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October 13, 2015
Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch saw home starts climb 47% from 2011 to 2012. Last year, 573 new homes were built in the community.

Photo: Mark Wemple

Health Management Associates

Business to Watch - Health Management Associates

Photo: Health Management Associates


Business to Watch - LeeSar

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami is opening a facility in Naples.

Cheney Brothers

Cheney Brothers, is building a 270,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and distribution center at the Punta Gorda Interstate Airport Park.

Airglades Airport

Airglades Airport is on the cutting edge of a federal program that may reap huge economic rewards for Hendry County.


BioNitrogen site


Southwest Florida

Rod Thomson | 4/9/2013
Miami-Dade Monroe County

Retail, construction and home building

Growth restrictions

Sarasota/Sarasota County

» Sarasota County long had one of the strictest set of development rules in the state, reflecting a slow-growth preference among many residents. But changes may be on the way this year. The Sarasota County Commission voted at the end of January to look at loosening regulations on the county's 2050 plan for development east of Interstate 75 — an area long protected by the county's master plan. Commissioners will consider allowing more units, perhaps more height and requiring less open space on the outer edges of developments. “The county is pursuing an openness to quality growth,” says Mark Huey, president and CEO of the Sarasota County EDC.

» Meanwhile, retail and development activity is picking up. The 880,000-sq.-ft. Mall at University Town Center is under construction. In the immediate vicinity are some 500 hotel rooms, 1,750 residential units and a $39.5-million world-class rowing facility under construction in three phases at Nathan Benderson Park.

Business to Watch

» Health Management Associates: The Naples-based company, which operates 22 hospitals in Florida, has opened a centralized billing and collection center in 28,000 square feet at the former Arthur Andersen complex on Fruitville Road near Interstate 75 in Sarasota. HMA will initially employ about 150 at the center but expects to double that number as demand grows. The hospital chain recently announced that it is buying Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Sarasota Population: 390,845
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.89%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
12.52% 4.75% 16.99% 33.60% 32.14%
Per Capita Income: $56,275

MSA Dec. 2012 Dec. 2011 % Change Jobless Rate
Bradenton/Sarasota/North Port 278,855 272,016 +2.5% 7.8%
Cape Coral/Fort Myers 259,898 253,831 +2.4% 8.0%
Naples/Marco Island 142,805 138,773 +2.9% 7.3%
Punta Gorda 64,266 64,275 NC 8.0%
Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation

Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales
MSA 2013 Sales 1-Year Change 2013 Price 1-Year Change
Fort Myers/Cape Coral 11,765 -10.7% $134,000 +27.6%
Punta Gorda 3,636 +6.5% $115,000 +16.2%
Sarasota/Bradenton 11,700 +14.1% $168,000 +12.0%
Source: Florida Realtors

Tags: Southwest, Economic Yearbook

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Florida Trend Video Pick


Following in the footsteps of a wandering Florida black bear, three friends leave civilization and become immersed in a vast and unexplored wildlife corridor stretching from the Everglades to the Florida-Alabama border. (Official documentary trailer)

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