More Local Cogs of Growth Hum for Florida


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, August 13th, 2016 – New local hubs of growth continue to emerge as contributors to Florida’s economic growth. The state’s economy, seen as ahead of the national pace and building further momentum, draws its continuing strength from job growth and construction, factors which are as robust in Sarasota and Manatee.

Further improvements on the region’s labor front can be expected in the near term not only from major projects like the 3,500-acre Waterside project that Lakewood Ranch (LWR) developer Schroeder Manatee Ranch broke ground early in 2016. Hopes can likewise be pinned on the medical businesses that appear to be gravitating towards LWR lately.

New Medical Infrastructure Rising

More Local Cogs of Growth Hum for Florida

Recently, Sarasota Memorial Hospital firmed up plans for a new medical office building of its First Physicians Group and bought a site at the junction of Lorraine Road and State Road 70. This planned facility would be in addition to the large urgent-care center that the hospital now operates in Heritage Harbor off State Road 64, which adds market stimulus to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale at the north end of the master development.

Separately, Doctors Hospital has bared plans to build a freestanding emergency room in a site it would lease on State Road 70 at Ranch Lake Plaza. In addition, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch in the next 10 to 20 years will pursue development of a 265-acre biomedical research park to be tied up with a university and likewise feature walkable housing.

All these would be in addition to LWR’s existing medical infrastructure—the sprawling Coastal Orthopedics headquarters, the 120-bed Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, three urgent-care walk-in clinics, and the Lake Erie College of Medicine.

$1-B Set for LBK’s The Colony

The wellspring for employment and other economic activities is also extending beyond Sarasota’s downtown district wherein building projects either ongoing or in the pipeline would add some 4,000 residential condo units, rental apartments, and hotel rooms.

Late in July 2016, Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments closed on its $22 million purchase of The Colony, a world-famous tennis resort which was closed in 2010 due to financial difficulties. Unicorp plans to build from scratch and pump in $1 billion in the 18-acre premium beachfront property surrounded by many upscale neighborhoods offering high-end Longboat Key condos for sale.

The developer hopes to revive The Colony as a five-star resort featuring 180 hotel rooms in addition to 180 luxury condos and 67 time-share units. It hopes to break ground in two years with resort inauguration eyed in 2020. This development is projected to contribute $100 million in annual revenue to Longboat Key, as well as create 400 jobs during its construction and 300 permanent positions once the resort is operational.

Other Growth Centers Pitching In

Employment generation is likewise looking up in other sectors elsewhere in Florida. Amazon was reported hiring 1,500 to expand its warehouse/distribution operations in the Ruskin area south of Tampa to Jacksonville. Sagitec Solutions, a Minnesota software firm, also announced recently that it is adding 60 jobs with its expansion in the Tampa market. In another move, ADP said it plans to create 1,600 new jobs in the Orlando region.

All these activities bode well for the continuing growth of Florida’s economy which for the 2016 first quarter rose at a 2.1 percent clip. This performance not only bettered the national pace of 1.2 percent but also led the Sunshine State’s biggest peers—California, Texas and New York. Florida likewise ranked highly amongst all states in the Southeast, topped only by Arkansas’s 3.9 percent growth rate that emerged No. 1 in the country for the first three months of 2016.