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Cape Coral named among top growth spots in U.S.

City comes in at No. 5 for population increase from 2010-20; business continues to boom

By CJ HADDAD - | Oct 7, 2021

Pending projects map for Pine Island Road. City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office

Cape Coral’s Economic Development Office continues to report booming growth throughout the city, both in terms of new single and multi-family homes, as well as businesses coming in.

The EDO’s most recent newsletter states that the Cape was recently ranked fifth in the U.S. for mid-sized cities (100,000+ population) with the highest growth rates occurring between 2010-20. In that timeframe Cape Coral experienced a 30% increase in population — not a surprising figure when you consider that each month the city processes approximately 400 single-family permits.

“Overall, we are very excited with the growth which is taking place across the city,” said EDO Manager Ricardo Noguera. “The surge in multi-family, medical office and mixed-use developments is astounding. For years, the city has witnessed steady construction of single-family and duplex units. This in turn has led to the desire from large developers from Miami and out of state such as North Dakota, New York and Chicago to expand their investments in the Cape.”

Noguera added that while many may feel that city is only 50% built out, that could be a misleading variable due to most of the undeveloped land being zoned for single-family development.

“Therefore, there are far fewer sites across the city to accommodate clustered mixed-use, office and light industrial product,” he said. “When developers reach out to our Economic Development team, we encourage them to look at larger sites and/or consolidate them to support mixed-use developments where a mix of retail, restaurants and office can be supported on the same site as multi-family. This is smart growth and better utilizes the land we have remaining.”

Another area of growth that is starting to bud in the Cape pertains to medical office space.

“Medical office providers from Fort Myers and Naples have recently discovered that Southwest Florida’s largest community, Cape Coral, is underserved with medical office uses — and they’re coming,” Noguera said. “We will continue to see more medical offices in the Cape to better serve the 200,000-plus residents who call this town home. This will in turn reduce the need for our residents to travel across the bridges for medical services. Plus, better paying jobs will be created here and our market will move toward becoming more balanced with a mix of office, light industry, hospitality and retail.”

EDO Pine Island Road – Development Update

EDO officials say construction and development plans remain steady as Pine Island Road continues to draw significant economic growth. More than 50,000 cars travel Pine Island Road each day and provides easy access to I-75, making it an ideal area for supply chain companies seeking to locate near large populations and a readily available workforce.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s under construction and in the works:

– Encompass Rehabilitation Hotel – Construction of Phase I, located at the southwest corner of Pondella Road and Pine Island Road, continues with a planned opening in 2022.

– Cape Coral Commons – Construction of the 50,000-square-foot retail center located at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and Del Prado Boulevard continues.

– Pine Island Park – Construction of the retail and warehouse flex development continues. It’s located just west of Mel’s Diner on the north side of Pine Island Road. The first 20,000-square -foot warehouse flex building is expected to be completed in late 2022.

– Fawcett Emergency Medical Clinic – Crews have recently broken ground at the site of this medical clinic located just west of Santa Barbara Boulevard along the south side of Pine Island Road. Project completion is scheduled for mid-2022.

– Palms Multi-Family Development – Construction is under way on this 280-unit multifamily development located just west of Fox 4 News (at Nicholas Parkway) along Pine Island Road.

– Farmer Joe’s Market – Construction continues on the 50,000-square-foot market scheduled to open in early 2022. It is located east of Chiquita Boulevard on the north side of Pine Island Road.

“We are very excited about the arrival of Farmer Joe’s Market and what it will do to open up the northwest Cape to residents from elsewhere across the city,” Noguera said. “Plus, it will serve to spread out the traffic so it is not solely focused in the southern and eastern parts of town.”

– Warehouse Flex Building – Located immediately north of Farmer Joe’s is a 9,000-square -foot warehouse flex building nearing completion and two additional buildings in the works.

Projects in Permitting:

– Island Pearl Mixed-Use Development – A planned mixed-use project is scheduled to break ground later this year at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and Burnt Store Road.

– Victory Park Mixed-Use Development – A planned mixed-use project is scheduled to break ground in 2022 along Northeast 24th Avenue just north of Diplomat Parkway and immediately west of the Veterans Medical

– ABC Liquors – A new retail store should break ground at the northeast quadrant of Pine Island Road and Chiquita Boulevard.

South Cape Development Update:

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved its first vertical mixed-use development in several years on Aug. 3. A second mixed-use development is to be considered by the CRA for a Project Assistance Agreement later this year.

“The South Cape is also very hot right now,” Noguera said. “We expect Cove at 47th to break ground early 2022 and by the fall, Bimini Square will break ground. The exciting aspect of Bimini Square is that they have joined forces with Lee Health to add a 47,000-square-foot medical office space to the South Cape, which is in need of a downtown employment generator. Once Lee Health opens and employs in excess of 100 workers and draws hundreds of visitors daily, those retailers in the South Cape will witness an increased customer base. Ultimately, the goal here is to convert the South Cape from a predominantly evening restaurant and nightclub market to an 18-hour community with hundreds of new residents, restaurants and medical office uses.”

Here’s a brief snapshot of those projects:

– Cove on the 47th – This project replaces the former “Village Square” mixed-use development which was in the works for more than a decade. An Indianapolis-based developer who is highly experienced in developing urban mixed-use development projects has secured the property and plans to break ground on the $66 million dollar development in early 2022. The project should be ready for occupancy beginning late spring 2023. The project consists of approximately 290 apartment units, consisting of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units; 19,000 square feet of restaurant space including a rooftop bar, and a 525-space parking structure with 125 spaces reserved for the public on the two lower levels of the garage.

– Bimini Square – The CRA is expected to consider a Project Assistance Agreement later this year for the Bimini Square mixed-use development. The project is planned to be located on the west side of Bimini Basin and is expected to consist of approximately 186 apartment units, 47,000 square feet medical office space, 2,800 square feet of ground floor commercial space along Cape Coral Parkway, a waterfront restaurant and docks, and a 550-plus space parking structure with more than 100 spaces reserved for the public.

– Madison Square Senior Affordable Development – Located just east of Coronado Parkway the 82-unit development is under construction along Miramar Street.

Upcoming Projects :

– A $20 million-plus sewer upgrade project to support vertical development throughout the CRA. It is currently in the design stage and expected to break ground by Spring 2022

Staff is in discussions with several developers and property owners to facilitate mixed-use developments in an effort to create more parking, officials said.

Noguera added, “There are several projects in the pipeline that I’m not at liberty to share just yet, but think about ‘smart growth’ and watch activities to take place along Pine Island Road from Chiquita Boulevard to Burnt Store Road in 2022.”

For a full look at projects and opportunities in Cape Coral, visit https://www.capecoral.gov/edo/pine_island_road_corridor_experiencing_a_building_boom.php

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj