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Northeast Florida

Northeast at a Glance

Northeast Florida

Demographics for the Northeast Region can be found at Business Florida's interactive map of Florida.

Universities/Colleges
• Edward Waters College
• Flagler College
• Florida State College at Jacksonville
• Jacksonville University
• St. Johns River State College
• University of North Florida

Airports
• Flagler County Airport
• Jacksonville International
• Northeast Florida Regional at St. Augustine

Seaports
• Port of Fernandina
• Port of Jacksonville

Spaceport
• Cecil Field

With a population exceeding 1.5 million and a workforce of close to 763,000, Northeast Florida offers a dynamic market for business relocation and expansion. Known for affordability and accessibility, this seven-county region is home to three Fortune 500 firms and the national or divisional headquarters of at least 80 other companies. A world-class intermodal transportation system made up of multiple seaports and airports, plus a vast network of railways and interstate highways, has made Northeast Florida a booming hub for trade within the U.S. and across international borders.

In Jacksonville, Florida’s northernmost MSA, city and county governments operate as one, helping to ensure that businesses looking to relocate or expand here enjoy smooth transitions. In 2013, the Jacksonville City Council took steps to further simplify the process by shortening the time it takes to approve smaller incentive packages from three readings to one. At the Port of Jacksonville, improvements continue in anticipation of Panama Canal expansion, now expected to be completed by mid-2015, and the move begun more than a year ago to re-energize downtown is paying off as additional companies relocate their facilities and staff from suburban Jacksonville to the city’s urban core.

WHO LIVES HERE

Skilled military personnel Northeast Florida’s four military installations provide direct employment for nearly 46,000 active-duty, reserve and civilian men and women. And of the personnel who exit the military here each year, more than 3,000 remain, providing a ready pool of workers with military-honed skills in electronics, technical maintenance, repair and management.

Youthful and well-educated Median age in the Jacksonville MSA is 37, equal to the national median age but three years younger than Florida’s median, and these workers keep getting smarter. The number of persons age 25+ with bachelor’s degrees jumped 47% between 2000 and 2010 — enough to propel Jacksonville into No. 7 on newgeography.com’s list of the "U.S. Cities Getting Smarter the Fastest."

Ready for work Word on the street is that Northeast Florida is a good place to land a job. In April 2013, Forbes named Jacksonville 3rd best city in the U.S. for finding a job, and Money magazine awarded the No. 5 spot on its 2013 "Where the Jobs Are" list to St. Johns County, where job growth is up by 12% since 2010.

ECONOMIC LIFE

Aviation
• Northrup Grumman Corporation will open an "Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence" in St. Augustine, generating 400 new jobs and a capital investment of $80 million.

• Flightstar Aircraft Services is expanding its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operations at Cecil Airport with a new 150,000-sq.-ft. hangar and the addition of 300 permanent jobs and 100 contractors.

• Embraer has opened a 40,000-sq.-ft. assembly facility at Jacksonville International Airport to build 20 of its A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the U.S. Air Force in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation. The expansion represents Embraer’s first U.S. military contract and 50 new jobs.

Financial/Business Services
Forbes ranked Jacksonville No. 5 on its 2013 list of "Cities Winning Finance Jobs from Wall Street," citing the region’s 11% growth in finance jobs between 2009 and 2012.

The sector continues to grow:

• Deutsche Bank is expanding its Jacksonville footprint with an infusion of $10 million in capital and 300 jobs over the next three years. Since 2008, Deutsche Bank has created more than 1,000 jobs in Northeast Florida.

• Bank of America will expand operations at two southside Jacksonville campuses to accommodate multiple lines of businesses and create at least 200 new full-time jobs by December 2015.

• Alorica, a leading provider of customer management outsourcing solutions, is adding 200 new employees — mostly inbound customer service representatives — at its Palatka facility.

Healthcare
Approximately 20% of Northeast Florida’s workforce is employed in the healthcare sector. Recent developments:

• UF Health Jacksonville, formerly Shands Jacksonville, is constructing a six-story, 210,000-sq.-ft. medical office complex in north Jacksonville with an opening date of early 2015. The $60-million facility will offer imaging services, emergency and urgent care and office space for University of Florida faculty and community physicians.

• Wound-care management services company Healogics, which relocated its corporate headquarters to Jacksonville in 2012, has already expanded by another 10,000 square feet. The company manages 500 wound-care centers throughout the U.S. and brings approximately 150 physicians and other medical personnel to Jacksonville for training monthly.

• Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, plans to spend $12 million on expansion at its Jacksonville campus. The firm, which makes Accuvue® disposable contact lenses, has 4,100 employees worldwide, including 1,800 in Jacksonville.

Logistics/Distribution
Across Northeast Florida, approximately 40,000 are employed in distribution-related jobs. Advantages here include:

• Two deepwater ports — Fernandina and Jacksonville. In 2012, a record 8.2 million tons of cargo, including 923,660 containers, passed through JaxPort. In 2013, Bradford, Putnam and St. Johns counties were added to the Foreign Trade Zone based here.

• Multiple airports, including Jacksonville International Airport, offering daily non-stop service to 27 destinations.

• CSX, Norfolk Southern and RailAmerica, providing rail service to a potential 45 million customers within eight hours.

• Three interstates — I-95, I-295 and I-10 — intersect at Jacksonville; I-75 is just 60 miles away.

QUALITY OF LIFE

Outstanding education Two Jacksonville schools are among the top 35 on Newsweek’s 2013 list of "America’s Best High Schools": Stanton College Preparatory School is ranked No. 10, and Paxon School for Advanced Studies holds the No. 35 position.

Arts and culture Jacksonville is brimming with cultural assets, including the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Jacksonville Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Museum of Science and History, Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. And for history, there’s no place like St. Augustine, where Europeans established their first New World settlement and railroad magnate Henry Flagler built his first of what would become a chain of luxury resort hotels along Florida’s east coast.

Sports and recreation Sports fans have plenty to like about Jacksonville, including the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jacksonville Suns AA baseball team and one of college sports’ biggest rivalries, the annual Florida-Georgia Football Classic. Golf is always in season here too at more than 85 elite courses, including TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra where The Players PGA Tournament is held annually in May.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS/EXPANSIONS

Aviation Aveo Engineering, a global producer of high-tech electronics and LED lighting products for the Aviation industry, is constructing a design and manufacturing facility at the Flagler County Airport in Palm Coast with the expectation of creating 300 jobs and investing $7.5 million.

Environmental services Advanced Disposal Services, the nation’s largest privately owned environmental services company, has relocated its headquarters to Ponte Vedra. With operations in 20 states and the Bahamas, Advanced Disposal provides collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to more than 640,000 residential and 106,000 commercial customers in Florida alone. The firm’s expansion in Northeast Florida will create 85 jobs and retain another 35.

Healthcare dtw Marketing Research Group, a market research firm specializing in pharmaceuticals, plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Amelia Island, creating 40 new management, sales, IT and hourly flex-time positions.

NOTABLE EMPLOYERS

Aviation/Aerospace/Defense
• FlightStar Aircraft Services, Cecil Field Jacksonville
• Kaman Aerospace Corporation Jacksonville
• Northrop Grumman Corporation St. Augustine

Financial/Insurance Services
• Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Jacksonville
• Deutsche Bank Jacksonville
• Fidelity National Financial Jacksonville
• Florida Blue Jacksonville
• JPMorgan Chase Jacksonville

Life Sciences/Healthcare
• Baptist Health System Jacksonville
• Mayo Clinic Jacksonville
• Medtronic Inc. Jacksonville

Logistics/Distribution
• Coach Distribution Center Jacksonville
• Crowley Maritime Corporation Jacksonville
• CSX Jacksonville
• Landstar System Inc. Jacksonville
• Patriot Transportation Holding, Inc. Jacksonville
• RailAmerica Inc. Jacksonville

Manufacturing
• Georgia Pacific Corporation Palatka
• Pilot Pen Corporation of America Jacksonville
• SAFT North America Jacksonville
• Unison Industries Jacksonville