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A year ago this month, the unthinkable happened. The beachfront condo property in Surfside that collapsed June 24, 2021, has developers in coastal communities—where weather and exposure have taken their toll—proceeding with caution. Long-term safety in building construction is a fraught issue, especially considering the continuing rise in population across the state, resulting in increased demand for new housing … which definitely includes high-rises along the coast.

Lawmakers were called to action but failed to act. Since HB 7069 failed earlier this year, neglecting to address the need for a statewide mandate to inspect existing buildings and reform condominium regulations, contractors in Southwest Florida are working with homeowners and condominium associations to follow best practices moving forward. Read more about what the industry is facing, and what’s happening with 40- to 50-year-old structures that were built prior to current building codes, on page 38.

While housing continues to be a pressing issue on land, businesses face other persistent challenges at sea. The commercial fishing industry is an important part of the state economy, obviously, but it doesn’t operate in a vacuum. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Gulf Council have the task of balancing the interests of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, marine scientists and the species in the Gulf. Last month, NOAA Fisheries approved Amendment 53, which rebalances the allocation of red grouper away from commercial fishermen in favor of recreational fishermen. Now, commercial fishermen are allocated 59.3% of the total quota, while recreational fishermen are allocated 40.7%—which results in commercial fishermen losing out on 630,000 pounds of red grouper a year. Read more about the challenges this poses to our local fishing industry on page 46, and remember to ask your local grocer and restaurant server where your fish comes from. You might be surprised at the answer.

Local industries are always on our minds, and this month it’s in the best possible way: This issue of Gulfshore Business highlights the Best Places to Work in Southwest Florida. Sixteen companies made the inaugural cut, and we’re thrilled to share with you a few of each workplace’s secrets to keeping their employees happy and energized, as well as productive (page 60).

Next month, we’ll delve into the numbers from what was, somewhat remarkably, a banner Season for most area businesses. Until then, make the best of summer and the rainy season.

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