October 2018

Cape Coral Moving Forward with Seven Islands Project

Seven Islands/Google Maps

The Cape Coral City Council approved a formal partnership with a real estate company to find developers for the Seven Islands project in northwest Cape Coral.
The council approved a development plan for the seven rectangular-shaped "islands" connected to the mainland for a mixed-use project on the 48-acre, city-owned site. The design includes 995 residential units, both multifamily/condo and single-family homes, a 240-room hotel or resort with a 25,000-square-foot meeting space, a community center and commercial development.
This is a much-anticipated economic development project the city envisions as a regional destination. The council approved the design plan for the city-owned acreage in November 2016. 

Now that the contract with CBRE is approved, executive vice president Michael McShea said his company will begin creating marketing materials and put out a request for development proposals early next year. It will give developers 60 to 120 days to submit their responses. Proposals will be evaluated and a developer could be selected as early as next summer, with a development contract awarded by next fall.
CBRE is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. It is the world's largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.
Florida Has Favorable Tax Ranking

The Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index ranks Florida as No. 4 in the nation for the best climate. The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit provides the ranking to enable business leaders, government policymakers and taxpayers to gauge how their states' tax systems compare. The index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement. Because Florida has no individual income tax, it is a significant factor in the ranking.
Cape Coral
Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
Open for Business

The Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership sold its first truck earlier this month after quietly opening its doors on Pine Island Road-before its Nov. 1 grand opening.
The message on the dealership's 52 billboards spread throughout Southwest Florida have been changing from "Now hiring" to "Now selling." The business hired 69 employees out of 720 applicants, according to Jay Ganzi, general manager and part owner, though there is still a need for auto technicians.
Eventually, the lot will have up to 1,109 new vehicles for sale, in addition to used vehicles. The showroom is the heart of the dealership's 64,000-square-foot building.

It is located at 220 N.E. Pine Island Road. Call 888-339-7165 
New Cape Coral Businesses
Business Card top  
105  new businesses registered for Cape Coral Business Tax Receipts
in September 2018.
Click here to view new Cape Coral business reports. 
Where is the Cape Heading?...Catch the Vision 2018

The 8th Annual Catch the Vision will explore what Cape Coral population's approach of the 200,000 milestone means to the real estate market in 2019.
When: Tues., Nov. 13, 5pm

Where: Cape Christian Fellowship, 2110 Chiquita Blvd.

Details: Attendees will receive a color resource guide with new maps, guidelines and directories. This trade show is packed with local business owners excited to share their companies' services and products. The event includes a light dinner.

Admission: $20

Tickets: Catch the Vision.

Donations: Please bring canned goods to donate to the Cape Coral Caring Center for holiday distribution to its clients.
Learn More About What the Parks GO Bond Means to the City's Future

In an effort to help educate residents about the Parks GO Bond that will be on Cape Coral's election ballot in November, a short informational video has been created.

Watch it here:  Parks GO Bond Video 
Voters will have the opportunity to vote on a General Obligation bond for $60 million that would help fund the construction of future park projects and improvements to existing parks. This bond will help provide the residents of Cape Coral with access to numerous new recreation and leisure opportunities city-wide, and it is estimated that a 15-year, $60 million bond could cost the typical homeowner an average of $55.50 in additional property taxes (based on the median Cape Coral taxable value of $150,000). The bond would cost 37 cents per $1,000 of taxable property value for the first year.
Cape Coral homeowners and residents are encouraged to watch the video and visit the city's website, which offers more details, answers to frequently asked questions and access to a GO Bond calculator: Parks GO Bond Calculator

Get Ready to Run...or Just Have Fun!

It's almost time for one of the biggest community events in Cape Coral: the 39th Annual Turkey Trot 5K. Proceeds from the event benefit two Lee County programs that promote and reward healthy living and awareness in the community. The Fort Myers Track club has pledged $50,000 in proceeds to help build the Wellness path at Cape Coral Hospital as part of the future Pathway to Discovery. Additional proceeds will go to the Fort Myers Track Club Youth and Scholarship programs.
The race takes place Nov. 22 at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral at 609 S.E. 13th Court. If you're not a runner, race organizers are always in search of volunteers and sponsors. 
Industry Appreciation Award Winners

Horizon Council 25th

Congratulations to the 2018 Industry Appreciation Awards winners. The annual Horizon Council and Lee County Economic Development honors were presented earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. The five award categories with two ties for finalist were:

Business of the Year: FineMark National Bank & Trust

Business Citizenship: Edison National Bank and Pavese Law Firm

Diversity in Business: Lee Health

Nonprofit of the Year: Alliance for the Arts and The Heights Foundation

Start-up of the Year: Testimonial Tree

New Lee EDO logo 2018

          Bike Night Back:
Record Attendance

VIP tickets sold out and a crowd estimated at around 14-thousand turned out for the season's first City of Cape Coral Bike Night.  Thanks to progress that's been made on the streetscape improvements project, the main stage was back on SE 47 Terrace featuring the bands Maiden Cane and Quiet Riot.

Mark Your Calendar:

The next Bike Night is set for Dec. 8.  These events are organized by the Cape Coral Parks & Recreation Department.

Learn more:  Cape Coral Bike Night


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Message From Your EDO Interim Manager

Shop, Dine Locally to Keep it in the Cape


Terri Hall
I have a confession: I like to shop. OK, that may not strike you as a deep confession, but what I really like to do is shop locally to support local businesses.
There are so many reasons why: Supporting local businesses helps them stay in business and oftentimes, to grow. Local business owners support local charities, attend local church, school and community functions and invest in the community. Local businesses are part of the fabric of our social wellbeing. And yes, it reduces commute time over one of the bridges-so if you want to shop local while you think global, you are cutting down on fossil fuel consumption and emissions.
Here's another thing to consider. Depending on the shop, local hunting forays usually provide me with unique finds I may not encounter at a big box store--items such as custom jewelry, one-of-a-kind artwork or delightful chocolate and confections.
In fact, small businesses are the backbone of Cape Coral's economy, with more than 9,000 in the city. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 28 million small businesses across the nation create nearly two out of three jobs in our economy.
That's a lot to consider the next time you head out to find that special something for that special someone, to upgrade your wardrobe or for holiday shopping. Then, if you want to kick it up a notch, as famed Chef Emeril Lagassé would tell us, dine at a local eatery to cap off your hunting trip. Now that's keeping it in the Cape.

Terri Hall
City of Cape Coral
Interim Economic Development Manager
Into the Future: Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery Expands

Rendering of future chapel
Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery hosted a large groundbreaking in September heralding a bright future for the Cape Coral landmark.
Chuck Warren, director of operations , and Mayor Joe Coviello were joined by a crowd of 50 when ground was broken on a 8,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art building slated to open in the spring. The new building will be on the 68-acre property, facing Chiquita Boulevard.
The new facility will enable Coral Ridge to provide a venue for all types of events, including celebrations of life, receptions, weddings and private gatherings, Warren said. The exterior will be lined with stonework and feature a steeple rooftop. Influenced by Cape Coral's subtropical location, the interior will feature vibrant tropical tones and a calming environment with plenty of natural light and spacious, high-beamed ceilings. It can accommodate more than 175 guests.
The current chapel and administrative offices are housed in the former Ranch House Motel, which offered lodging to winter tourists and joined the county's tax roles in 1947. It is the oldest existing building in Cape Coral. Coral Ridge has been providing local funeral services since 1965.

The Coral Ridge chapel originally served as a hotel in the 1940s.

Coral Ridge is part of Dignity Memorial, which has 2,000 sites nationwide, and 14 member funeral homes in Southwest Florida. In addition to weddings and private events, Coral Ridge will continue to offer traditional funerals, military services, customized memorial services, burials, entombments and cremation services.
1630 S.W. Pine Island Road, Cape Coral * (239) 283-0540 *
Coral Ridge
Financial Tools of Successful Business Owners

By Russ Winstead, Business Consultant, Florida Small Business Development Center at FGCU

Prior to joining the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC), I owned a financial planning practice. In that company, I used many financial tools that make a significant difference in long-term financial planning of businesses. Specifically, it has to do with keeping the end in mind.
Many businesses here in Cape Coral are owner-operated businesses. They offer their personal and specific technical abilities and therefore, the business is based primarily on them. When it comes time to sell the business, many owners may not have much of an asset to sell because they are the business.
If someone owns a business where they are the primary provider of services, say a plumber or electrician, and they are the ones providing the service and running the business, they are the business. Unfortunately, they do not have much to sell in the end, if they are retiring or stepping down from the business.
However, there are financial tools that can be used to build cash equity in the business on a regular basis, during the life of the business, so that, in the end there is a nice retirement nest egg when the owner wants to sell.
These financial tools are somewhat complicated to implement and in most cases require a financial professional to set up, but are well worth it in the end.
In addition to these specific tools, there are other financial tools that can be utilized to limit liability and to provide financially for an unexpected loss of a key employee.
Each business should take the time to evaluate what would be appropriate for their situation.
If you would like more information on these types of tools and approaches, please contact me directly.

Florida SBDC at FGCU
1020 Cultural Park Blvd., #3
Cape Coral Office
(239) 573-2737
2018 Blue Chip Awards
Blue Chip Award

Have you registered to attend the 24th annual Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Awards? The ceremony will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa at 5001 Coconut Road in Bonita Springs.
Coordinated and sponsored by McGriff Insurance Services and BB&T Bank, the award program recognizes successful, small business owners who have overcome adversity to achieve success. Congratulations to Cape Coral's Zirilli's Chilly Treats,a small, family-owned business specializing in making dairy-free Italian Ice with real fruit in a variety of flavors, for being named a finalist this year.
This free event takes place 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register for your seat today: 2018 Blue Chip Awards

Restaurant Round-Up

Mom's Restaurant a 'Heavenly' Fit for Cape Coral

If you have ever eaten at the aptly named Heavenly Biscuit in a colorful, vintage cottage on Fort Myers Beach, you will be happy to hear that the restaurant founder opened Mom's Restaurant in Cape Coral this summer.
And one reason, according to Mom's owner Heather Reagan, was because many Cape residents were actually making the drive to the beach for her from-scratch buttermilk biscuits and cinnamon rolls. Reagan opened Heavenly Biscuit in 2001, and sold it in 2012. She kept hearing from former patrons, and so opened her first Mom's Restaurant on the beach in July 2015.
In addition to signature biscuits and rolls, the breakfast-and-lunch eatery serves homemade entrees such as meatloaf, pulled pork sandwiches, breakfast platters, egg sandwiches, chicken salad and Cuban sandwiches.
Mom's took over the space that was most recently Heavenly Hoagies in the Big John's Plaza. It has eight seats and about 600 square feet in total for the dining area, open kitchen and small prep room in the back. Hours: 7 a.m.-noon Monday; 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday; closed Tuesday.

1239 Cape Coral Parkway E. * (239) 470-4705 *  On Facebook

Dim Sum and More

Fort Myers-based Ginger Bistro  has opened its second Lee County restaurant in the Shops at Surfside. Ginger Bistro is a popular Chinese and Hong Kong-style barbeque restaurant which also serves dim sum daily during lunch hours, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2366 Surfside Blvd. C-101 * 239-558-8865 * Ginger Bistro

Eight-Foot Brewing Hosting VegFest and a Fall Festival

Eight-Foot Brewing is hosting two events in November to raise funds and awareness for two local nonprofits while patrons raise their pints.
VegFest, a vegan gathering, will feature vegan vendors with food, drinks and art on Nov. 4, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ten percent of proceeds will benefit aplantbaseddiet.org, in support of healthy eating and lifestyles. Find out more: VegFest
The brewery's Fall Festival will benefit the Cape Coral-based Family Initiative, Inc., which provides programming and support to children on the autism spectrum and their parents. The Fall Festival takes place on Nov. 10, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., and will feature multiple fall beer releases, food specials and live music. Find out more:Fall Festival 
Yo Ho, An Award-Winning Rum

For the third consecutive year, Wicked Dolphin has been named by USA Today as Top Craft Rum Distillery in the United States. "It's a great privilege for us to have been nominated and a great honor to win this title," said Wicked Dolphin Distillery President JoAnn Elardo.

Wicked Dolphin has garnered international and national awards since it began in Cape Coral in 2012.
131 SW 3rd Place * (239) 242-5244 * Wicked Dolphin
Take the Regional Economic Research Institute Business Climate Survey

It's time again for the Lee County Business Climate Survey, which is conducted quarterly by the Horizon Council and Florida Gulf Coast University's Lutgert College of Business.

Since 2012, the Business Climate Survey has highlighted the concerns and opinions of Lee County business owners and executives regarding the local economy and expectations about the future. The data is collected and analyzed by the FGCU-based Regional Economic Research Institute.
Taking the survey typically takes less than five minutes and your responses will be kept confidential, with only aggregate summaries being reported. In addition to standard questions tracked over time, this particular survey includes questions pertaining to the economic effects of red tide and blue-green algae and the role of county government in the regional economy, among other topics.

The institute sends an electronic copy of the completed report, typically 10 days following the survey period. It will be sent to respondents who provide their email address at the end of the survey. 

The deadline to participate in the survey is midnight on Friday, Oct. 26. Take it here: Regional Outlook Survey