Sarasota‒Bradenton Economic Climate amongst Best for Startups in Business


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, September 2nd, 2016 – Count the recent decision of Home Depot to open a new store in East Manatee as one smart move. The Sarasota‒Bradenton metropolitan area wherein Home Depot is set to expand its market coverage has been ranked by the business news channel CNBC as one of the top 20 U.S. metros to start a business.

Our metro area came out no. 15 in this first-ever CNBC ranking on the business climate of the country’s 389 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The business news channel’s criteria in the evaluation included access to capital, tax and regulatory climate, workforce strength, and cost of living, all culled from private and government data. The Sarasota‒Bradenton metro was notably the only Florida MSA which made it in the news network’s top 20 ranking.

In a separate CNBC rating, the Sunshine State was nonetheless ranked as no. 10 amongst the country’s top states for business in 2016, improving from its 16th place ranking in 2015. This list scored each state based on over 60 competitiveness measures developed from inputs of business and policy experts, government agencies, amongst others.

The categories upon which the points of each state’s scorecard were based included business friendliness, access to capital, cost of doing business, cost of living, economy, education, quality of life, technology and innovation, and workforce. At the 10th spot overall, Florida scored a total of 1,469 points, which compares with the 1,598 that top-ranking Utah garnered.

Home Market Hotbed

Sarasota‒Bradenton Economic Climate amongst Best for Startups in Business

Home Depot indeed considers Florida as one of its most important markets, already having over 150 locations in the state, which is its third highest across the nation. For its new store in East Manatee, this Atlanta-based home improvement store chain is buying a 22-acre site at the corner of Morgan Johnson Road and State Road 64 for a total of $7.9 million.

Business savvy shows in this choice of location as East Manatee is currently one of the hotspots of new home construction in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. In July 2016, for instance, WCI Communities was reported to have paid $5.6 million for 64 acres of land along the Upper Manatee River Road, which it plans to develop into the 149-home community of Copperlefe.

Options on new and resale homes

Northeast of the downtown Bradenton area, WCI has already started marketing at its Tidewater Preserve. Bradenton homes for sale in this community which sits on the southern banks of the Manatee River include newly built three-bedroom carriage homes with floor areas of 1,710 square feet and tag prices just a shade below the $300s. Single family homes in this new development are priced in the $300s‒$600s range, featuring floor plans of between 1,750 and 3,550 square feet designed with two to four bedrooms.

Besides WCI, other developers with new projects in this area include regional builder Neal Communities, Scottsdale, Arizona-based Meritage, and national builders Lennar Corp. and D.R. Horton, all offering newly built Bradenton homes for sale. Adding more color to the economic activity in the Sarasota-Bradenton metro, there are plenty of resale homes in well-established communities in East Manatee, such as those at the Waterlefe Golf & Country Club just west of the Upper Manatee River Road.