September 2019
September 2019 Newsletter
Please enjoy the September edition of EconomicLEE Speaking. We hope you discover something that will help your business grow and flourish.

EDO Staff
Lee County Ranks fifth among U.S. Big Leaders in Third Annual Talent Attraction Scorecard
In the recently published third annual Talent Attraction Scorecard, a study by labor market data industry leader Emsi, Lee County ranks fifth among the big leaders for attracting and developing skilled workers. Counties are ranked using Emsi’s Talent Attraction Index criteria of drawing new residents, growing jobs and skilled workers, attracting young talent, and increasing educational attainment.
Seventeen of the top 50 counties (34%) are in Florida, led by Lee County at fifth and Palm Beach County at sixth. Overall, the 17 Florida counties are drawing new residents, growing jobs and skilled workers, attracting young talent and increasing educational attainment. Four counties in the Fort Myers and Tampa metro areas (Lee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco) rank in the top 10 for 2015-16 net migration.
Although these counties are gaining a retirement-aged population, they also are seeing strong workforce growth in Generation Z and millennials. Click here to download and view the report in its entirety.
Awards and Accolades

The Fort Myers metro area is 12th Top Place to Live in the US: Click here to learn more.
Florida ranked 6th best state in the nation to start a new business Read more here .

Lee County Opportunity Zones

Lee County Economic Development launched the region’s first Opportunity Zones website at . Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development in economically distressed communities where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. The Opportunity Zones incentive investment tool was established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The country now has more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones. In 2018, 15 census tracts throughout Lee County were designated as Opportunity Zones. These low-income census tracts are nominated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Please click the website here to learn more, including an overview with information about Opportunity Zones and a layout of Lee County’s zone profiles with in-depth information for Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Fort Myers, North Fort Myers and San Carlos.

NeoGenomics to Build State-of-the-Art Oncology Laboratory and Global Headquarters in Fort Myers 

NeoGenomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: NEO), a leading provider of cancer-focused genetic testing services, announced that it intends to build a leading-edge cancer diagnostics testing facility and new global business headquarters in Lee County.
The new facility, which will be located on a 14-acre parcel close to the intersection of Alico Road and Three Oaks Parkway, is expected to open in 2021. Importantly, the site is a short drive from the existing NeoGenomics footprint in Fort Myers and remains near Southwest Florida International Airport. 

The 150,000-square-foot laboratory and headquarters facility (with space for expansion if needed) will incorporate innovative technology to deliver comprehensive oncology testing for physicians and their patients spanning all available testing modalities including a state-of-the-art molecular lab with next-generation sequencing capabilities. The laboratory will also support clinical trials for new oncology therapeutics.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”) and Lee County have agreed to support NeoGenomics’ expansion to encourage the company’s growth of high-paying jobs in a “high-impact sector” of the local economy. 

Seagate to design and build its own 13,000-square-foot facility in Fort Myers

Full-service commercial and residential construction company Seagate Development Group has broken ground on its new headquarters at Interstate 75 and Alico Road. The two-story, 13,000 square-foot building will house the executive and general office staff. The company currently leases space in multiple buildings in the business park in the Gateway community of Fort Myers, which it formerly owned and currently manages.

Founded in 2015, Seagate specializes in new construction, custom renovations, interior design and management and leasing services. With full-time employment of 48, the company reported 2018 gross revenues of $62.8 million, a 28.7% increase over 2017.

News & Views
SecondMuse focuses on startup leaders

SecondMuse, a global agency collaborating with the Lee County Economic Development Office, the City of Fort Myers and our five-county region, has successfully launched a community-sourced incubator in Fort Myers alongside the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and in partnership with the City of Fort Myers. Based in the new Collaboratory, SecondMuse’s incubator focuses on developing businesses leaders, according to a statement. 

With offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Battle Creek, Mich., Albuquerque and Indonesia, SecondMuse specializes in building connected 21st century economies.

“The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is dedicated to bringing people together to solve issues and seize opportunities for the region,” says Southwest Florida Community Foundation CEO Sarah Owen in the statement. “Our partnership with SecondMuse reinforces this commitment as their unique approach to economic development is centered on community building.” 

Unlike incubators and accelerator programs that focus on building unicorn companies, SecondMuse’s work strengthens emergent economies. Its programs help startups grow by assisting in the development of local capital, markets, policy and regulation, infrastructure, support services, culture and history and human resources.

More information about SecondMuse is available at .  
Census Reveals Our Region is Growing

The numbers tell us that our region is growing, and it’s growing fast. Nearly 23,000 people moved to Lee and Collier counties in 2017 and 2018 — 16,221 to Lee and 6,711 to Collier — with the majority of those people coming to Southwest Florida from somewhere else in the country, new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates show.

In that one-year period, 15,950 people migrated to Lee and Collier counties domestically, meaning they came from somewhere else in the country, according to the census data. Another 6,982 moved to Lee and Collier from another country.

The influx of people from elsewhere easily offset a slight natural decrease in the population; there were more deaths than births between 2017 and 2018 in both Lee and Collier counties. Subtracting those deaths from the number of new residents, Lee’s and Collier’s combined population grew by 21,247 in that one-year period, according to the estimates released last week.

Since 2010, Lee County added 134,156 people to grow its population to 754,610, according to the estimates.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area’s 22% growth since 2010 was seventh highest in the country in that period, the Census Bureau reported.
Spotlight on ...
Bonita and Estero EDO – New name, new brand

The Bonita Springs – Estero Economic Development Council (EDC) launched new branding that complements its name change to South Lee EDC. The new name and brand was commemorated at an EDC Social which took place on July 10, 2019, at Florida Gulf Coast University. South Lee EDC’s key strategic priorities are quality of life, workforce development, and business retention and expansion. The EDC exists to support thoughtful growth in local communities, to help relocating companies successfully plant new roots, and to attract business and resource partners that make the region economically stable. 

South Lee EDC and the Lee County Economic Development Office (EDO) partner to provide resources to local businesses expanding in Lee County including technical assistance that will encourage investment in the community.

For more information, visit .
Save the Date

2019 Industry Appreciation Awards, presented by the Horizon Council

The annual celebration of local businesses and their contributions to the community is presented by the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation, and the Lee County Economic Development Office.

Date:                    Friday, October 25, 2019
Location:             Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort, Bonita Springs
Time:                    Networking 10:30 a.m.; lunch begins 11:30 a.m. 

To register, click here.
Contact Us

Lee County Economic Development
2201 2nd Street, Suite 500
Fort Myers, FL 33901

p: 239.533.6800