January 2019

Manpower Survey: Lee County Q1 Hiring Strong

The hiring pace in Lee County is expected to be among the strongest in the nation for the first quarter of this year, according to the latest survey by the ManpowerGroup.

Among employers surveyed in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, 34 percent said they plan to hire more workers from January through March. This number is offset by the 2 percent that plan to reduce their payrolls, giving the area a net employment outlook of 32 percent. According to the survey, local job prospects appear to be the best in construction, manufacturing, retail, financial services, tourism, government and other services. The strong outlook reflects the local seasonal hiring trend, according to Christopher Westley, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Read the full report: Q1 Hiring Report
What's in Store for the Cape in 2019?

Uptown Apartments Under Construction
Uptown at Liberty Park during construction

Last year was a solid year for economic growth in Cape Coral and we called out a list of several major milestones in the December newsletter. And there's so much more to come. Here is a select list highlighting more impressive strides that will keep moving the Cape forward in 2019:
* Join us for a dedication celebrating the successful completion of the SW 47th Terrace Streetscape Project:

WHEN:    February 5 at  4 p.m.
WHERE: Corner of SE 47 Terrace 
& SE 10  Place

This project not only beautified the bustling district, but also made improvements to traffic flow, safety and Wi-Fi capabilities. This project will continue to make South Cape a regional destination for business, dining and entertainment. 

* The need for additional assisted living and memory care communities is getting fulfilled in style, with several facilities being developed, opening and/or hiring. Opening this year: 
--Keystone Place at Four Mile Cove, a 140-unit facility expected to generate 80 news jobs.
- The Waters of Cape Coral is underway Chiquita Boulevard. Offering 72 assisted living and 28 memory care apartments with caregiver suites and a variety of amenities, it is planning to open in December.

* Multi-family housing expansion: Tenants are moving into Uptown at Liberty Park, a complex of eight buildings with 40 units each and a clubhouse.In addition, a 30-unit condominium with individual private slips on Coronado Parkway is on the drawing boards.

* Plans for two mixed-use developments -Seven Islands and Bimini Basin - are progressing since the city established formal marketing and consulting partnerships to promote each site, find investors and secure qualified developers. Redevelopment Management Associates is managing Bimini Basin in South Cape. CBRE, an international commercial real estate company, is managing Seven Islands in Northwest Cape Coral.

* The city will begin issuing bonds that will improve parks facilities citywide following the approval of the Parks GO (General Obligation) Bond referendum in November. Improved parks and greenspace raise the quality of life for residents and fuel the local economy.

* Cape Coral is expected to reach a new population milestone, perhaps this year - 200,000 full-time residents. New commercial and residential construction permits have risen dramatically in the past five years, signaling robust growth.

* City planners have been working on updating and overhauling the city's land-use code, which will make it easier for commercial developers to build in the city. The City Council is expected to adopt the changes in February.
SWFL MicroEnterprise Course Begins

MicoEnterprise banner
Goodwill's MicroEnterprise program begins in Cape Coral on Monday, Feb. 4 and runs through March 14. This six-week series of evening courses provide aspiring small business owners with the skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and become more independent. MicroEnterprises are the backbone of our economy. A microenterprise is any type of small business that has fewer than five employees and requires $35,000 or less to start-up, generally much less.
Participants will work with an instructor and a small business mentor who guides you through planning your business and shares their personal experiences. After completion of the class, participants may be eligible to apply for a small loan.

The cost for the course is $80. Classes will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Cape Coral Public Works Building in the Community Room on Nicholas Parkway East. To register or for more information: MicroEnterprise Registration. You can also contact 239-995-2106 ext. 2215 or jilleden@goodwillswfl.org.
Nominations Open for 2019 Distinguished Entrepreneur of SW Florida

The Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University is accepting nominations for the 2019 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award of Southwest Florida.
Southwest Florida business owners who have overcome obstacles, discovered new technologies to grow their business, or dedicated themselves to helping other small businesses through mentorship and civic leadership are encouraged to submit applications. Self-nominations are encouraged. Awards include: Distinguished Entrepreneur, Distinguished Small Business Advocate, and Distinguished Innovator of the Year. This marks the eighth annual celebration of this event, sponsored by Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. 
Application deadline: Feb. 28. The application process is online. Find the nomination form here
: Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards

For more information: (239) 745-3700.
Take in the Builders Showcase of Homes

Option 1 Builders 2019 winner
Option 1 Builders "The Genova" is named 2019's Overall Best home

Want to find out about the latest features and trends - and surprising innovations - in home design in Cape Coral? You're in luck because the 2019 CCCIA Builders Showcase is taking place through Feb. 3. The homes on the tour were built by members of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, and this annual event is a highlight featuring in homes in all price ranges, from under $250,000 to more than $1.5 million. This is an excellent opportunity to experience award-winning landscaping, pool design, kitchens and baths, interior and exterior design, and overall livability.
Showcase Dates and Times:

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26 and 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27, noon to 5 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3, noon to 5 p.m.

For more information and to download a tour map: 2019 CCIA Showcase 

New Cape Coral Businesses
Business Card top  
93  new businesses registered for Cape Coral Business Tax Receipts
in December 2018.
Click here to view new Cape Coral business reports. 
19th Annual Real Estate Outlook Conference
Feb. 11

Find out about Southwest Florida real estate at the CCIM Southwest District's annual conference on Monday, Feb. 11, 7:30 a.m. to noon.

This conference is for any individual or company that deals with real estate, including brokers, investors, buyers, sellers, bankers, lawyers, insurance agencies, and title insurance companies. The event offers an opportunity for networking and discussions about the upcoming year, while also offering an enriched understanding of the economy, especially in Southwest Florida. Breakfast buffet is included.
It will be held at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. Cost is $70 for CCIM members and $80 for non-members; $90 at the door.

Register here:  CCIM Conference

To become a sponsorship: Contact Bev Larson at (239) 281.1290 or 
Bev1314@aol.com .
In the Know: MarketWatch 2019
Feb. 26

Have you purchased your tickets for MarketWatch 2019? This insightful event organized by The News-Press offers a year-end review and year-ahead forecast about market conditions for residential, commercial, permitting, land and new home sales.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., beginning with networking and followed by presentation

Hertz Arena,
11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero

Denny Grimes, president of Denny Grimes & Company Inc.; Stan Stouder CCIM, Commercial Real Estate Expert; and Randy Thibaut, CEO, is owner and founder of Land Solutions, Inc.

Cost: General open seating is $50; other packages available.

Details and registration: MarketWatch2019
Cape Coral Charity Car Show

When: Saturday, Feb. 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place

Admission: Free; $5 parking donation.

Why: This annual fundraising event is sponsored by Cape Coral First United Methodist Church and benefits the Cape Coral Caring Center, with a goal of raising $30,000 this year.


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Message From Your EDO Interim Manager

Economic Growth, New EDO Manager
Terri Hall

To all of our partners in the Cape Coral business community: It has been my extreme pleasure to serve as the Economic Development Office Interim Manager since last August.
Even though I have served in various positions with the city since 1992 and will continue to manage the Community Redevelopment Agency, it has been truly rewarding to experience first-hand what your small but mighty EDO team does each day to help build the Cape's future. As you know, this is the biggest city in Southwest Florida, and our population continues to grow each year. The EDO team is focused on nurturing local relationships, helping to retain and grow local businesses, marketing our fair city, and attracting new, out-of-town enterprises to diversify our economy. Find out more: A run-down of select accomplishments last year was featured in the December newsletter, and a preview of what's to come is highlighted this month. (What's in Store for the Cape in 2019?)
Coupled with ongoing progress citywide and in South Cape, let's continue to build on this momentum by partnering with the new EDO Manager, Ricardo Noguera, who arrives during the first week of February. He brings three decades of experience in economic and community development. Ricardo says he is looking forward "to joining the Cape Coral team and continuing the efforts to deliver economic development boosting the city's commercial tax base, attracting and retaining industry, and improving the city's image on a national and international level."
These are goals that city staff and the EDO team rally around with passion and dedication, so when you have a moment, give a warm welcome to the new EDO manager. No matter your role in the community, there's something we have in common: We're all in this together.

Terri Hall
City of Cape Coral
Interim Economic Development Manager
Meet Your New EDO Manager:
Ricardo Noguera

Ricardo Noguera
Ricardo Noguera has been hired as the new Cape Coral EDO Manager. 

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he has worked in the economic development arena for 30 years.

Noguera holds a bachelor's degree in Cultural Geography from Hunter College, City University of N.Y. and a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.

He has devoted his career to revitalizing distressed communities and drawing foreign and domestic investment into communities in California, the Pacific Northwest and South Florida.

In North Miami, h e facilitated the largest private redevelopment project in the city's history, "Biscayne Landing," which converted a 125-acre former landfill into a vibrant mixed-use community. He has also led efforts to attract major retailers and a range of industrial, medical and corporate firms to the communities he has represented.

He is scheduled to begin Cape Coral on Feb. 4.

Welcome aboard!
SWFL Industry Diversification Report
Chris Westley, executive director, FGCU Regional Economic Research Institute

Florida Gulf Coast University's Regional Economic Research Institute released its latest Industry Diversification Report in December, which shows the region's workforce is diversifying. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked as the sixth most-diverse MSA out of the 22 in Florida, rising to its highest level since 2003. Southwest Florida's dominant industries are tourism/hospitality, retail, agriculture and construction (during economic prosperity).
Christopher Westley, economic institute director, says that a diversified economy allows "more sustainable growth during boom times" while softening economic corrections. In terms of economic development, diversity of industries is attractive to companies considering relocation because it means relocating spouses and family members have better opportunities for finding employment.
Florida's diversification index also increased. The state ranks as the 20th most diversified among the 50 states. Read the full report, which covers other counties in the region: Regional Diversity Report

Participate in the Regional Economic Research Institute Executive Business Climate Survey

Business owners: Your input is extremely helpful for measuring the quarterly Executive Business Climate Index for Lee County, which has been measured for eight years. The survey normally takes less than five minutes to complete and answers are anonymous. 
Participants who provide their email address at the end of the survey will receive a complete copy of the report. Survey deadline is midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Take the survey: Business Climate Survey

Whoo-Whoo's Cape Coral's Official Bird?

Introducing Ground-Owl Day

Join Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello and the  Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife at the First Annual "Ground-Owl Day" on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 a.m. The event will launch a new Cape Coral tradition: A resident burrowing owl will check for its shadow to see if six more weeks of "winter weather" is in store for Cape Coral.
The mayor will also proclaim Feb. 2 as official Ground-Owl Day. (Apologies to Punxsutawney Phil, though the region isn't known for groundhogs or snow flurries). As part of this celebration and proclamation, a contest was conducted by the Friends of Wildlife to name the Cape's resident owl, a la Phil, that will check each year for its shadow. Its name and contest winners will be announced on Feb. 2.
Ground-Owl Proclamation Day will be held at the Rotary Community Garden north of City Hall. Learn more: CC Friends of Wildlife

17th Annual Southwest Florida Burrowing Owl Festival

When: Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Rotary Park Environmental Center in Cape Coral, 5505 Rose Garden Road
Did you know that Cape Coral is home to the largest known population of the Florida burrowing owl? According to the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife: These pint-sized birds burrow underground where they nest from early February through mid-July. This threatened species is also the official city bird of Cape Coral.
Festival highlights include environmental and wildlife exhibits, bus tours to local burrowing owl burrows, demonstrations on burrow maintenance and starter burrows. There will be wildlife presentations, live birds of prey, music and food vendors. Tour the butterfly house and learn about host and nectar plants. Artists, photographers and craft vendors of all things natural, native and wild will have items for sale.

Annual Horizon Council Meeting Welcomes New Officers,
Examines Site Selection Trends

Keynote speaker Joe Lacy explains Gartner's Lee County expansions

At this month's well-attended annual meeting, the Horizon Council recognized outgoing officers as new leaders were announced: Dan Eveloff, Chair; Chris Spiro, Vice Chair; Gail Markham, Treasurer; and Mark Stevens, Secretary. This organization represents the public-private partnership between the Lee County government and the area's business community.
Keynote Speaker Joe Lacy, managing director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., was introduced to Lee County when searching for the ideal site for his corporate client, Gartner, in the 2000s. It wasn't until after Lee County invested in a $25 million incentives campaign in 2008 that Lacy says the site selection game changed for the region.
Since committing to a first building in 2009, Gartner has continued to grow and expand in Lee County, with the latest decision in 2017 to pursue a new campus with a commitment to include 1,200 new jobs. Today, Fort Myers is Gartner's largest U.S. market.
Some general site selection trends. according to Lacy:
  • Companies are increasingly using comprehensive site selection processes to identify and evaluate markets. A main consideration is work mobility: having fewer offices in a highly expensive market and more in other more affordable locations. Think: Amazon.
  • Decision windows are tighter-site selection is a faster process than before.
    • This increases pressure to be able to respond quickly with data that shows proof of value in the investment and also how risks to the prospective company are going to be reduced    
    • Having ready to build sites is a big plus because it shows readiness for development
Two other items of note that have helped to position Lee County globally include a strong collaborative relationship with educational entities to provide workforce training and an investment in redevelopment as showcased in downtown Fort Myers.
For communities to become recognized by site selectors, Lacy noted that it's vital to market business successes, provide data quickly (i.e., labor analysis) and have a solid understanding of the region's communities and amenities to position the community.
"When corporations come here, you want them to see and feel that the community is somewhere the company wants to be now and in the future," said Lacy.
Sister City Delegation from China to Visit Cape Coral in February
Cape Coral Sister City Location

Four high-level delegates from China's Baise Municipality Guangxi Zhuang will be visiting Cape Coral for the first time Feb. 24-27.
The Economic Development Office is coordinating the visit in partnership with the local
business community through the creation of a formal Welcome Committee. Members of the Welcome Committee include representatives from key sectors in the community such as education, healthcare and private-sector businesses.
The goal is to showcase the best of Cape Coral, offer key business and educational tours, and hold quality cultural and business discussions. Tours of Cape Coral Hospital, charter schools and Ecological Laboratories are planned. Ecological Laboratories currently has a manufacturing facility in China.
"This visit is the beginning of a business and cultural exchange that will ultimately benefit both Cape Coral and Baise," said Mayor Joe Coviello. "We are honored to host these delegates and look forward to showing them what makes Cape Coral a great place to live, work and invest."
Business owner JoAnne Killion, who provides educational student exchange programs, initiated the plan to find a sister city in China more than two years ago. "The future could hold cultural, student, and medical exchanges as well as enriching business and commerce ventures," Killion said.
Baise is more than 20 times the size of Cape Coral with 12 counties and 135 townships. However, the two cities share similar climates as well as popularity as tourist destinations.
If you are a business owner who is interested in exploring opportunities to do business in China, contact Business Recruitment/Retention Specialist Nita Whaley at nwhaley@capecoral.net or call (239) 574-0443.

Florida Skin Center Earns National Recognition
Dr. Anais Aurora Badia

Florida Skin Center has been recognized by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery as a top volunteer skin cancer screener. Founder Anais Aurora Badia, M.D., D.O., and her team provided 1,316 free skin checks across four Southwest Florida locations in one year as part of the society's "Choose Skin Health" program. The program is a year-round partnership with Neutrogena that prompts the public to defer to ASDS-member dermatologists for free skin cancer screenings and to practice sun safety. Find out more about Florida Skin Center, which has an office in Cape Coral: 
Learn more:  Florida Skin Center