Business Florida 2022 - The Regions
Charlotte • Collier • Lee
Consisting of just three coastal counties, Southwest is Florida’s smallest economic development region by land size, but it looms large as an ideal business site for three reasons: (1) This region’s largest county by area — Collier — is also Florida’s second richest by per capita income; (2) Lee County, which is home to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, is among the state’s fastest growing counties; and (3) Charlotte County, with its strategic location along I-75 between Tampa and Miami, proves its logistical prowess daily by providing easy access to a potential 4 million customers within a 90-mile radius. And if you’re not sold on this region quite yet, here’s another plus to consider: WalletHub’s 2021 nationwide ranking of “Best Small Cities to Start a Business,” put Fort Myers at No. 8, the only city outside of America’s West to make the Top 10 cut.
Life Sciences & Health Care
Medical device manufacturer Arthrex first came to Florida’s Southwest in 1991, and as its footprint grew in the region, so did a sizeable life sciences cluster. In 2020, as Arthrex opened a new 300,000-sq.-ft. headquarters and 160-room hotel to accommodate visiting physicians for training on its medical devices in Naples, these other health care companies were finding corporate homes here too:
• NeoGenomics, a specialist in cancer genetics testing and information services, has opened a 150,000-sq.-ft. headquarters with space for laboratory and corporate support functions near Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. In May 2021, NeoGenomics acquired Inivata, a British-based liquid biopsy maker.
• Lenkbar invents, designs and manufactures surgical devices and implants that aim to simplify surgery for physicians and improve patient outcomes. Founded in 2012 with just three employees, Lenkbar has recently expanded into a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility near Naples airport.
• Catalyst OrthoScience, founded in 2014 by an orthopedic surgeon, this Naples-based firm develops innovative medical solutions that make orthopedic surgery less invasive and more efficient for doctors and their patients.
In addition, Florida’s Southwest region is served by three primary health care systems: Lee Health, with four acute care hospitals in Lee County — Lee Memorial, HealthPark Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center and Cape Coral Hospital, plus Golisano Children’s Hospital; NCH Healthcare with two hospitals — NCH Baker and NCH North Naples — and in Charlotte County, Bayfront Health with full-service hospitals in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda and a Bayfront Health ER & Urgent Care in Cape Coral.
In 2021, two Lee Health facilities made news: Lee Memorial Hospital was named No. 9 “Best Hospital in Florida” by U.S. News & World Report; and Gulf Coast Medical Center opened a new, 52-bed intensive care unit as part of the facility’s $315-million expansion, which is expected to wrap up later this year.
KEY PLAYERS: Arthrex, Naples; Lee Health, Fort Myers; NCH Healthcare System, Naples; NeoGenomics, Fort Myers