month to go in 2014, company officials are predicting Neal Communities will set a sales record, eclipsing the 826 homes the company sold last year.
Company President Pat Neal has characterized 2014 as a run up to a peak production year for the company sometime between 2017 and 2021. Neal Communities has purchased hundreds of acres this year, including its single most-expensive land deal, an $8.29 million buy of 111 acres in Lakewood Ranch in August. The land will be used for new Neal housing communities.
The company has also started numerous housing developments this year. In Manatee County, new community starts include River Wind in East Manatee, Indigo in Lakewood Ranch, Magnolia Point in the Whitfield area and The Ridge at Creekwood Crossing.
November's sales came out of 16 Neal communities.
Russian buys Watson's Nobel to give it back
MOSCOW -- Russia's richest man says he has bought James D. Watson's Nobel Prize medal at Christie's in order to return it to the scientist.
Alisher Usmanov, a metal and telecommunications tycoon worth $15.8 billion according to Forbes magazine, said in remarks carried by Russian television Tuesday that when he learned Watson was selling the medal for charity he decided to purchase it and give it back to him.
Watson's 1962 Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA sold at Christie's in a New York auction for $4.7 million, a world auction record for any Nobel. The auction house said it was the first Nobel medal offered at auction by a living recipient.
Usmanov hailed Watson as one of the greatest biologists in the history of mankind.
Manatee Chamber hosts welcome event Jan. 14
The Manatee Chamber is hosting a VIP luncheon to welcome Sandra Stone, new regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee.
The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Holiday Inn, 8009 15th St. E. The luncheon will include a question-and-answer session with the new chancellor. The cost is $25 for Manatee Chamber and Manatee Young Professionals members, $35 for non-members and guests.
Contact Lisa Reeder at LisaR@ManateeChamber.com or 941-748-3411 to make a reservation.
Herald staff and wire reports