April 16, 2014
Digital Domain

Digital Domain, which filed for bankruptcy and laid off 350 employees, has been a black eye for Port St. Lucie.

Photo: Eric Hasert/Script Treasure Coast Newspapers

Mann Research

Mann Research is building a 45,000-sq.-ft. medical building that’s expected to open early next year.

Photo: Mann Research

H2Ocean

Business to Watch - H2Ocean

Photo: H2Ocean

Vero Beach

Buyers are scooping up oceanfront properties in Vero Beach.

« RETURN TO THE 2013 ECONOMIC YEARBOOK

Florida's Treasure Coast

Treasure Coast

Home buying, sports and technology

Concerns over a couple of high-profile bankruptcies

Port St. Lucie/St. Lucie County

» The past year has been rough for Port St. Lucie. Digital Domain Media Group became the state’s worst economic development flop when it crumbled into bankruptcy in September and laid off 350 employees. The city had guaranteed the bond issue to pay for construction of Digital Domain’s 115,000-sq.-ft. studio building, leaving it on the hook for annual debt payments of $3.7 million unless it finds a new tenant for the building in the Tradition development just off Interstate 95. In February, Port St. Lucie took another hit when Liberty Medical Supply, the city’s largest private employer, filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy law. Liberty provides products and services for people with diabetes. The filing comes less than two months after Liberty announced it would lay off more than 200 of its 1,200 employees at the Treasure Coast facility. The fate of the rest of the employees is unclear.

» There are some positives. Martin Health System expects to open Tradition Medical Center in west Port St. Lucie by early 2014. The hospital will have 90 beds with the potential to expand to about 300. Nearby, Mann Research Center is building a 45,000-sq.-ft. medical office building, expected to be nearly fully leased when it opens in early 2014. It represents the first phase of a 22-acre medical office and life sciences complex. Both new developments are in the growing biotechnology cluster in the Florida Center for Innovation at Tradition. “If the market stays vibrant and the opportunities for IPOs stay steady, I think we will see some specialty pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and probably warehouse distribution projects announced,” says Larry Pelton, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. Pelton says he has been encouraged by recent interest in St. Lucie County from manufacturing companies. “Our activity is the best it has been in several years.”

St. Lucie Population: 292,049
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.58%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
18.11% 5.83% 22.39% 32.67% 21.01%
Per Capita Income: $32,450

MSA Dec. 2012 Dec. 2011 % Change Jobless Rate
Port St. Lucie 168,703 168,181 +0.3% 9.5%
Sebastian Inlet Vero Beach 58,784 57,577 +2.1% 9.1%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales
MSA 2013 Sales 1-Year Change 2013 Price 1-Year Change
Port St. Lucie 6,741 +16.2% $120,000 +5.3%
Vero Beach 2,351 +16.4% $138,700 +7.6%
Source: Florida Realtors

Tags: Treasure Coast, Economic Yearbook

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