May 20, 2024

Economic Yearbook 2017

Southwest Florida: Arrivals and departures

Amy Martinez | 3/28/2017


Airport Builds Out

In 1971, Tampa International Airport opened as the first airport in the world to use an automated “people mover” tram to shuttle travelers between terminals.

In 2014, the airport — consistently ranked as a favorite among air travelers — embarked on its largest expansion, a nearly $1-billion project to be completed by early 2018. To pay for the upgrade, the airport has raised nearly $700 million using bonds backed by fees assessed on airline passengers and rental car customers. The state contributed $194 million, and the federal government gave $60 million.

Airport officials say they expect demand for flying into and out of Tampa to nearly double over the next 15 years. The airport served 18. 8 million passengers in 2015, making it the state’s fourth-busiest airport behind Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. By 2033, the airport could see 34 million passengers a year, officials say.

“We’re a hub for people trying to get to the west coast beaches, and we have a growing business climate,” says airport spokesman Danny Valentine. “We’re preparing for the future.”

The major components of the project:

Terminal expansion: The airport is expanding its main terminal by 55,000 square feet and renovating passenger areas to make them feel “more open and airy,” Valentine says. It also is overhauling its concessions to provide more options and showcase local businesses. Nearly 70 new restaurants and retailers will have opened at the airport by the end of this year, including Tampa-based Yogurtology and Goody Goody Burgers.

People mover: Airline passengers will soon be able to take a tram from the main terminal to economy parking or to pick up a rental car in less than five minutes. The new $412-million, 1.4-mile tram system includes an 88,000-sq.-ft. station off the main terminal.

Rental car center: A new 2. 6-million-sq.-ft. car rental center will house 16 brands and free up space in the long-term parking garage. By moving car-rental operations out of the garage, the airport hopes to reduce traffic congestion at the main terminal.

Taxiway bridge: The airport spent more than $30.7 million to widen a taxiway bridge that allows planes to pass over vehicle traffic.

Tampa International Airport

18.8 million Total passengers in 2015

4th Rank among Florida airports for passenger traffic

500 Number of daily takeoffs and landings

3,300 Acres

86 Number of non-stop destinations

57 Number of weekly international departures


Redeveloping the West River

Last year, the Tampa Housing Authority chose Miami-based Related Urban Development Group to lead a $500-million overhaul of the West River area, which encompasses 1.3 miles of riverfront northwest of downtown. The district has been home to two large public housing projects that will be replaced with 1,640 subsidized and market-rate homes, along with 170,000 square feet of restaurants, stores and other commercial space. Construction will take place in multiple phases over the next five to six years.

Historically, poor pedestrian infrastructure has discouraged residents from walking or biking to the riverfront. To revive West River, the city also is investing $35 million into Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, adding recreational opportunities and links to the river.

“We’re excited about what the area can become,” says Albert Milo, who heads Related’s affordable housing division. The goal, he says, is to create a place “where families of all income levels will want to live.”


Jeff Vinik’s Waterfront Overhaul

Strategic Property Partners (SPP), a venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, has begun its $3-billion overhaul of downtown Tampa’s southern waterfront.

Currently, SPP is reconfiguring local streets to make getting around easier for drivers as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. Next up is a new medical school building for the University of South Florida. Construction of the $153-million building, which also will house a cardiology institute, is to start in August, with opening set for late 2019.

Over the next decade, SPP plans to transform about 50 acres around Amalie Arena into a 9-million-sq.-ft. mixed-use development. The first of three phases, due for completion by the end of 2020, will have 4.5 million square feet of commercial, residential, educational, entertainment and retail space.

People to Watch

Judy Genshaft: The University of South Florida has consistently raised its reputation and rankings under Genshaft, now in her 17th year as president. In 2015, USF cracked the top 25 for research spending among public universities nationwide and ranks second in the state only to the University of Florida. Last year, the Florida Board of Governors awarded USF “emerging pre-eminent” status, providing an additional $5 million in recurring state funds. Ultimately, Genshaft aims to get USF to full pre-eminence, a designation held by UF and Florida State. Meanwhile, she hopes to complete USF’s $1-billion capital campaign this year.

Kiran Patel: The Tampa health care executive-turned- real estate developer continues to make his mark with high-profile projects. Earlier this year, Patel opened a $175-million, 450-room Wyndham Grand resort on Clearwater Beach. He now plans to build an osteopathic medical school on 25 acres overlooking Old Tampa Bay in Clearwater. Patel, chairman of Tampa-based Freedom Health, also is a big backer of local institutions, including USF.

People to Watch

Adrian Jones: In 2010, Jones moved to Florida from California to open and run the Legoland theme park in Winter Haven. As general manager, he has made Legoland a key player in central Florida’s tourism industry. The park features 50-plus rides, shows and attractions, including a new Ninjago World section, and has a 152-room hotel. A second hotel, Legoland Beach Retreat, is set to open this month.

Rex Jensen: Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch broke ground last year on its first residential development in Sarasota County. The nearly 50-square-mile Lakewood Ranch, which opened its first model home in 1995, straddles Manatee and Sarasota counties. Until now, it has had only commercial developments south of the county line. Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder- Manatee Ranch, says the new Waterside development will have more than 5,000 homes, including condos and apartments, as well as commercial and office space, parks and about 1,900 acres of conservation area.

Alan List: The CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is drumming up support for a 10-year, $800-million expansion. Plans call for a new hospital wing, clinical support building and additional outpatient and research facilities. List hopes to raise $500 million and finance the rest with a bond backed by state cigarette tax money.

Mindy Grossman: As the new chair of the National Retail Federation (NRF), Grossman brings a fresh perspective from outside the traditional retail environment. Grossman is CEO of St. Petersburg-based retailer HSN, which sells products on TV, online, via mobile devices, in catalogs and in stores. She is the first woman to lead the NRF board in its 106-year history.

Allen Weiss: In 2015, the CEO of NCH Healthcare System in Naples helped launch a community initiative to improve the health and well-being of residents throughout Collier and southern Lee counties. The Southwest Florida Blue Zones Project works with local employers, businesses, churches and schools to encourage people to make healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The NCH-led project counts more than 50 public and private institutions as partners and aims to achieve a 20% participation rate within the community by 2022.

Regional Roundup

Citrus County

County Population: 145,844, Ï+4.7% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 6.0%
Per Capita Income: $36,912

LECANTO — YMCA of the Suncoast opened a branch location in Citrus County. The new Citrus Memorial Health Foundation YMCA includes two pools, a water slide, wellness center, auditorium, cycling room and nature trail. The Suncoast Y previously used local schools, churches and government buildings to provide services to county residents. Citrus Memorial Health Foundation gave $2.8 million to the new facility. A $250,000 grant from Suncoast Credit Union Foundation enabled the addition of a teen center.

Charlotte County County Population: 175,390, Ï+7.7% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 17.5%
Per Capita Income: $39,112

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — Local tourism officials have begun marketing Charlotte County as one of the best places in Florida for outdoor recreation. New promotional materials include the tagline “Our Best Side is Outside” and the destination name “Punta Gorda/ Englewood Beach.” The county features 28 miles of sandy beaches and 53 canoe and kayak “blueway” trails totaling more than 190 miles.

Collier County

County Population: 369,683, Ï+11.1% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 25.2%
Per Capita Income: $80,252

NAPLES — Medical device manufacturer Arthrex will invest more than $63 million to expand its campus in Naples, adding 560 jobs over the next five years. The expansion comes with a $5.9-million package of state and county incentives. The new jobs will pay an average of $54,000 a year. Before the expansion, Arthrex employed about 2,270.

DeSoto County

County Population: 35,913, Ï+3.4% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 10.0%
Per Capita Income: $23,129

ARCADIA — A $6-million arena for the Arcadia Rodeo is being built near the Turner Agri-Civic Center. Rodeo leaders say the arena was made possible by a $3-million grant from the Mosaic Company Foundation. The 7,796-seat Mosaic Arena is to open this fall.

Glades County

County Population: 14,122, Ï+8.4% vs. 2012 5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 4.3% Per Capita Income: $22,911

GLADES COUNTY — The Southwest Florida Community Foundation of Fort Myers gave $50,000 to the Glades County Regional Training Center, its first sizable grant in the county. The new 40,000-sq.-ft. training center will use the money for a telecommunications network.

Hardee County

County Population: 28,131, Ï+2.6% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 4.8%
Per Capita Income: $26,002

WAUCHULA — J.W. “Jake” Crews IV became president of Wauchula State Bank last year, the fourth generation in his family to own and operate the 88-year-old business. The bank also opened its first Polk County location with a branch in Winter Haven.

Hendry County

County Population: 39,885, Ï+5.8% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.9%
Per Capita Income: $30,610

LABELLE — Direct Industrial Products, an industrial construction supply store and machine shop, plans to double its local workforce over the next two years. The company employs about 20 in LaBelle. > The LaBelle Municipal Airport received a $3.25-million federal grant to build a new terminal.

Hernando County

County Population: 184,987, Ï+6.9% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 15.1%
Per Capita Income: $34,875

HERNANDO COUNTY — Online insurance agency e-TeleQuote expanded to Hernando County. The Clearwater-based company pledged to create 70 jobs with an average annual wage of nearly $45,000 in exchange for $210,000 in county incentives. > Duke Energy selected a 285-acre parcel for its site readiness program. The parcel is located at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center and can accommodate nearly 800,000 square feet of new industrial development.

Highlands County

County Population: 103,476, Ï+5.5% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 10.6%
Per Capita Income: $33,325

HIGHLANDS COUNTY — Citra- Pac, a maker of frozen fruit snacks, finished building a 42,000-sq.-ft. facility at Sebring Regional Airport’s industrial park. County officials say the facility will generate 240 jobs at full production.

Hillsborough County County Population: 1.38 million, Ï+7.7% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.6%
Per Capita Income: $44,765

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay has unveiled a “Vision 2030” master plan that touches virtually every segment of its business. The plan includes an expanded auto import terminal, a new petroleum storage center, deeper channels and upgrades to cruise gangways and berths. The port also wants to transform 45 acres it owns into a vibrant, urban community with residential high-rises and waterfront parks.

Lee County

County Population: 713,279, Ï+10.6% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 24.3%
Per Capita Income: $45,821

LEE COUNTY — Lee Health is expanding with several major projects. A dedicated facility for its children’s hospital is to open this spring at HealthPark campus in Fort Myers. The new 128-bed, $242-million Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida will include a pediatric cancer program, emergency department and 64 private beds in the neonatal intensive care unit. The public nonprofit health system also is building Lee Health-Coconut Point, a $140-million outpatient medical campus with a 24-hour emergency center in southern Lee County. Later this year, Lee Health plans to begin a 24,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its Regional Cancer Center and a 275-bed expansion of its Gulf Coast Medical Center.

Pasco County

County Population: 510,327, Ï+8.4% vs. 2012 5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 18.0% Per Capita Income: $36,487 WESLEY CHAPEL — A new ice-skating facility near I-75 is expected to draw more sports tourists to Pasco County. The Florida Hospital Center Ice complex, billed as the largest of its kind in the Southeast, has three National Hockey League-size rinks, one Olympic rink and a junior rink. The Tampa Bay Lightning will sponsor camps, clinics and a recreational league at the facility.

Manatee County

County Population: 370,315, Ï+10.9% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.7%
Per Capita Income: $44,365

BRADENTON — Sunz Insurance, a workers’ comp insurer, relocated to Bradenton from Sarasota, paying nearly $2.3 million for a six-story headquarters building downtown. Downtown Bradenton’s office vacancy rate has fallen from a fiveyear market average of 8.1% to 4.1%, according to Colliers International Tampa Bay. > The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. hired Max Stewart as director of business development. Stewart previously oversaw international trade development in the southwestern part of the state for Enterprise Florida.

Pinellas County

County Population: 953,545, Ï+3.4% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages/Salaries: 12.2%
Per Capita Income: $49,924

ST. PETERSBURG — The University of South Florida St. Petersburg opened a $30-million, 68,000-sq.- ft. Building for its business school. Next year, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will open an $85-million, 225,000-sq.-ft. research and education center. Both developments are part of a city strategy to transform an area south of downtown into an innovation district. The city has set aside land in south St. Petersburg for a new business incubator to foster entrepreneurship in the technology, health care and marine sectors. Pinellas County has agreed to help recruit an anchor business tenant and raise money for the $12-million project. The proposed facility would have about 50,000 square feet of space. “We want it to be a showcase for innovations throughout the Bay area and Florida,” says Tonya Elmore, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, which is partnering with the city and county to create the incubator.

Polk County

County Population: 657,706, Ï+6.8% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 14.8%
Per Capita Income: $35,300

LAKELAND — Florida Polytechnic University, the state’s 12th and newest public university, expects to become accredited this year. The school also is building a wellness and aquatic center and is working with the state on a new testing facility for transportation technology.

Sarasota County

County Population: 410,816, Ï+6.4% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 21.6%
Per Capita Income: $58,741

NORTH PORT — In January, the Atlanta Braves entered into negotiations with the county to move the team’s spring camp to North Port from Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The move depends on construction of a stadium complex in the West Villages district. The project is estimated to cost $75 million to $80 million. Terms still in negotiation include about $22 million in county hotel tax funding and $20 million from the state. The city of North Port, the Braves and West Villages developers also would provide funding. The Braves hope to be in their new home in 2019.

Living Space

Nine multi-family housing projects totaling nearly 970 units are being built in downtown St. Petersburg, and an additional 792 units are cleared for construction. A 41-story condominium tower called ONE St. Petersburg, scheduled to open in late 2018, will be downtown’s tallest building. A 173- room hotel component of the development is to be completed later this year.

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