September 29, 2023

2018 Economic Yearbook

Southwest Florida: Snapshot of the region's economic strengths and challenges, people to watch

Art Levy | 3/28/2018

Hernando County
County Population: 188,108, ï?©+8.1% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 17.2%
Per Capita Income: $36,335

Len Sossamon, Hernando County’s administrator and economic development director, credits the county’s Speculative Building Incentives Program with two new industrial buildings at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center. Also in 2017, the county dedicated a new wastewater treatment plant at the airport.

Highlands County
County Population: 105,125, +7.5% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 9.3%
Per Capita Income: $34,734

Twenty-nine Highlands County small-business owners received a combined $2.4 million in emergency bridge loans from the Florida Small Business Development Center at USF to repair damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The USF center also made $1.2 million in bridge loans to 11 business owners in nearby DeSoto and Hardee counties. A new retail center is planned for 7.7 acres along U.S. 27 in Sebring.

Hillsborough County
County Population: 1.42 million, +9.6% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 20.5%
Per Capita Income: $47,086

Havana Square, a 274-unit apartment complex in North Hyde Park, sold for $58.1 million to Nashville-based Nicol Investment. Three of Clearwater-based BayCare Health Systems hospitals in Hillsborough County — St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz and St. Joseph’s Hospital South in Riverview — will undergo a combined $308 million in renovations over the next three years. Ybor City’s La Segunda Bakery, founded more than 100 years ago, will open a second retail location in south Tampa. Royal Caribbean will enlist a bigger ship to provide cruise service from Port Tampa Bay to Cuba. The 2,300-guest Majesty of the Seas will replace the 1,602-guest Empress of the Seas this summer. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, which cut some bus routes last year to save money, is considering another revamp, including adding more stops at Tampa International Airport and Tampa General Hospital.

Lee County
County Population:738,964, +11.8% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 23.5%
Per Capita Income: $48,592

The 343,000-sq.-ft. Bell Tower Shops, an open-air shopping complex in Fort Myers, is undergoing renovations. Three Lee County cities made the top 15 in a WalletHub ranking of the nation’s cities with the fastest-growing economies. Lehigh Acres ranked third, Fort Myers fourth and Cape Coral 15th.

Manatee County
County Population: 384,140, +12.2% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 21.6%
Per Capita Income: $46,929

The death last summer of Snooty, who at 69 was the world’s oldest captive manatee, has not prevented its former home, the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, from moving ahead with plans for a $12-million, 12,600-sq.-ft. expansion. The project includes 15,300 square feet of outdoor program space.

Pasco County
County Population: 524,664, +10.3% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 23.5%
Per Capita Income: $39,481

Residents living near the 7 Diamonds Mine in northern Pasco County have challenged a county decision to allow lime rock mining three miles south of the Hernando County line. The residents say mining activity could harm nearby environmentally sensitive land and wildlife areas. Cypress Creek Town Center is expanding. Plans are underway to construct a $9.6-million, 109,500-sq.-ft. At Home decor store south of SR 56 near Wesley Chapel.

Pinellas County
County Population: 965,245, +3.8% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages/Salaries: 17.6%
Per Capita Income: $52,512

The 382-room Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach is undergoing a $15-million restoration. Seventeen major construction projects are underway in downtown St. Petersburg — from highrise apartment buildings to an $85-million police station — worth a combined $500 million. For the first time in history, the St. Pete- Clearwater International Airport surpassed 2 million passengers in a single year. The 2017 total is up 12% from 2016. Fucillo Automotive Group will open a Nissan dealership in Largo after purchasing 4½ acres on U.S. 19 for $2.5 million. AER, a 17-story, 358-unit apartment building in downtown St. Petersburg, sold for $127 million and has been renamed Camden Pier District.

Polk County
County Population: 672,133, +7.9% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 14.2%
Per Capita Income: $36,850

A former International Paper industrial building in Lake Wales has sold for $3.5 million to Fence Outlet, which plans to hire 80 people. Polk commissioners unanimously agreed to offer an unidentified company $300,000 in incentives to open a manufacturing facility in the county. The relocation would bring 250 jobs, commissioners say.

Sarasota County
County Population: 419,158, +7.4% vs. 2013
5-Year Change in Wages / Salaries: 24.3%
Per Capita Income: $61,463

Allegiant Air, the low-cost airline that has boosted traffic at many other airports in Southwest Florida, has arrived at the Sarasota- Bradenton International Airport. Flights to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are to start this month. Plans are underway for a proposed 500-home development on 288 acres in Palmer Ranch.


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