Up Front - The Publisher's Column
Florida gains momentum
Florida is on a roll. The state has passed New York and now is the third most populous in the nation. Businesses are finding a hospitable environment here.
In this 47th consecutive Economic Yearbook issue, Florida Trend makes note of the state passing the 20 million population mark. That's an amazing statistic especially considering only 6 million people resided here in 1965.
That's an average growth of 280,000 people each year. For better or worse, that growth will continue. Demographers predict at least 22.5 million residents in 10 years.
In September, Florida Trend will have a special issue examining the implications of this population surge. Our working title is “20 Million Strong.” We will explore the factors behind this growth and the challenges the state faces in water, transportation, health care, education, jobs and more.
This month, the magazine examines the status of Florida today on a region-by-region basis. Miami-Dade leads growth statewide with South American money driving construction and other sectors, while tourism continues to have a major impact. Business is booming.
Miami growth has flowed north to Broward and Palm Beach counties, which are seeing their own residential developments topped by big projects at ports, malls and offices.
Farther north, the Treasure Coast is alive with marine industries and health care. The Space Coast is resurrecting itself with growth at Harris, Rockwell and Northrop Grumman. Daytona is seeing raceway expansion, hotel/retail development and other major projects.
Jeff Vinik, who made his fortune with Fidelity's Magellan Fund, then started a hedge fund and now owns the Tampa Bay Lightning, is planning to transform downtown Tampa. Farther south, there's a new high-end mall in Sarasota and construction of the Hertz headquarters in Lee County, among other growth.
In Orlando, government projects like SunRail, I-4 expansion and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts are powering the region forward so that tourism, always a dominant player, is only one of many pillars. Similarly, in Gainesville, while education is the major industry, we are seeing success in spin-offs, especially in health, technology and biotech.
Jacksonville is on the right path with planned redevelopment at the vacant JEA site and at the Shipyards near EverBank Field, where the Jaguars play. Tallahassee is spiffed up with new parks, strong development between FSU and downtown and improved air service.
In the northwest, we're seeing growth in cybersecurity around Pensacola, plus a doubling of the work force at Navy Federal Credit Union and construction all along the Gulf, such as new resorts in the Destin area. All in all, our report shows the economic recovery in full swing throughout Florida.
If you need a break from the Economic Yearbook, we've included a feature on celebrities in Florida.
As south Florida editor Mike Vogel notes in the intro, Florida has been attracting the celebrity set for 100 years. And while we have famous folks in all corners of the state, the Miami/south Florida orbit draws the most glitz.
You will find sports stars like Michael Jordan, business moguls like Donald Trump, musicians like Jimmy Buffett and actors like Christian Slater.
Celebrity sightings aren't limited to those who own a place here. Famous people fly in all the time to appear on TV (Home Shopping, Univision), participate in sporting events, attend Art Basel Miami or simply to party and enjoy the Florida lifestyle.
Certainly we've missed some important names. Apologies to those we missed. You know who you are.
— Andy Corty