January 18, 2020

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Downtowns rising across Florida

Andrew P. Corty | 3/28/2016

Downtowns are booming all across Florida. While we all know about the development craze in Miami, Florida metro areas from the Atlantic to the Gulf also are surging.

In Tampa, Jeff Vinik plans a $2-billion downtown project with 6 million square feet for offices, a hotel, shops and residences. Port Tampa Bay proposes a similar level of development on its downtown property.

Just across the bay in St. Petersburg, apartments and condominiums are springing up at a rapid clip. Restaurants, museums, another grocery store and a hotel are part of the mix.

There’s a similar story in Orlando, as sports venues and the new Dr. Phillips performing arts center solidify the trend of millennials and young retirees flocking downtown.

Fort Lauderdale is seeing new condominiums, apartments and a hotel go up downtown. In downtown West Palm Beach, the development of a train station for Florida East Coast’s BrightLine service is spurring development.

Despite having to shore up its municipal pension funds, Jacksonville is equally poised for growth. In Pensacola, development of a stadium for the minor league Blue Wahoos baseball team has kicked off several downtown projects.

Smaller cities — like Fort Myers, Melbourne and Sarasota — are witnessing their own booms.

Now let’s have some Q&A fun.

  1. Are there more tigers or more Florida panthers in our state?

    Tigers, by far

  2. Does Florida keep animals for medical research?

    Yes, everything from sheep to monkeys and hamsters

  3. What about pygmy hippos . . . They couldn’t be here, could they?

    There are 48 on a ranch near Arcadia

Read about wild Florida in this special report.

Since its inception in 1982, Leadership Florida has enjoyed a great relationship with Florida Trend. Every publisher and editor of this magazine has participated in the group’s annual gatherings. I was in the inaugural class.

Both Florida Trend and Leadership Florida have similar missions in offering a statewide perspective on all things Florida. For anyone in a significant leadership position — whether in a for-profit business, non-profit or governmental organization — both the magazine and Leadership Florida are essential to truly understanding the state.

In addition to its annual program, which requires a commitment of five weekends over the course of a year, Leadership Florida also offers an executive program over one weekend. The issues, history and institutions that define Florida are discussed.

Our executive editor, Mark Howard, will be among the presenters at the executive program this month. It’s probably too late to apply for this session, but please consider applying for either the annual program or the next executive program. It’s time well spent.

Fitness update: I’m still running a few times each week but having trouble besting 10:00 minutes per mile. Perhaps age is creeping up? Or is it the Sunday morning doughnuts?

— Andy Corty


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