By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2019 Issue
Commercial developers looking to get in on the ground floor of emerging developments—or stake a claim in robust commercial areas of—Cape Coral, need to explore the largest city in Southwest Florida. The Cape Coral metro area ranks No. 9 in Forbes’ “2018 America’s Fastest-Growing Cities,” and Cape Coral is the second-largest city in Florida in terms of land mass. Population growth continues at a steady pace—with its estimated population of 189,000 expected to hit 200,000 in the coming year, fueling commercial growth.
Cape Coral is only 50 percent built out, so there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this growing consumer and workforce base, but here’s a snapshot of four commercial hotspots that are prime for investment.
The Pine Island Road corridor will continue to boom in the coming years with a wide range of commercial developments and apartment and housing developments. An estimated 400 acres of commercially zoned land worth a combined $100 million are for sale on the north and south sides of the road. Last year saw the opening of a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership, Burlington, Five Below and several other local and national retail and restaurant establishments.
The explosion in investment and activity follows a multi-year project to four-lane the road, which was completed in 2014. Pine Island Road is also known as State Road 78, and is managed by the state. The City of Cape Coral zones most of the land along the road; Lee County zones a portion near U.S. 41. Robust new-home construction in areas surrounding the corridor is feeding the boom in new businesses here.
In the past six years, new-home permits rose 78 percent in Cape Coral, while there was an 85 percent increase in new commercial building permits during the same period. Thirteen of the 39 commercial permits issued last year—33 percent—were along Pine Island Road.
The area has “been a sleeping giant for quite a while,” real estate broker Greg Jeffcott recently observed. “Residential housing—it’s going to drive a lot of the commercial market.”
SEVEN ISLANDS PROJECT PROCEEDS
A much-anticipated mixed-use project proposed for Northwest Cape Coral called Seven Islands will be marketed nationally this year following the recent approval of a partnership between the Cape Coral City Council and CBRE.
There is an approved development plan for the seven rectangular-shaped “islands” connected to the mainland for a mixed-use project on the 48-acre site along Old Burnt Store Road. The design includes 995 residential units, both multifamily/condo and single-family homes, a 240-room hotel or resort with a 25,000-square-foot meeting space, public amenities and commercial development.
The city envisions this exciting economic development project as a regional destination, and a request for proposals is expected to be issued by spring.
The City of Cape Coral has partnered with RMA Real Estate Services to find the right mixed-use developer for the redevelopment of a strategic South Cape Coral waterfront location. This mixed-use project seeks to redevelop an area of South Cape with office space, arts, entertainment and dining venues, and downtown housing.
The proposed project will be a large scale development of up to 35 acres on Bimini Basin, a body of water with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, located south of Cape Coral Parkway in the South Cape entertainment and business district. The basin is lined with homes and condos with private docks and spectacular sunset vistas.
The Cape Coral Economic Development Office is assisting with Concourse at Cape Coral—a 130-acre parcel located in Northwest Cape Coral near regional destinations. This public-private partnership with the city includes 55 acres for a corporate park and 50 acres for retail and entertainment nestled in an unspoiled, natural environment.
This business park will be in close proximity to a regional Veterans Administration healthcare center that supports more than 500 employees and serves approximately 1,000 daily patients, in addition to a new apartment complex and assisted living facility. The 320-unit apartment complex, Uptown at Liberty Park, opened its first building last summer, and a second tower is almost complete. The assisted living facility, Atrium at Liberty Park, will open in 2019.
This area is a hotspot for future growth due to its high traffic counts, growing residential base and zoning for diverse commercial, professional, medical and hospitality uses.
Cape Coral’s large geographic size—120 square miles—makes it naturally suited to have the flexibility for attracting large- and mid-sized businesses in joining the 9,000 small businesses already thriving here. And, this well-rounded commercial base continues to grow. In 2017, 1,609 new businesses applied for licenses in Cape Coral and another 766 applied through May of 2019.
The Cape Coral metropolitan statistical area is one of the nation’s job growth leaders—a waterfront metropolitan area located in Lee County on Florida’s Southwest coast. Lee County has a population of roughly 750,000 people, with more than 1.3 million annual visitors who spend $1.2 billion. The local year-round population spiked more than 14 percent from 2012 to 2016 and is expected to continue to increase at the same rate through 2020.
Competing in today’s global market means selecting a thriving business region with all the right amenities—a positive environment for your business and your employees. If you’re considering a move or expansion to Florida, find out why Cape Coral is a rich, supportive business environment that enables companies to grow—and is a paradise for their workforce.