Photo: Keith Douglas
Economic Yearbook 2017
Southeast Florida: A building boom
Trains and planes and development in formerly vacant spaces are reshaping the southeast region. In Broward, transportation infrastructure is a major focus: Rail provider Brightline’s 60,000-sq.-ft. Fort Lauderdale rail station is being completed; Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport is building a $295-million terminal expansion; and Port Everglades continues on its $1.6-billion, 20-year plan to receive Panamax freighters in the nearterm — and grow its impact and capacity through 2033.
Meanwhile, a host of new luxury apartments, hotels, retailers and office space is lining the U.S. 1 corridor’s Flagler Village. And fronting I-95 in Dania Beach, the $800-million, 102-acre Dania Pointe mixed-use development is replacing a sprawling arcade and go-kart track.
To the west, the $1.5-billion Metropica mixed-use destination from KGH International Development will rise on 65 acres adjoining the Sawgrass Mills Mall. The project calls for 4 million square feet of residential, commercial, office, hotel, conference and public spaces, a 345-unit rental apartment building. Located miles from the Atlantic, it will also feature a beach.
Some $3 billion in developments permitted countywide is driving downtown growth and urban redevelopment and infrastructure improvements to bring people closer to work — and employers to town. “In the new economy, talent is the currency,” says Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Business is bustling along the I-95 corridor in the county and points northward. The $69-million Spanish River Boulevard project in Boca Raton will add 13 bridges and send traffic directly onto FAU Boulevard and the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University.
Just to the west, the 39-year-old Arvida Park of Commerce in Boca Raton is getting a long-overdue makeover. The 700-acre office park — with 66 property owners — has been remade as a commerce/lifestyle destination, The Park at Broken Sound. Developers Sergio Rok and Jimmy Tate and partner Jamie Danburg are building a five-building, 282-unit residential rental community. Altman Cos. Is building the 398-unit Altis Boca Raton in the park. 850 Boca will be a 370- unit rental development from developers Armando Codina and Jim Carr.
Follow the Brightline tracks north, and West Palm Beach shows similar activity. As in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach County office markets are moving toward transit-oriented development nodes. Investors are putting money into communities where “people want to live, work and play,” says Keith O’Donnell, principal with Avison Young, “rather than just building to build.”
People to Watch
Mark Bellissimo: Where most Palm Beach County visitors see sun, sand and surf, the group that Mark Bellissimo caters to want to see horses. Since his full-time arrival in 2004, the managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners has helped put Wellington and the county on the global equestrian map.
The town’s stable of equestrian activities and brands has attracted investors, affluent home buyers, celebrities and international events.
Bellissimo and his partners have invested some $350 million on media outlets and such properties as the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and last year, the venerable International Polo Club.
Bellissimo has grown the equestrian season from four to 20 weeks a year.
John Pearsall: The CEO of Elite Airways recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of service in and out of Vero Beach Regional Airport. Routes include Naples, Tallahassee, Asheville,N. C., and a popular Newark,N. J., route. Plans call for a larger facility at Vero Regional.
Josh Simon: The developer’s reach includes 58 acres near Indiantown Road in northwest Palm Beach County with plans for office/ light industrial and acreage in downtown Abacoa. In all, plans include apartments, restaurants and medical offices.
Brian Bauer: The executive spent 17 years with CareerSource Research Coast before being named president/CEO in February. He oversees the private, non-profit that drives workforce development from Martin to Indian River counties.
Regional Roundup Barbara Sharief: A RN and nurse practitioner and health care entrepreneur by training, Sharief was selected for a second term as Broward County mayor in 2016 by the county’s commission. She is the county’s first black female mayor and its first Muslim mayor.
Stacy Ritter: In May, the longtime politician and former county commissioner took over as CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, replacing longtime head Nicki Grossman, who retired. With the job comes responsibility for the county’s Sunny.org brand — and its $30-million marketing budget.
Kevin Collinsworth: A Miamian who has traveled the world producing music events, Collinsworth produces the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, which brings 130 acts, thousands of local workers and 30,000 attendees to 800 acres in Okeechobee County.
Dan Carmody: Former chairman of the 25-yearold Business Development Board of Martin County, Carmody is a county native and principal of Olde Florida Realty.
County Population: 1.95 million, Ï+6.9% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 17.0%
Per Capita Income: $46,438
FORT LAUDERDALE — The 300-acre Flagler Arts and Technology Village near downtown Fort Lauderdale epitomizes the county’s makeover. BRYL Development’s Flagler 626 will be a 12-story, 97-unit condominium. A 332-unit luxury apartment, The Edge at Flagler Village, was acquired by TIAA last year for $114.4 million. The Brightline rail service is luring hoteliers, with Wurzak Hotel Group planning a property on Federal Highway and Merrimac Ventures, along with partner Driftwood Hospitality, is planning a 195-room hotel near the station.
HOLLYWOOD — Pulte Homes is planning 152 homes within Tamarac’s Woodmont Country Club community and another 650 homes in two gated communities on what were golf courses at Hollywood’s Hillcrest Golf and Country Club.
Indian River County
County Population: 152,356, Ï+8.4% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries:13.4%
Per Capita Income: $67,096
FELLSMERE — Parabel, which produces water-lentil-based proteins for the health care industry and for animal feed, signed a lease for 450 acres and will invest $10 million in a R&D facility, bringing more than 200 jobs in the coming years.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Several prospects have proposed new developments of 300-plus acres around the county, including a $50-million entertainment destination complex and more than $250 million in manufacturing facilities.
County Population: 161,114, Ï+8.2% vs. 2012 5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 17.5% Per Capita income: $70,365
JENSEN BEACH — The 184-room Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa will open later this year. County leaders anticipate hundreds of new jobs and millions in capital investment. The county also recently welcomed its first Wawa and Aldi locations.
STUART — Three projects are notable in a county long averse to growth: Coral Shores Behavioral Health, a 52,000-sq.-ft., $19-million facility, will join HealthSouth Rehabilitation, Martin Health System South Hospital and Indian River State College in the emerging targeted medical cluster off Salerno Road. Slated to open by mid-2017, it will add 100 health care jobs.
WEST MARTIN — The Florida Park of Commerce in Indiantown offers 100 acres of shovel-ready property in western Martin County. The park has rail access and is located on the SR 710 corridor.
County Population: 39,987, Ï+1.8% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 19.7%
Per Capita Income: $31,092
OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival has become an economic development asset, attracting thousands of concertgoers to an 800-acre patch called Sunshine Grove. > The new six-county Florida Heartland Economic Region of Opportunity is looking to tap highways, rail and ports, an abundance of land and expedited permitting to lure businesses. “With the high cost of doing business in coastal regions,” says John Gurney, the county’s economic development director, “all of a sudden the world knows about us.”
Palm Beach County
County Population: 1.47 million, Ï+8.3% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 21.8%
Per Capita Income: $71,484
BOCA RATON — Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group of Hong Kong next year will open a 158-room hotel and 100-residence condominium — connected by a sky bridge — along Federal Highway in Boca Raton.
DELRAY BEACH — In Delray Beach, a task force is seeking to transform four miles of Congress Avenue into the city’s “next great street,” after Atlantic Avenue.
LOXAHATCHEE — In Loxahatchee, Minto Group and other developers are planning thousands of homes, retail and commercial development. Avenir, a new community from Coral Gables-based Landstar, has been approved for mixed-use development in the county’s northwest area. Together, the area could see 15,000 new homes and properties.
St. Lucie County
County Population: 309,028, Ï+9.0% vs. 2012
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 16.0% Per Capita Income: $36,626
FORT PIERCE — The county is building a hangar at the Treasure Coast International Airport and Business Park; the U.S. Customs office is being renovated; and the county is working to improve service, accessibility and curb appeal at the airport. The Economic Development The Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa is set to open this year in Jensen Beach. Council of St. Lucie County and area manufacturers have created the Treasure Coast Manufacturers Association. > Building construction providers Rocla Concrete Tie and Precast Specialties together are adding nearly 200 jobs.
INDIANTOWN — Indian River Bio Diesel, which transforms used cooking oil into an additive used to make biodiesel, is adding 25 jobs.
PORT ST. LUCIE — Call center operator Teleperformance added 300 jobs, with iVox Solutions also adding 300, moving from Martin County into the former Teleperformance location. Medical supply company McKesson added 150 jobs, backfilling a Port St. Lucie facility that formerly housed QVC. In Tradition, Optimal Outcomes is building 60,000 square feet of space adjacent to Tradition Medical Center at Tradition HealthPark Two, near where 10-year resident Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies continues its drug research. Torrey Pines recently was the only Florida institution named part of the National Cancer Institute’s NexT program. > Tapping into the health care market, Keiser University’s $14-million, 74,000-sq.-ft. building offers health care, IT and graduate-level degree programs for an estimated 1,200 students.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation recently collaborated with Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) for a new take on the traditional career fair, the inaugural Claim Your Future Showcase, modeled on a similar event in Palm Beach County. A thousand 11th-grade students in the BCPS Career, Technical, Adult & Community Education program went to the BB&T Center to explore career possibilities with local companies, including those in targeted, high-wage industries such as technology. They learned about the skills needed to pursue professional goals from C-level business leaders who participated on panels and conducted mock interviews with students. More than 50 companies participated and some even recruited summer interns. The event was supported by Bank of America.