A Sunny Outlook In Florida

Commercial real estate projects brought $20 billion into Florida’s economy in 2018 and similar to the state’s population, the growth will continue.

By Dominique Cantelme
From the July/August 2019 Issue

Florida is a commercial powerhouse. “Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate,” an annual study published by the NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Parks) Research Foundation, measures the contribution to GDP, salaries and wages generated, and jobs supported from the development and operations of commercial real estate—office, industrial, warehouse and retail. The study estimates the annual economic contribution of commercial real estate development to the U.S. economy using key data sets from the U.S. Census Bureau and Dodge Data & Analytics.

Commercial real estate projects brought $20 billion into Florida’s economy in 2018 and supported more than 161,000 jobs. The state ranked fifth in the U.S. for all commercial real estate development (behind Texas, New York, California and Tennessee) and it ranked 10th in office development, second in retail growth and third in industrial development.

Florida attracts more than 100 million visitors each year and is growing at a rate of about 1,000 people per day. The state’s population increased by 13 percent between 2010 and 2018, to more than 21 million people; how could retailers not take notice? Florida is home to more than 270,000 retail stores, and the retail market employs well over 2 million people.

Continue reading to learn about Florida locations that are commercial real estate ready.


Hernando County, located on the west coast of Florida in the highly regarded Tampa Bay Region, offers the perfect blend of opportunity for business relocation, expansion and lifestyle. Availability, affordability, accessibility and community, that’s what it’s all about.

The Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center provides an abundance of opportunity just 40 minutes north of Tampa International Airport, and features a 7,000-foot Instrument Landing System (ILS) equipped runway (with plans to expand to 8,000 feet), an air traffic control tower, airside parcels and CSX rail access sites with sidings in place. The Technology Center is a premier business location and the epicenter of economic development in Hernando County.

Hernando County Florida
Join more than 100 tenants at the BKV Tech Center. Choose an infrastructure-ready site and build a facility to meet your needs. (Photo: Hernando County)

The BKV Tech Center is a 2,400-acre, master planned facility with features that include available manufacturing buildings, 1,000+ acres of contiguous land for development, sites with direct airside access and a Duke Energy Site Ready 285-acre parcel with infrastructure in place. With access to more than 300,000 workers within a 30-minute drive, a technical high school and adult education center just across the street, you can see why it is home to successful businesses such as Airdyne Aerospace, Pem-Air Turbine Engine Services, American Aviation Flight Academy, Accuform Signs, Barrette Outdoor Living and Micro-Matic USA, to name just a few.

On the east side of the county, just one mile from I-75 and 40 miles from the Florida Turnpike, are several hundred acres ready for development. Situated on either side of a 1.5 million-square-foot Wal-Mart Distribution Center, these two sites are prime for manufacturing or logistics.

Accessibility and transportation are key to your business and with five major highways crisscrossing Hernando County, shipping and receiving is a breeze. North-south routes include Interstate 75, U.S. 19, the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41. The latter two run adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center, providing a two-stop light connection to Tampa International Airport. I-75 is east of Brooksville and connects via the major east-west artery, State Road 50.

A business-friendly community, Hernando is committed to growing industry. The County has invested in the BKV Tech Center by providing infrastructure ready sites for business expansion needs. Road, water and sewer are available throughout the park; drainage and water retention are master planned affording significant construction savings. By combining State of Florida incentives, workforce training programs and a Rapid Response Permitting Program, Hernando County is the ideal place for business.

Hernando County, FL
SunTech Education Center and Pasco Hernando State College offer training programs for welding, manufacturing, cybersecurity and more. (Credit: Hernando County)

Building the pipeline for your future workforce needs is a top priority in Hernando County and throughout the Tampa Bay Region. Relationships with the local school system and post-secondary institutions help to influence curriculum and workforce training programs to suit your specific business requirements. Partnerships with Pasco-Hernando State College, St. Leo University, University of South Florida, University of Florida and University of Central Florida, along with a robust technical high school and adult education institutions like SunCoast Technical Education Center, ensures access to any business expertise you may require as well as a pool of well-trained and motivated employees.

“All work and no play makes…” for an impossibility in Hernando County. Recreational activities are so abundant and varied, it is no wonder it is known as Florida’s Adventure Coast. Your employees and business associates will melt at the picture-perfect sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, where the Hernando County coast will lure them to some of the best fishing, scalloping and shallow water boating in west central Florida. Inland, they will enjoy championship golf courses and kayaking on a matrix of rivers. You may enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on some of Florida’s top-rated trails that meander through forests and nature preserves. For the more adventurous, spend the day in the trees and zip-line at Tampa Bay Extreme Adventure Course or visit Croom Recreation Area and ride your motorcycle/ATV at this world-class compound.

The metro markets of Tampa and Orlando are only a short drive away and residents in Hernando County have access to a wide range of professional sports venues, concert halls, cultural and fine arts, and some of the top-ranked beaches in the United States. Residents here enjoy big-city conveniences while living in an active suburban community where the cost of living consistently ranks the lowest of Tampa Bay’s seven county region.

With a reputation as the most affordable county in the Tampa Bay Region and offering lifestyle choices from beaches to country club to ranches to historic homes, Hernando County has something for everyone. These assets, combined with business-friendly government, available land and an abundant and well-trained workforce, make Hernando County a natural choice for business relocation and expansion.

For more information on business expansion and relocation opportunities in this growing Tampa Bay Community, contact Valerie Pianta, Economic Development Manager, at (352) 540-6400 or visit www.hernandobusiness.com.


If you are wondering where your company can expand or relocate to, look no further than Pasco County, Florida, in North Tampa Bay. Located just 30 miles north of Tampa and about 50 miles west of Orlando, it is easy to enjoy all that West Central Florida has to offer. As one of the fastest growing areas in the Tampa Bay region, Pasco County features a unique blend of undeveloped, open spaces in close proximity to modern, vibrant communities with ready access to major interstate highways, CSX Rail Line, Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.

Pasco County government works cooperatively with business leaders and residents to balance economic growth and job creation, with planned growth that protects the environment and preserves Pasco’s beautiful green space. The resulting quality of life and a supportive environment for business and industry has helped Pasco County become one of the top 40 fastest growing counties in the United States, which means WORKFORCE.

Workforce: Labor is either fostered or imported and Pasco County has both. Pasco’s k-12 schools recognize the importance of fostering young minds through its 32 Career Technical Education programs and the state-of-the-art manufacturing Apprenticeship Program also known as AMSkills. The higher education schools in the region, including Saint Leo University, Pasco Hernando State College, University of South Florida and University of Tampa, all infuse educated workforce into the community.

With 40 percent of the population leaving the county every day for work, companies are aware they need to be near the employee and are strategically deciding Pasco County is where they should be. Its WorkforceConnect program, established in 2018, was created to serve as a resource for new and existing businesses, workforce providers and current/prospective employees to identify career-specific pathways in targeted industries. This program will prove to aid in streamlining the process of connecting employers to employees.

Preparing its workforce and providing a quality of life that will attract workforce is Pasco County’s number one priority.

Diverse Industries and Focus: Pasco County continues to strive for a diverse economy as the community continues to grow. Through efforts as an economic development organization and the strong network of each industry, locating in Pasco County offers a distinct competitive advantage.

Not only does Pasco focus on attracting and retaining companies domestically but the county also has an international focus through its Trade and Foreign Direct Investment Program. Some of Pasco’s larger and notable companies include: Welbilt, PALL Aeropower, Leggett & Platt, METTLER TOLEDO, Zephyrhills Bottled Water (Nestle Waters) and Clark Dietrich.

Some of the benefits companies receive by exploring and locating in Pasco County include easy access to South American Markets through world-renowned Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay (the largest seaport in Florida) and Foreign Trade Zone designation capabilities.

Creative Local & State Incentives: Businesses like Pasco County’s strong employment incentive programs. County government has funds available for training, infrastructure improvements and direct cash payments for companies creating jobs. You invest in Pasco County, Pasco County will invest in you.

For example, a company creating 100 jobs with an average salary of $42,912 may qualify for an incentive of $2,000 per job—a total of $200,000 in cash (JCI —Job Creation Incentive). Local Incentives include Expedited Permitting, Property Tax Rebate, Impact Fee Waiver and Opportunity Zones.

Another way Pasco County is spurring development is through the Penny for Pasco program. This program is estimated to generate approximately $56 million over 10 years for economic development projects. Monies can be used for:

  • Business Park Development
  • Infrastructure
  • Speculative Building Construction
  • Land Assembly

The State of Florida has similar incentives, including training, road improvements and state tax credits. Pasco EDC can help companies apply for these funds.

Pasco Ready Sites: One of the fastest growing trends in the site location business is the demand for project-ready industrial properties. The reason is simple: companies need ready access to buildable sites in order to make a location decision and the ability to efficiently begin and complete construction to get to the business of making money.

Recognizing this trend, the Pasco Economic Development Council, in partnership with Pasco County, has implemented the Pasco Ready Sites Program. This program has allowed it to assess, evaluate and market over 1,800 acres of land targeted to Manufacturing, Distribution, Aviation, Defense and Supporting Office Industries.

For more information on doing business in Pasco County contact Tom Ryan, Economic Development Manager, at tryan@pascoedc.com or (813) 926-0827, ext. 228.


Indian River County—Vero Beach, Sebastian, Fellsmere—strikes a perfect balance between business and pleasure. Those who live, work or visit the area find that the local communities are safe and loaded with ecological, cultural, educational and technological amenities. Thousands are attracted to the area each year with an array of recreational, entertainment and economic pursuits. Many C-level executives have located their companies to the area because of the executive’s positive vacation experience.

Florida’s economy
Warehousing and manufacturing space available in Indian River County near I-95. (Photo: Indian River Chamber of Commerce)

The area is rich in history and natural resources, including wildlife reserves such as the Pelican Island National Wildlife Sanctuary. The county also boasts 26 miles of unspoiled beaches and scenic lakes, and is the center of the world-famous Indian River Citrus District. It’s also a cost-competitive place to locate or expand your business.

The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce participates in the national ACCRA Cost of Living survey, comparing a variety of managerial cost factors with 300 other markets throughout the country. Year-after-year, the Vero Beach-Sebastian MSA is typically on par, or slightly lower, with the national average of 100. The Chamber’s Economic Development Office maintains a cost-of-living calculator on its website, www.indianrivered.com.

Located on Florida’s east coast, midway between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, Indian River County is within three hours of over 17 million consumers, or 90 percent of Florida’s population. It has easy access to markets but, thanks to careful planning, it is far from urban sprawl, traffic and congestion.

Indian River County has hundreds of acres of low-cost land available for development, much of it located near I-95, a major north-south transportation route along the east coast. Several sites, up to 90-acres in size, are ready for your future development—especially warehouse/distribution operations. Plus, all property west of I-95 in Indian River County is designated as a federal Opportunity Zone, which provides a relief or deferral of any capital gains tax when investing in these areas. The county offers competitive property tax rates, and no state income tax.

Indian River County’s superb quality of life attracts innovative businesses and talented professionals from around the country and around the world. Advanced industries from aviation to aquaculture and emerging tech to healthcare benefit from a low cost of doing business and some of the lowest taxes in the nation. The Cleveland Clinic recently expanded its Florida footprint by taking over the Indian River Medical Center, now providing advanced and expanded medical services to residents throughout the region.

State and local incentives are available to relocating and expanding companies, including property tax abatement, tax refunds, job training grants and the county’s Local Jobs Grant program.

An available and trainable workforce of approximately 638,000 within an hour’s drive time adds to the county’s appeal as a desirable location. Indian River State College (IRSC) has five campuses located throughout the region, offering two-year and four-year degrees as well as several industrial and technical certifications. IRSC is quite successful in securing training grants for local employers.

This past year, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce partnered with the local school district and CareerSource Research Coast, the region’s workforce organization, to launch its inaugural Manufacturing Boot Camp program. Based on a successful program in neighboring St. Lucie County, the program gives recent high school graduates who are not college-bound an opportunity to see the types of jobs, and skills needed, in this growing industry sector—building up that workforce pipeline.

Students toured local manufacturing facilities each day throughout the week, asking questions and getting hands-on experiences. The Chamber plans to grow this program for the 2019-20 school year, possibly adding more industry sectors in the future, such as contractor trades and healthcare.

Air transportation in the area is served by two general aviation airports which primarily cater to private and corporate aircraft. Sebastian Airport is home to Whelen Aerospace Technologies, a global leader in high-end lighting products for the aerospace industry. Vero Beach Regional Airport is a full service Fixed Base Operator with a 7000-foot runway. It is home to Piper Aircraft and Flight Safety International, plus offers direct non-stop commercial air service to Newark, NJ through Elite Airways. Both airports have plenty of airside and non-aviation land available for future development.

Regular scheduled air service is provided by Melbourne International Airport, 35 miles north; Orlando International Airport located 90 minutes away; and Palm Beach International Airport, an hour’s drive south. FEC Rail provides local freight service and runs along the eastern seaboard.

Because location is central to success, Indian River County isn’t just where you want to be—it’s central to where your business ought to be. It has the perfect blend of everything the Sunshine State has to offer. For more information on locating your company to Indian River County, Florida, call Helene Caseltine, Economic Development Director with the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, at (772) 567-3491. Or, visit their website at www.indianrivered.com.


Ideally located on South Florida’s Atlantic coast, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is a popular destination for tourism and business alike. With convenient access by air, sea, road and rail, Hollywood is the perfect location to compete in the global marketplace.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is one of the fastest-growing airports in the U.S. It is one of three international airports in the area, and offers nonstop service to more than 140 U.S. cities and flights to Canada, Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and Europe. As a recognized leader in international trade and tourism, Hollywood is the primary home to Port Everglades, a powerhouse port ranked among the top cruise ports in the world and one of the most active containerized cargo ports in the U.S., producing more than $34 billion annually in economic activity. Hollywood is a city focused on the future where businesses discover a welcoming climate from the Platinum Permitting customer service program to the award-winning Blue Wave Beach. Hollywood’s “business first” attitude is one of the reasons why significant capital is being invested, including more than 50,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, commercial and entertainment space, with more on the way.

Hollywood-based Quantum Marine Engineering, an industry leader in stabilization technology for the yachting industry, opened its new 31,000-square-foot, four-story LEED certified corporate headquarters in Hollywood’s Port 95 Commerce Park. The $6.2 million environmentally conscientious headquarters is located directly opposite Quantum’s manufacturing facility, where it has grown to be the world’s largest manufacturer of the Zero-Speed Stabilization System for super yachts. To date, the company has more than 1,000 systems in service and approximately 175 systems in active production.

Sintavia handles all aspects of additive manufacturing from design to fabrication to quality testing and post-processing.

Sintavia, a global leader in metal additive manufacturing also opened their new 55,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility in the Port 95 Commerce Park. The $32 million investment in facilities and equipment will quadruple Sintavia’s production capacity and create a state-of-the-art corporate headquarters supporting more than 135 new high-skilled jobs in Hollywood.

Hollywood is investing in its future with more than $100 million in public improvements along its oceanfront, including a complete renovation of the historic Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, sparking a renaissance of new development, putting Hollywood on the map. Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa, Costa Hollywood Beach Resort and Hyde Resort & Residences are a few of the destination resorts drawing visitors to the city.

A new look also has taken shape in the historic Downtown Hollywood District, led by the $160 million, 25-story, Hollywood Circle mixed-used development. The new Circ Hotel and Residences now welcomes guests to a 104-room boutique hotel and 397 luxury rental apartments. The property also includes a supermarket, Olivia Restaurant featuring traditional Italian fare, a coffee house and popular rooftop pool bar and lounge. Several additional mixed-use, commercial and residential projects are slated to break ground within the next several months.

Framework for Smart Growth: Hollywood is primed for smart growth with new zoning in place to allow revitalization along key commercial corridors and within the Downtown Activity Center. Over $200 million more in roadway and infrastructure improvements are bringing additional private development in the form of residential, office and commercial projects along a key transportation corridor in the western section of Hollywood. The city also is committed to helping businesses succeed and grow through a streamlined development review process for high-impact and target industries relocating or expanding in Hollywood. The city’s designation as a Platinum City for permitting by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance ensures businesses have a first-rate experience when it comes to locating in Florida’s Hollywood.

The economic boom continues within Hollywood’s diverse neighborhoods where you can find everything from affordable starter homes to luxury waterfront living. Over the past five years, Hollywood property owners have seen their values increase by 58 percent. Property values in Hollywood are outpacing other South Florida communities and are ahead of the county average, which is reflective of the positive, sustainable growth underway throughout the city. Within Hollywood’s walkable, tree-lined neighborhoods, residents find easy access to beautiful parks, scenic bike paths and recreational amenities. Take a sea turtle excursion, hit the links or pickleball courts, kayak through native mangroves or lounge in the aqua blue waters of the Atlantic.

Hollywood is an eco-friendly paradise rich in recreational options for all ages and abilities. Hollywood has been called a “city of the future” for best representing what America will look like in 2025. Historic Downtown Hollywood is where you will find music festivals, concerts and world-recognized cultural offerings such as the Hollywood Hot Glass interactive art studio and the Art and Culture Center/ Hollywood. It’s all about location and Hollywood has it. See Life, See Opportunities in Florida’s Hollywood.