Workers harvest celery on a Duda farm in Belle Glade. [Photo: John Bateman]
Economic activity in Palm Beach County is diverse, with strong presences in sectors ranging from aerospace-related research and engineering firms to bioscience, medical manufacturing, healthcare, construction and tourism. The county has two Urban Enterprise Zones.
Economic development officials say each area of the county has a dominant industry sector:
» A cluster of bioscience and aviation businesses, including biomedical research heavyweights Scripps Florida and Max Planck, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne operate in and around Jupiter and the northern part of the county, which is also home to FPL, the state’s largest utility. In addition, BioFlorida, the statewide trade association founded to advance Florida’s bioscience industry, is headquartered in West Palm Beach.
Research institute Max Planck is building a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility in Jupiter.
» Many business, financial services, law and accounting firms, along with venture capital firms, while scattered throughout the county, are concentrated in the West Palm Beach area, including Intech Investment Management, a large-cap equity management firm.
» The county’s western region is dominated by small businesses, agriculture and the presence of agri-giants A. Duda and Sons, Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar. The area is also home to several venues for polo and equestrian events.
Port of Palm Beach: Florida’s fourth-largest container port; supports 2,500 jobs; has an economic impact of $261 million; half a million cruise passengers.
Convention Center: The 350,000-sq.-ft. Palm Beach County Convention Center includes a 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, a ballroom and 21,000 square feet of breakout space. The Related Cos. has been chosen to build a 15-story, 400-room hotel next to the center.
Palm Beach International Airport: Well-regarded smaller (28-gate) airport serves four-county area; 6 million passengers a year.