» The Pasco Economic Development Council reports a doubling of leads over the last year and facility/staff expansions at several locations. Topping the list: SB Manufacturing, which chose Dade City over sites in Ohio and Kentucky for its new aluminum castings plant that will employ 75.
» Elsewhere, Connecticut-based private equity firm Wheelock Street Capital closed on the first phase of developing the former Starkey Ranch land near State Road 54 and Gunn Highway for residential, retail, office and light industrial uses.
|Pasco Population: 492, 338|
|Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.57%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $33,390|
Lakeland/ Polk County
» At 5,217, sales of existing homes in 2012 were up 13.8% over 2011’s total and the highest since 2006. By comparison, U.S. existing home sales increased 9.2% between 2011 and 2012.
» Business activity continues to improve in many sectors: Construction is under way on the Winter Haven Rail Terminal, an intermodal facility aimed at solidifying Polk’s position as a logistics and distribution center serving the Southeast. Built and operated by Evansville Western Railway, an affiliate of Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation, the terminal is slated for completion by May 2014.
» A new alliance between the University of South Florida and Lakeland Regional Medical Center will add 200 medical residencies to an existing 712, making USF’s physician training program the largest in the state.
» Mosaic has opened Streamstrong Resort on reclaimed phosphate mining land 25 miles south of downtown Lakeland with two golf courses and a golf clubhouse; a 216-room main lodge is scheduled to open this fall.
Businesses to Watch
» Colo5: The Jacksonville-based data center operator is opening a $20-million, 105,000-sq.-ft. facility in Lakeland offering space and technology to protect small- to medium-sized business IT systems from theft, sabotage and natural disasters.
» Legoland Florida: Close on the heels of its Star Wars Miniland, which opened in November 2012, the Winter Haven-based theme park is looking to add another theme area — Pirate Shores — this year.
|Polk Population: 621,648|
|Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.95%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $34,722|