February 7, 2023
2019 EO NE
Jim O'Leary stands amid construction of a parking garage at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. The $17-million Haskell project will provide 1,770 parking spaces for the downtown facility.

Photo: John M. Fletcher

2019 EO NE
Jacksonville leaders want to replace Skyway monorail cars with a system of self-driving shuttle buses.

Photo: Rendering: JTA Skyway Monorail Cars

2019 EO NE
GRU's bet on biomass proved costly, leading to calls for a change in oversight of the city-owned facility.
2019 EO NE
GreenPointe has developed 14 communities in Florida, including Trailmark in St. Augustine.
2019 EO NE
The PGA Tour began building a 187,000-sq.-ft. headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach. When completed in 2020, the headquarters will bring hundreds of employees from multiple locations under one roof.

Photo: Rendering: PGA Tour

2019 Economic Outlook

Downtown redevelopment remains a priority in Northeast Florida

Amy Martinez | 12/27/2018


President/CEO, Haskell, Jacksonville

“I anticipate a steady economy in 2019, even slight expansion. However, in 2020 things may change. In recent months, President Trump’s cut in the corporate tax rate and regulation reform have contributed to considerable manufacturing expansion. But trade volatility and tariffs between the world’s largest economies will certainly have a cooling effect over time. Nonetheless, we see growth opportunities in the core markets we serve, including food and beverage, water treatment, health care, government and manufacturing. A tight labor market and rising wages remain our greatest concern, but this has us laser-focused on a workforce development plan that supports our vision for growth.”

Forecast | NON-PROFIT


President, Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jacksonville

“Like other charities, we had a significant pick up in donations in late 2017 with the new tax law. Some people accelerated or bunched their charitable giving at the end of 2017 and then sat out 2018. That means potentially 2019 could be a better year for charitable giving. When the economy is strong, donors have appreciated assets and additional dollars they can give to non-profits. There’s a fair amount of optimism about the economy, but I think it’s balanced by questions about when we might see another recession. It’s equal amounts optimism and pessimism.”

Forecast | RETAIL

CEO, Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville

“We have 1,144 locations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. In 2019, we expect to develop between 75 and 100 restaurants. The biggest variable is availability of real estate. One of the downsides of a really robust economy is that rents typically go up. Yes, there’s new commercial development, but it can be very high-priced. There are some areas where rents have really gotten prohibitive for a business like ours. Florida historically has been a very strong market for us. In Florida, we’re looking at an 8% increase in same-store sales for 2018. Tourism has been terrific, and it’s been a great business environment. If the overall economy continues to function as it has, I would expect that to continue.”


CEO, GreenPointe Holdings, Jacksonville

“We have experienced a slowdown in sales in the last 60 days. I think uncertainty surrounding the elections and interest rate pressure were the cause of that. We’re looking for things to level off and growth to resume in 2019. Throughout Florida, we have 14 different communities that are in some state of development or completion. We’re fairly bullish on Florida. Household formations continue to increase as millennials enter the housing market — and they will enter the market once they get married and have kids. Florida also continues to enjoy growth in retirement housing, and we’re still a strong job-growth state.”


CEO, Camarda Wealth, Fleming Island

“I don’t think we’re looking at a recession anytime soon. U.S. stocks, even at today’s levels, are still overvalued by most metrics. Our advice to our clients is not to get out of stocks because there’s really nowhere else to go — bonds also are in a downtrend. We think you should look for deep-value opportunities where you can buy high-quality stocks that already have most of the air let out of the bubble — they’re cheap — and pay nice dividends. The big wild card is China. The administration has made significant progress in improving our trade relations with most of the world, but not with China. I think the China situation will be acceptably resolved — it’s in both countries’ interests to do so — but if it’s not, it could eventually drag the U.S. into a recession. Otherwise, I think we’ll see continued growth in the U.S. economy for the next year and a half.”

Forecast | TRADE

CEO, Jaxport, Jacksonville

“Jaxport has now achieved more than a decade of year-over-year revenue growth. We expect our Asian container business to experience further growth as the project to deepen our harbor to accommodate more cargo aboard the largest ships progresses and the industry continues to recognize the efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of using Jaxport. Because of unsurpassed rail and road connectivity, Jaxport can reach more than 70 million consumers within a one-day truck drive.”

Tags: Northeast, Economic Outlook

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