Alternative fuels and steady growth keep Northwest Florida's economy humming.
Sustainable Growth: Located in the center of Florida’s Panhandle, Calhoun County offers perhaps the best access to outdoor activities in the state. With two different rivers — the Apalachicola and the Chipola — there’s no better place to canoe or kayak. In addition to pristine forests, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are less than an hour away.
SKY Development knows the natural riches this county offers and is building a sustainable, planned community on a 571-acre site off Hwy-287 and Shelton Road. The project is expected to infuse about $22 million into the local economy. Modeled after old-world European villages, the yet-to-be-named project uses the latest in energy-efficient technology to protect the surrounding environment. In addition to an equestrian complex and riding trails, it will feature 624 new homes, public gardens, group agriculture with a farmer’s market and a lodge and conference center.
PANAMA CITY/BAY COUNTY
Artist renderings depict the new terminal at Panama City-Bay County International Airport.
Airport on Track: Construction continues on the new $313.5-million, 4,000-acre Panama City-Bay County International Airport scheduled to begin flight operations by May 2010.
Billed as the nation’s first “green” airport, the facility will feature a LEED-certified terminal building and more than 34,000 acres of preserved land along West Bay and its tributaries. The airport will offer three runways totaling 21,000 feet in length, including a main runway extending to 10,000 feet. Additional plans call for 1,400 acres of “inside-the- fence” commercial/industrial development and a 37-million-square-foot regional employment center outside the fence.
The airport is being built on land donated by The St. Joe Company, the largest private landowner in Florida. A 75,000-acre mixed-use community called West Bay, which will have 4.4 million square feet available for commercial, office, industrial and residential development, is taking shape near the airport, also on land owned by St. Joe.
Wakulla & Gadsden Counties
Changes on the Way: There’s a move afoot in Wakulla County to redevelop the waterfront area of St. Marks. Officials are making plans to spruce up this historic Gulfside town, with roots dating back to the 1600s; plans call for construction of a conference center near water’s edge. Groundbreaking on the new resort could take place here as early as 2010.
Headquarters Coming: A 55-acre expansion is under way at the Gretna Industrial Park in Gadsden County so that CDS Manufacturing Inc., a leading producer of precast and prestressed concrete products, can move its national headquarters here. The proposed 100,000-square-foot, $20-million facility will provide immediate employment for 50 people with an anticipated increase to 175 jobs over the next three years.