2012 Economic Yearbook
Medical City steams ahead, and work on the first phase of the 61-mile SunRail commuter line will provide an economic boost. Meanwhile, Osceola welcomes a regional headquarters of Colt Manufacturing.
Nemours Children's Hospital at Lake Nona will open this year. [Photo: Nemours Childrens's Hospitatl]
Orlando posted strong gains in tourism last year, helping to push Disney share prices up by 11% since the beginning of 2011.[Photo: Disney]
Residential construction remains the weakest contributor to the region's economy, and modest growth is forecast for the coming year. But healthcare, education and science-related development in the Lake Nona area of east Orange is creating hundreds of jobs. Two major facilities open this year: The University of Florida's Research and Academic Center followed by Nemours Children's Hospital. Work on the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center continues, but construction problems have pushed the completion date to 2013.
SunRail will stop at 17 stations from Osceola to Volusia. [Photo: SunRail]
And power could shine this year. NAI Realvest in Orlando, one of central Florida's largest integrated commercial real estate companies, launched a site-selection team for alternative-energy projects after getting interest from potential clients. Waste-to-energy and biomass have potential, but solar-panel costs are dropping so fast that even without subsidies solar looks poised to surprise on the upside, says George Livingston, NAI's chairman.
Businesses to Watch
» Darden Restaurants: Orlando's only Fortune 500 company is investing heavily in its Olive Garden brand.
Darden's Orlando headquarters [Photo: Alex Stafford]
» Wyndham Vacation Ownership: The timeshare company is leasing the 300,000-sq.-ft. former Harcourt-Brace headquarters and plans to invest $24.7-million in the property and fill more than 230 jobs during the next three years.
» ZeroChaos: The fast-growing staffing and back-office service outfit in Orlando, bought by a New York private equity firm last year for more than $200 million, is expanding its national reach after acquiring controlling interest in workforce management company WorkforceLogic in San Francisco.
People to Watch
» Gina Duncan: The transgender leader of the 250-member gay business chamber is running for a seat on the Orange County Commission.
» Craig Ustler: The developer heads the major downtown redevelopment effort of the former Amway Arena and Centroplex property called Creative Village.
|Orange Population: 1,192,551|
|Population Growth Rate (2008-12): 1.68%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $37,879|
|MSA||Dec. 2011||Dec. 2010||% Change||Jobless Rate|
|Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation|
|Homes - Single-family, existing-home sales|
|MSA||2011 Sales||1-Year Change||2011 Price||1-Year Change|
|Source: Florida Realtors; year-end sales, median price|
|Orange County Consumer Bankruptcies|
|Source: National Bankruptcy Research Center|