Cape Coral Economic and Business Development Manager Sharon Woodberry provided updates to projects in different development stages during her quarterly report for fiscal year 2023 at Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
Projects in the permitting stage included the Shops at Del Mar retail center, 327 SW 10th Place, which will consist of four single-story buildings with more than 370 feet of frontage on the Pine Island Road corridor. A groundbreaking is expected to occur this quarter with an 18-month construction timeline.
Lake Shadroe Resort & Marina, a seven-story, 48-unit short-term vacation rental project, is projected to break ground in the third quarter of 2024 at 218 Burnt Store Road and is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.
“Council did approve an agreement to grant public access to that site back in September,” Woodberry said. “That was one of the challenges that they were working through to move forward.”
A new project Woodberry highlighted was an Outback Steakhouse restaurant at 2329 Skyline Blvd., which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.
As for a project that recently broke ground last week, Bimini Square is expected to be completed in fall of 2025.
“Obviously lots of excitement associated with that in terms of the project itself, but also what we believe will contribute to continuing momentum in the South Cape,” Woodberry said.
Bimini Square is on a 5.6-acre site at 338 Palmetto Drive and Cape Coral Parkway East, and will be comprised of a waterfront restaurant, 48,000 square feet of retail and professional space, 218 premium apartments, a 25-slip boat dock and a 500-space public parking garage.
Along with project updates, a recap of a 30-day survey conducted as part of the economic development strategic plan was presented.
Of the 1,800 participants, 70% have been residents of the city for more than five years. Business and commerce, as well as health care facilities were ranked the highest by participants in terms of what they believe the city should be prioritizing for development during the next decade.
The unemployment rate in the city sits at 3.1% as of August, remaining steady since June’s 3% rate. As for the year-over-year unemployment rate, the city experienced a slight uptick from 2.7% in August 2022, but is still on par with unemployment rates in the state.
Woodberry said a way to strengthen the economic development team is by hiring new staff, which will enable the city to better serve existing businesses, enhance capacity for assisting with expanding businesses and be more proactive in attracting new businesses to the city.
The newest member of the economic development team is Claudia Miller, who was recently hired as a Business Recruitment/Retention Specialist for the city. A job posting for a third staff member for the same position received 22 applicants and interviews are expected to begin soon.