2022 Economic Outlook
Southeast Florida's economic forecast for 2022
Regional business leaders talk about the outlook for the year ahead, plus demographics and statistics
FORECAST / HEALTH CARE
CFO/EVP, Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood
“I see a few storms on the horizon. The amount we’re paying for labor is escalating at an exponential rate. You have the supply chain issues. We used to try to squeeze every nickel out of the supply chain. Now, it’s not about the money. It’s, can I get it? The more we can get here in the U.S., the better off we’re going to be in terms of guaranteeing we have what we need to take care of our patients.
I’m very proud of the way our employees have reacted during this crisis.”
FORECAST / REAL ESTATE
Executive Managing Director, office and industrial services, Colliers, Fort Lauderdale
“The levels of activity in the Broward office market have been as robust as we’ve seen in any cycle in the 30-plus years I’ve been doing it. Increased rental rates, reduction in concessions and more of a landlord-stabilized market. We just completed Chewy.com’s new headquarters lease in Broward County. They’re moving to 220,000 square feet in Plantation from 130,000 in Dania Beach. We just signed a lease for 70,000 square feet in Plantation for a well-known toy manufacturer and distributor with a plan for expansion to 140,000 square feet. We did a deal with the American Queen Voyages company. They were Indiana based. We did a full-floor, 20,000-sq.-ft. lease with them in Fort Lauderdale.”
FORECAST / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
President, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce
“It’s amazing the type of economic growth that we’re seeing, particularly in light of all the gyrations we went through with COVID. Just about every major interchange along the I-95 and Turnpike corridor is now seeing some very significant industrial development. We’re starting to see companies say, ‘Yeah, we’re considering South Florida. We want to throw St. Lucie County in the mix for a small regional corporate headquarters or technology-based smaller companies or even more advanced manufacturing.‘
We’re starting to see an interest in some of these other value-added businesses that normally wouldn’t give us the time of day.”
- Memorial Hospital System will complete a $166-million, four-story expansion of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood in November.
Sailfish Sands Golf Course in Stuart, which opened in early October, will add a building with a new clubhouse and 20 hitting bays with interactive screens. Sailfish replaced the former Martin County Golf Course with a championship 18-hole course and South Florida’s first reversible nine-hole course — golfers play nine holes the traditional way then later tee off from what were the greens playing toward what were previously tee boxes. Toptracer Range was added to the driving range to track player shots.
- Norse Atlantic Airways, a new discount airline, says it will begin flying this year to London, Paris and Oslo from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and will place its U.S. headquarters at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The Port of Fort Pierce moves forward this year with Harbour Pointe, which will include a public boat ramp and areas to support an artificial reef program and commercial fishing. The city, meanwhile, is working to align land-use regulations to promote growth at the port and develop the Fisherman’s Wharf area as a transition zone from downtown to the industrial port.
FORECAST / RECREATION
CEO/Co-founder, Boatsetter, Fort Lauderdale
“In 2020, when all of the marinas and boat ramps locked down, it was a terrifying time for everybody. When the markets opened, we saw a huge surge in people wanting to get out in the water. Huge growth in Texas. Huge growth all across Florida.
We exist to be able to create incredible experiences on the water. We offer everything from small runabouts to mega-yachts.
I expect in 2022 to double the business. We launched boats that are fishing this last year. And we opened boats that are luxury this last year. They’ve exceeded all expectations and budget on growth.
It’s looking really positive.”
FORECAST / TOURISM
President /CEO, Discover the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach
“We’re very optimistic. We’ve had a great summer because of pent-up demand. We’re looking at 2022 as a year we beat our own record of 2019.
There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of getting the labor force back on track in our industry. That is without any doubt the single biggest challenge the industry faces.”
Even anti-growth Martin County can do only so much to limit development. In Stuart, 1,683 housing units are under construction and another 1,412 have been approved or are in permitting or under review. Pompano Beach in 2022 will seek a master developer for its innovation district downtown while developer Adam Adache continues his Old Town Square multifamily project in the city’s Old Town arts and entertainment district. Developer Randy Tulepan received city permission and plans a 14-story, 77-unit tower on the New River in Fort Lauderdale.
- Renovation of the Southern Boulevard Bridge connecting Palm Beach to the mainland is scheduled to be completed in the summer.
- Investors NDT Development and Place Projects plan a $520-million, mixed-use redevelopment of a 12-acre industrial area in West Palm Beach called Nora because it lies along North Railroad Avenue north of downtown. NDT’s partners are local developers Ned Grace and Damien Barr while Place’s managing principal is Joe Furst.
FORECAST / FINANCIAL
Market President, Palm Beach County, Seacoast Bank, West Palm Beach
“We have a community advisory board program. Going around the room, every person we talked to was positive — bullish, if you will — with where they were currently and where they were going. The two biggest issues on everybody’s mind: Supply chain and the labor force.
We’re committing resources to Palm Beach County. It’s such a great market.
We’ve always had interest in people coming down from the Northeast. What we’re starting to experience now is we’re getting calls from California, brokers and investors looking to invest in Florida.”
Industrial Real Estate
- St. Lucie County approved Seefried Industrial Properties’ plan for warehouses from 300,000 to 658,000 square feet on Kings Highway at I-95 and Orange Avenue. Seefried is the developer of a new, 1.1-millionsq.- ft. warehouse built for Amazon that will employ 500 at the Midway Business Park off I-95 in Port St. Lucie. The Amazon center should be completed by late summer or early fall.
- Food distributor Cheney Bros. will start construction this year on its 427,000-sq.-ft., $55-million distribution center at Legacy Park at Tradition in Port St. Lucie. It will employ 380.
- Fellsmere expects developer Fellsmere Preserve to break ground this year at the I-95 interchange on a 45-acre commercial site that includes 11 outparcels, two hotel lots and three bigbox parcels. Fellsmere Preserve is led by managing partners Vivian Dimond and Cristina Pereyra Alvarez. Wetlands mitigation costs held up development of the 392-acre parcel. A public-private partnership with the city enabled the development by having the city acquire 340 acres as a conservation park. Fellsmere City Manager Mark Mathes says it’s one of the least developed interchanges on I-95 in Florida.
- The Jim Moran Foundation this year will build a 50,000-sq.-ft. headquarters on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. The foundation, founded by the late auto dealer, has been housed at the auto business JM Family in Deerfield Beach.
- As of October, the new Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale condo-hotel development on the beach had sold 85% of its units and eclipsed $250 million in sales, says Ramzi Achi, principal of Miami-based developer Fort Partners. The project includes 148 rooms and 83 residences, including a penthouse listed at $15.9 million. Closings began in December.
- Discount airline Flair Airlines began service to Toronto and Ottawa from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando Sanford.
- The Florida High School Athletic Association moved the 2021 and 2022 state football championships in the 4A to 8A classes to 18,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, home of Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. The class 1A to 3A are played at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee. In 2020, five of eight championships were won by South Florida teams.
- Affordable housing developer Housing Trust Group opened senior-targeted Village View, a 100-unit rental project in Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale.
- HCA closed its 264-bed Plantation General Hospital but kept the adult ER open. Nearby in November, HCA opened its 165-bed University Hospital next to Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
- Fort Lauderdale-based Holy Cross Health opened its Lillian S. Wells Foundation Institute of Sports Performance and Orthopedic Therapy.
- Broward’s public school district reached a $25-million settlement with the families of the 17 people killed and 16 of the 17 wounded and 19 who suffered severe trauma in the Douglas school shooting. Meanwhile, the federal government will pay a reported $127.5 million to families who sued over the FBI’s failure to follow up on a tip a month before the incident that the Douglas shooter planned an attack.
- The Conservation Fund paid $3.25 million to Worldwide Fabrics to buy 138 acres as the first part of a Loxa-Lucie Headwaters Initiative for south Martin County to connect Jonathan Dickinson State Park and Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park.
- Martin County is working on a plan to convert a building at Witham Field into a trade-skill training center managed by Indian River State College with government workforce board CareerSource and the Martin County school district.
- Virginia-based Garcia Cos. plans a mixed-use development in Indiantown in Martin County that would include 2,500 residences, 100,000 square feet of commercial space and amenities.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
- This year, owners Banyan Cay Investments and Banyan Cay Resort & Golf will open the 250-acre, 150-room Banyan Cay Resort & Golf property in West Palm Beach, the first Destination by Hyatt hotel in Florida.
- After a hiatus in 2020 and 2021 for the pandemic, the SunFest music event returns in late April to downtown West Palm Beach.
- Developer Related Cos. will start work on One Flagler, a 25-story class A office building on Flagler Drive on the West Palm Beach waterfront.
- Spain-based Ferrovial will lease land at Palm Beach International Airport for operation of electric vertical air taxis built by Germany’s Lilium. It follows a similar agreement in Orlando. The deal is conditioned on FAA approval of the technology and the firm’s operations.
- North Palm Beach-based BurgerFi acquired Fort Lauderdale-based Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza for $161.3 million from private equity firm L Catterton. BurgerFi has 116 stores, and Anthony’s has 61.
- West Palm Beach-based Brown Distributing sold its beer distribution territory and laid off 277.
- The 182-condo, 155-hotel room Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences opens this summer on Singer Island in Riviera Beach. Units range from $1.2 million to $4 million.
- Prospect Real Estate Development Group and Midtown Capital broke ground for Advantis at Lake Worth, a 230-unit apartment project in Lake Worth Beach.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
- The 46 companies that announced expansions or new locations in St. Lucie County from 2017 through June 2021, including FedEx Ground, Amazon and Cheney Bros., will directly employ 5,881 and invest $494.4 million in facilities and equipment, according to a study from Economic Strategy Center. “In the next 18 months as you drive the I-95 corridor from Orange Avenue to Becker Road, you’ll see very significant industrial development and job opportunities at every intersection,” says Pete Tesch, president of the St. Lucie Economic Development Council.