By Gary Tasman

Although it may seem as though time has stood still since early March when the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our region, Southwest Florida has continued to grow. In fact, data from AtoZ Database indicates that nearly 15,000 people have made Southwest Florida their permanent or primary home in the last six months, representing close to 10,000 households.

Many of these new residents come via our traditional migration paths. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that about 40% of our area’s newcomers hail from New England, New York, New Jersey, and the upper Midwest. Our sunny and mild winters have been a magnet for transplants from these regions for decades.

More surprising, however, is the number of families moving to our region from other parts of the Sunshine State. A full 20% of Southwest Florida’s newest residents hail from areas like Tampa, Orlando, and the state’s bustling east coast. And while northerners move to Southwest Florida for sunshine, fellow Floridians are now flocking to our area for another reason: opportunity.

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“For decades, the blessing and curse of Southwest Florida has been its distinction as a vacation paradise,” explains Shawn Stoneburner of Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property Southwest Florida. Tourism and hospitality have been our region’s major economic drivers since the mid-1900s. In good years, the steady flow of tourists to Southwest Florida have kept taxes low and the quality of life high. In other years, our dependence on tourism and hospitality have left us vulnerable as hurricanes, the BP oil spill, and other external factors have stemmed the flow of tourists to our coastal paradise and damaged our region’s economy.

Diversifying our economy has been a top priority for our area’s leaders, and that vision for a more varied economy is finally becoming a reality. Today, Southwest Florida is becoming a hotspot for technology, manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Powerhouses Arthrex, NeoGenomics, Gartner, and Alta Resources have expanded their considerable footprints in our area by purchasing property, building facilities and hiring employees, making the region more desirable for other companies to do the same.

Growth like this begets more growth, creating a sustainable cycle of economic activity and opportunity. “As businesses move to our area, they lure employees from other parts of the state and across the country,” says Stoneburner. “This influx of new residents creates demand for schools, medical facilities, grocery stores, and other service providers. The construction industry and commercial property owners benefit, and the cycle continues.”

Our area will soon see another boost, thanks to the Edison Awards, an international program that honors innovation and brings together hundreds of world-class thought leaders from around the globe for a conference, showcase, and awards program. Fort Myers will be the home of the Edison Awards for at least the next three years, bringing unprecedented exposure to our region. Many of the world’s brightest business minds will converge upon Southwest Florida and will surely see the opportunities that our region presents.

Our region’s growth, diversification, and bright future are of great importance to commercial property owners. As new residents flock to Southwest Florida, new businesses are following suit, and their planners are seeking land and existing buildings to stake a claim in Southwest Florida. In turn, the intrinsic value of your property increases. If you own commercial property in our region, now is a great time to sell.

If you own a commercial property and want to understand the value it holds, Gary Tasman and Shawn Stoneburner of Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property Southwest Florida are your go-to team. Their extensive knowledge of Southwest Florida, along with best-in-class data and evidence-based insights, will help position your property to sell for maximum value in minimum time.

The landscape of Southwest Florida is changing. Are you ready for it? Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property Southwest Florida wants to help you take advantage of this opportunity. Reach us using the form below.

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