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Ordinance lays foundation for economic growth

By Staff | Aug 27, 2011

Cape Coral City Council is scheduled to consider for the first time on Monday a comprehensive plan amendment that would push the city’s business growth efforts another step forward.

Ordinance 12-11 would amend the economic development portion of the plan by specifically adding policy that would encourage growth around the Veteran’s Administration Clinic now under construction on a 30-acre site on Diplomat Parkway East at Corbett Road across from Hope Hospice.

Policy 2.7 would formalize the city’s efforts to promote development in the area sounding the clinic, which officials have designated as the “Veterans Investment Zone.”

The policy would allow for such things as the creation and implementation of a marketing plan designed to attract compatible businesses.

The ordinance also would lay the groundwork for the consideration of changes to the city’s “regulatory framework” as well as a possible incentives plan for development in this area.

We think this is a good idea and, given ready support for the Veterans Investment Zone or “VIZ” concept, think it likely that council is already on board with this one.

As well they should be.

Construction is nearly complete on the 222,000-square-foot outpatient surgical clinic scheduled to open next year.

The $131 million facility ($53 million for the building alone) will make a variety of care-related services available to the estimated 202,000 veterans in the five-county region it is designed to serve.

In addition, a new $14.5 million Army Reserve Center is expected to be built on 15 acres on Corbett Road adjacent to the new clinic. Pending some additional approvals, the planned facility is projected for completion in 2013.

These two projects have already generated business interest that would mean jobs for area residents and additional revenue for city coffers.

Plans for “Patriot Plaza,” a 220,000-square-foot mixed-use facility eyed for the Veterans Investment Zone, has already come before council, which has approved a set of incentives to be paid over 15 years provided certain objectives are met.

Plan projections for the project call for 154,000 square feet of medical office/clinic/rehab/wellness components; 38,000 square feet of retail; and 30,000 square feet of hotel space or approximately 110 rooms.

It’s good to see the city continuing its efforts for this area. Done right, the VIZ concept should foster only good things for the Cape.

We urge residents to let their city reps know the community supports such an initiative. And when this comes back to council for a formal vote, we recommend approval.

– Breeze editorial