Business Florida 2021 - The Regions
Charlotte • Collier • Lee
Consisting of just three counties, Florida’s Southwest is the state’s smallest region by land size, but it carries a powerful punch. Its largest county — Collier — is Florida’s second richest by per capita income and offers the second longest life expectancy. Lee County, home to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, is among Florida’s fastest growing counties, this year logging a 21.6% increase in population since 2010. And Charlotte County, strategically located along I-75 between Tampa and Miami, continues to shine as a logistical powerhouse, providing ready access to a potential 4 million customers within a 90-mile radius. Thriving industry clusters in this region include life sciences, logistics and technology.
Life Sciences & Health Care
Global medical device manufacturer Arthrex, a fixture in Collier County since 1991, has moved into its new 300,000-sq.-ft., six-story headquarters building in Naples. Under construction since 2018, the building is one of three new structures Arthrex will debut at its Naples campus this year. Also new to this company’s campus: a four-story, 160-room hotel to accommodate physicians who come to Naples for training in the surgical devices developed at Arthrex; and a two-story, 38,000-sq.-ft. wellness and medical center housing a fitness center and medical clinic for employees and their families.
Elsewhere in the region, NeoGenomics, a specialist in cancer genetics testing and information services, is building a 150,000-sq.-ft. headquarters on 14 acres of land just west of I-75 near Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. The $60-million project, which will include a space for laboratory and corporate support functions, is scheduled for completion in fall 2021.
Fort Myers-based Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute now has about 100 locations throughout Florida, including new offices in Wesley Chapel, Ocala, Lake Mary and Sebring. The firm, which opened its first office in 1984, is today the largest independent medical oncology/hematology practice in the U.S.
Medical manufacturing firm EmCyte is breaking ground in the fields of sports medicine, orthopedics and chronic wound care with production of devices for extracting platelet-rich plasma at its 30,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility in Fort Myers.
And health care facilities across this region are also continuing to adapt and grow:
• A $315-million expansion/renovation was already underway at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers when the COVID-19 pandemic struck west Florida in March 2020. To accommodate a suddenly growing population of coronavirus patients, the hospital fast-tracked its construction project, and on April 2 — two months ahead of schedule — opened 250 beds on three new floors. Still to come: expansion of the emergency department, clinical laboratory, radiology department, dining services and central energy plant. When the project is fully completed in fall 2021, Gulf Coast’s total bed capacity will increase from 356 to 624, making this the largest hospital between Sarasota and Miami.
• In a unique partnership, two children’s health care facilities — Golisano Children’s Hospital of South Florida in Fort Myers and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg — have teamed up to provide seamless pediatric care across Florida’s west coast. The new agreement between the two facilities, which took effect in October 2019, gives providers at both locations medical privileges to admit and treat pediatric patients at either hospital. Bottom line: Every child has access to the best health care regardless of where he/she lives along the gulf coast in west Florida.
• And in the battle against superbugs, Southwest Florida’s NCH Healthcare System has a new high-tech weapon. In addition to using traditional methods of disinfection, the Naples-based hospital chain has introduced portable machines that destroy germs with intense pulses of UV light. The machines, which cost more than $100,000 each, kill microorganisms and pathogens such as MRSA, Ebola and coronavirus, as well as viruses that can cause the flu.
KEY PLAYERS: Arthrex, Naples; Golisano Children’s Hospital of South Florida, Fort Myers; Gulf Coast Medical Center, Fort Myers; NeoGenomics, Fort Myers