Business briefs: SRQ to break ground for traffic control tower; LWRBA hosting socials

SRQ set

to build new

control tower

MANATEE -- The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport breaks ground this week on its new $25 million aircraft control tower.

On Friday morning, the airport will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to start the project. Speakers at the invitation-only event will be Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, FDOT District One Secretary Billy Hattaway, Federal Aviation Administration Southern Region Administrator Dennis Roberts and airport authority Chairman Peter Wish.

The authority recently awarded a $16 million contract to build the tower to Halfacre Construction of Lakewood Ranch. The airport is funding about a third of the total project. Additional funding will come from the FAA and Florida Department of Transportation.

The tower itself is planned to be 145 feet high and to span 9,800 square feet. It will be located on the west side of SRQ's airfield. The current 85-foot tower on the northern edge of the airport will be demolished once the new tower is operational.

LWRBA to host networking socials on Wednesday

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance will host two networking socials from 5 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday for members and non-members.

The events will take place at The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch, 8220 Natures Way, and Windsor Reflections, 8230 Natures Way. Complimentary appetizers will be provided in addition to giveaways. Members can attend for free, and non-members can pay $10 to attend.

SeaWorld increases ticket prices for 1-day admission

ORLANDO -- SeaWorld Orlando is increasing its single-day admission and parking prices.

Adult prices for theme park admission rose by $2 to $99 on Monday. Tickets cost $94 for children younger than 10.

Discounts are available when purchasing advance tickets online.

The park also announced that parking costs will by $1 to $18.

The increase comes several months after admission prices rose at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

SeaWorld's annual passes remain unchanged at $156. The park is offering a $30 discount through Jan. 5 that reduces the cost to $126.

Sprint signs cellphone agreement with Cuba firm

LA HABANA -- Cuba's state telecommunications company and U.S. firm Sprint have signed an agreement for cellphone roaming service, the first direct deal of its kind between phone companies in both countries.

The agreement was announced Monday at the International Fair of Havana, which this year features about 900 companies, a third of them Cuban. About 70 countries are represented, including the United States, with some 20 firms.

The agreement will allow Sprint subscribers visiting Cuba to send and receive calls and text messages directly through the state company Etecsa, which has the monopoly for telecommunications service on the island.

Verizon in September began offering the first cellphone roaming service in Cuba through the firm's Pay-As-You-Go International travel option. But the service is through third companies, not directly through Etecsa.

-- Herald staff, wire reports