Dominique Cantelme, Business Facilities — March 6, 2019
PORT CHARLOTTE — Florida has long been the world’s premier gateway to space, the undisputed air traffic hub of the Americas, a major hub for flight training and MRO and home to leading manufacturers of all types of aircraft and aircraft components. As a result, Florida has a rich supply chain and talent pool benefiting industry businesses. It’s no wonder industry leaders including Boeing, Embraer, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and so many more have significant operations in the Sunshine State.
Business and government leaders in Charlotte County, Florida are bullish about the community’s economic future. In two years, the county has generated an unprecedented boom in development.
Western Michigan University created a Florida footprint for its College of Aviation. It’s one of the premier programs in the U.S. for pilot and aviation mechanic training. MetalCraft Marine, a leader in jet-engine propelled first responder boats, chose Charlotte County for a new U.S. location to build boats from scratch and water-test them on a mile-long pond adjacent to Interstate Airport Park. After a nationwide search, Allegiant Travel Company chose Charlotte Harbor as the setting for Sunseeker Resort, the largest hotel-condo resort on the Gulf Coast. The $420 million first phase includes 500+ resort rooms, 180 condo units, 40,000 square feet of meeting space and themed restaurants and bars, plus a public boardwalk adjacent to the Harbor. Babcock Ranch is drawing national attention as America’s first community fully powered by solar energy. And Lost Lagoon, the investment group behind Volcano Bay in Orlando and Atlantis in the Bahamas, is on track to create a $132 million sports and entertainment district in Murdock Village with a planned water park, five hotels, retail center and amphitheater.
Why are these companies choosing new corporate homes in this picturesque corner of Southwest Florida? Charlotte County offers endless blue water and year-round sunny skies, with nationally rated golfing, sailing and tarpon fishing. Within 25 miles, companies can draw from a workforce that’s 250,000 strong, with customized training readily available.
Charlotte County’s economic development boom is led by Lucienne Pears, one of the Top 50 economic development directors in North America for two consecutive years. Ms. Pears ensures that companies have ready access to inexpensive land, low local taxes, expedited permitting, a top-flight state tax structure and more.