Economic Gains Spur Richer Population Mix


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, January 8th, 2016 – Population growth in Southwest Florida in recent years has tilted towards baby boomers who now account for 30.4 percent of the residents in the region. But though this level is the highest among mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas, as per a recent reckoning, an increase in younger demographics moving into the region shouldn’t be discounted.

Besides the retiring “boomers” moving in, some economists observed that young adults or “millennials” are also now steadily relocating here, drawn by the improved job creation and lots of new businesses opening in the state. With the population influx from these demographics, Florida now has the bragging rights as the country’s third largest state. It has overtaken New York in this slot with a head count of nearly 20 million as of the latest Census Bureau estimate in December 2015.

Meet Cassia Cay

Economic Gains Spur Richer Population Mix

The growing Florida population with a richer demographics base is serving as a strong incentive for new hubs of commercial and residential developments. In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area, yet another major mixed-use complex was unveiled around mid-December 2015, promising to add impetus to job growth and the magnets for housing in the region.

This new development, called Cassia Cay, is located in a 31-acre tract along the South Tamiami Trail and just west of the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. Planned at a cost of $200 million, this new project is a fitting follow-up to the $315-million Mall at University Town Center which opened in October 2014, creating hundreds of jobs and helping build market interest in Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale.

More than 500 jobs are projected during the construction phase of the Cassia Cay project, and over 300 permanent new positions are expected upon its completion. If county approval is secured as anticipated, the development will break ground in late 2016 for a target completion in early 2018.

Play on waterfront luxury

The proposed Cassia Cay complex consists of 178,000 square feet for six to eight waterfront restaurants, retail outlets and entertainment centers. It likewise features 60,000 square feet for offices. The immediate target consumers for this commercial/office component are the residents of nearby communities Casey Key, The Oaks, Siesta Key and Palmer Ranch.

Plans also call for a gated waterfront village with 98 luxury sky homes, with the residences’ floor plans starting at 2,500 square feet. Price points have been set at between the $500s and $4 million. To protect the wildlife habitat of the project’s site just next to the Intracoastal Waterway, the developer plans landscape buffers four times greater than what the county requires.

The county’s approvals for a mixed-use development on the Cassia Cay have been in place for about a decade. There is also a 99-year agreement that allows construction in the site, but it is only now that plans appear moving forward, apparently nudged by the improving U.S. economy and by the robust Florida population growth in recent years.

The proponents behind Cassia Cay are the Naples-based Apogee Realty Advisors LLC and Kansas-based Core Development Inc. Notably, the latter is the co-developer of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and The Concession golf community, both of which have also been helping enrich Southwest Florida’s demographics.