Economic Yearbook 2006 - Treasure Coast
Florida's Treasure Coast is taking its cue from Scripps Research Institute.
Robotics engineer Peter Chase makes an adjustment to Scripps Florida's ultra-high-throughput screening platform, which is capable of testing the biological or biochemical activity of more than 100,000 compounds a day.
Vero Beach/Indian River County
Nearly 9,000 new residents moved into the county from 2003 to 2004. "We are seeing people relocate from South Florida looking for a simpler life that still offers culture," says Helene Caseltine, economic development director of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce. While some beachfront hotels haven't reopened in Hurricane Wilma's wake, Caseltine hopes to see more regional headquarters move into the county thanks to the new Enterprise Zone for the Vero Beach Airport and adjacent Gifford community.
? New Piper Aircraft CEO James Bass joined the company last September after leading a financial turnaround at Arizona-based Suntron Corp.
Port St. Lucie/St. Lucie County
Gov. Jeb Bush proposed $250 million to lure medical research firm Burnham Institute from LaJolla, Calif., to Florida, possibly to St. Lucie County. Economic developers are confident that research breakthroughs are in the county's future. "We haven't had a lot of recent economic development success because of the hurricanes, but we are trying to make an overall change to the region in terms of attracting research and development. The universities are showing up to support us," says Don Root, executive director of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. ... Devcon Development is planning to build a 600-acre mixed-use development called The Provences at Midway Road and I-95 in Port St. Lucie.
? JazMaz Development Corp. CEO John Zalkin is leading a long-term strategic effort to rebuild Fort Pierce and preserve its historic core.
? Gerri McPherson, vice president of Florida Atlantic University's Treasure Coast campus, is leading several projects, including the $11-million Marine Science Partnership Building at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce.
Golf courses and a quiet lifestyle entice the well-off, including Tiger Woods, who purchased a $38-million oceanfront compound on Jupiter Island in January. The leisurely lifestyle and moderate growth are just the way Martin County likes it, says Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce President Joe Catrambone, but economic developers are hoping to shift from a service-oriented employment base to a high-wage, high-tech base as the Scripps Research Institute builds momentum. Catrambone sees a shift in Martin County demographics: "Almost 70% of the occupational licenses in November were purchased by Hispanics."
? Since taking the helm last September, Martin County Administrator Duncan Ballantyne has been shepherding an ordinance that would bring affordable housing to area teachers, police officers and firefighters.
? Founded by Ohio native Rob Cunningham, truck renovation startup Big Lake Trucks landed in the Okeechobee County Airport Industrial Park last year to leverage the region's logistics strengths.