DEMAND OUTPACING SUPPLY FOR REAL ESTATE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
Hallucinogenic best describes a real estate market that feels very trippy because of the fear, flight and herd mentality triggered by the pandemic said LSI Companies founder and CEO Randy Thibault, who spoke this week during the Market Trends of Southwest Florida virtual event. People from major cities are heading in herds to Southwest Florida for sunshine, clean air and dining out, Thibault said, noting that they are snapping up properties in all price points. Lack of a state income tax in Florida and 3% interest rates have helped fuel the fire, he said. “Demand has outpaced supply,” he says. “Literally, you may have to take a number to get a new home.” More than half of the region’s new single-family and multifamily home permits were in Lee County. The more than 18,000 residential building permits issued in 2020 in Southwest Florida has not been seen since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2006, LSI Companies reports. “We know this trip won’t last forever,” Thibault says.
Video courtesy of WINK News
CAPE CORAL HIRES FIRM TO SURVEY RESIDENTS ABOUT QUALITY OF LIFE
Cape Coral hired a firm to survey more than 1,000 people, asking them “How can the city improve? What’s missing? What are we doing well?” According to the results, the top three opportunities for the city to build on are higher-quality amenities like retail shops, aspiring to a higher standard of living and further economic development, which would bring those amenities. The survey also says the top weakness of the city is water quality, followed by local traffic infrastructure and above-ground electrical lines. One goal is to create more commercial space in the city so that people who live there can work there. The city plans to bring in a team from the Urban Land Institute to conduct research that will ultimately help Cape Coral figure out how to accomplish its goals. That is expected to cost about $135,000, WINK News reports.
COLLIER COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION TRAINING, HIRING SUMMER LIFEGUARDS
Becoming a certified lifeguard with the Collier County Parks & Recreation Division offers a summer job that involves the water, working with great people and helping others. Sign up online or in-person at any Collier County community park. To qualify, applicants must be at least 15 years old, pass prerequisites on the first day of training and be able to swim. Participants must attend all classes (30-36 hours) and pass all tests at the end of the training to achieve the Lifeguard/First-Aid/CPR/AED Certification. The certification is not guaranteed at the end of the class. Lifeguard training will be held in March and April at the Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes Community Park Aquatic Facility and the Golden Gate Community Park Aquatic Facility. New hires will be assigned a primary location but may be reassigned to work at other aquatic facilities as needed. For training session dates, times and locations, call 239-252-6125 or click here.
STUDIO+ SELECTED BY BABCOCK RANCH TO DESIGN CHARLOTTE COUNTY’S FIRST DESIGNATED HURRICANE SHELTER
Studio+ has been selected to design the new SWFL Regional Emergency Shelter for the Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District. The firm will partner with DeAngelis Diamond, who will serve as the general contractor and leader of the design-build project. The Studio+/DeAngelis Diamond team has worked with Babcock Ranch in the past, including the design and construction of the K-8 Babcock Neighborhood School, which began serving students in fall 2018. The new, 40,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility will provide year-round benefits to the Babcock Ranch community, along with a safe and convenient location for a shelter. The building will also serve as the cafeteria, theater, and auditorium for the Babcock Neighborhood School campus. The estimated completion date is summer 2022.
LEE COUNTY TOURISM DIRECTOR ‘BULLISH’ ABOUT SUMMER 2021
Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), looks to the summer of 2021 with optimism, she told members at the March 10 virtual business meeting of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. “I’m very bullish on the summer of 2021,” she said. “We are going to have a bang-up summer. We don’t know what we are going to do with all the people who will be coming. We are expecting that much demand.” The VCB is targeting new summer drive and fly markets based on research indicating tourism trends. Jacksonville; Charlotte, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee have strengthened as drive markets with COVID-19, the VCB reports. New target fly markets include Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Lexington, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; South Bend, Indiana; and Toledo, Ohio. Statistics also show a strengthening of visitor numbers from the Northwest, southern California, and Denver, thanks to new airline flights.
SUFFOLK PLEDGES TO INCREASE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION AND STEM
Boston-based Suffolk, which has an office Estero, has unveiled Rebuild the Ratio, a commitment dedicated to increasing visibility and career opportunities for women and girls in the construction and STEM industries, where there is a great disparity between the representation of men and women, the company reports. With the launch of Rebuild the Ratio, Suffolk pledges to increase the percentage of women employed by Suffolk by 10% over 10 years, which will boost the percentage of women employees to near 40%
SCCF, CONSERVANCY OF SWFL PARTNER IN HIRING WATER ANALYST
To further a commitment to regional water quality and Everglades restoration through a unified front, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida have partnered to hire a hydrological modeler. Dr. Paul Julian on March 16 will begin working as a hydrological modeler for SCCF and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The goal of this partnership is to address a need for modeling expertise and data analysis in Southwest Florida. Work products will be shared between the nonprofits, who have led conservation efforts in Lee and Collier Counties for more than five decades. For the past ten years, Julian worked as the Everglades Technical Lead for the Florida Department of Environment Protection (FDEP). Julian has a Master of Science degree in environmental science from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Ph.D. in soil and water science from the University of Florida, which he earned while employed with FDEP.
BETTER BUILDINGS INC. COMPLETES EVERGLADES FARM EQUIPMENT EXPANSION
Better Buildings Inc. (BBI) has completed Everglades Farm Equipment — a John Deere dealer off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and I-75 in Fort Myers. As a full-service general contractor, BBI built an 11,520-square-foot on-site storage facility to house the company’s new and used equipment as well as parts, sod, rock, mulch, sand and soil. Additionally, BBI enclosed an existing shop bay and added a 3,600-square-foot steel extension to that tractor and farm equipment repair shop. BBI’s scope of work included all utilities, such as new water lines and lush landscaping, as well as design consultation services for the new steel buildings.
DENNIS GOODMAN PHOTOGRAPHY AND CLICKING WITH KRISTEN MOVE TO DOWNTOWN NAPLES
Dennis and Kristen Goodman are on the move. The couple and their two businesses, Dennis Goodman Photography & Printing and Clicking with Kristen, have relocated from North Naples to 941 Fourth Ave. N. in the downtown Naples Design District. Goodman, an established local photographer, offers fine art photography as well as large format printing for clients, artists and other photographers. Kristen Goodman offers photo-organizing for printed and digital photos, scanning, photo restoration, video and slide conversion. At their studio, they produce top-of-the-line photography, canvas, and giclée prints, as well as provide commercial-grade scanning and custom framing. The gallery also specializes in commissioned commercial art printing for interior designers, corporations, hotels, hospitals and country clubs. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and Saturday by appointment.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR NEXT LEADERSHIP SWFL CLASS
Applications are open here until 5 p.m. on March 26 for the next class of Leadership SWFL. Leadership SWFL exists to fast-track their regional understanding and connect with the professionals and organizations that make Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties work. Nine full-day class sessions and an overnight retreat for the program will run from May through December. Sessions include special tours and in-depth discussions on the topics of crime and justice, economic development, education and the workforce, environment, government, healthcare, infrastructure, media and tourism. This will be the 23rd class of Leadership SWFL. Graduates of this program join an alumni network of more than 350 individuals from a wide variety of industries. Contact Dawn Brewer at SWFL Inc. for more information at Dawn@SWFLinc.com.
DIGITAL LEAD MANAGEMENT STARTUP EXPERIENCES HIGH GROWTH AFTER 18 MONTHS
Digital Lead Performance (DLP), a digital lead management service in the powersports industry, has experienced explosive growth since its start in May of 2019, the company states. Just shy of its two-year anniversary, the startup is now servicing 50 powersports dealers nationwide and employs 50 individuals. “Digital Lead Performance is a project born out of my own experience as a Harley-Davidson dealer for more than 30 years,” said Chief Executive Officer Scott Fischer. “I’m proud to see it creating great results for other dealers across the county but even more excited about what’s to come.” DLP has helped its dealer clients sell more than 4,600 motorcycles to date, resulting in more than $81 million in total revenue assisted. Dealers that partner with DLP are reported as achieving average results of 40-50% of leads converting to a set showroom appointment, 65-75% of appointments showing up, and 30-35% converting to a sale. The company’s future plans include moving into a new, larger facility to house its growing team and securing new technology partnerships to grow and improve its offerings to dealers.
NAMI Collier County’s community mental health programs still in need of support
NAMI Collier County, which had to cancel its annual fundraising luncheon, raised $63,000 from its annual walk and $79,690 from the Community Foundation’s Give Where You Live campaign. An additional $30,000 grant was awarded from Arthrex. Throughout the pandemic, the team at NAMI Collier County delivered more than 4,600 meals twice a month to Health Under Guided Systems (HUGS) families, which have been identified as having children with social, emotional or behavioral challenges, through the financial help of groups including Trinity-by-the-Cove. NAMI Collier County is continuing to make deliveries to as many as 100 families every other week. In addition, NAMI’s supportive housing program has been receiving 75 to 100 requests weekly for help with housing during the pandemic. For information on how to continue to support NAMI Collier County and its programs, click here.
Holocaust Museum in Naples to host virtual annual fundraiser on March 24
The Holocaust Museum & Janet G. and Harvey D. Cohen Education Center will host its annual Triumph fundraiser from 7-8 p.m. on March 24 via Zoom. The featured speaker for “Triumph of Memories and Hope for the Future” is Dr. Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO chair of genocide education. The program will include a demonstration of the foundation’s interactive virtual reality Holocaust Survivor interview series, “Dimensions in Testimony.” A curated experience, specially created by the museum for the event, will include inspirational music and interviews with Southwest Florida Holocaust survivors. Event sponsorships are available. Household viewing tickets are $125. For more information, click here or contact Susan Suarez at Susan@HMCEC.org or 239-263-9200. Proceeds raised benefit the museum’s education programs.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.