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Cape Coral sees economic growth — especially along Pine Island Corridor

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 9, 2020


Economic development in the Cape continues despite the impact the pandemic has had on existing businesses — especially along the Pine Island Corridor.

Over the course of this year and expanding in to 2021, Cape Coral’s Pine Island Road will witness more than $300 million in private developments, according to officials.

“Despite the pandemic, the Cape’s Pine Island Road Corridor continues to be one of the fastest growing development areas in Southwest Florida,” Ricardo Noguera, Economic Development manager in the EDO’s September newsletter. “With hundreds of millions of investments under construction or in permitting, the corridor still has ample sites to support supply chain, industrial flex, office and mixed-use developments. Easy access to Interstate 75 makes this area ideal for supply chain companies seeking to locate near large populations and a readily available workforce.”

As Cape Coral continues to evolve, development along the Pine Island Road corridor never stops.

Quickly becoming the center of the city’s “booming growth,” Pine Island Road will soon become home to top-of-the-line shopping, office space, and of course, the go-to place to find your next vehicle.

A 109-room Fairfield Inn by Marriott is scheduled for completion by November. The same developer, Continental Properties out of Wisconsin, also is opening a 292-unit multi-family development in late 2021.

Cape Coral Commons, a $20 million mixed-use development is slated for the corner of Del Prado Boulevard and Pine Island Road, where the old Circle K was located.

Thompson Thrift Retails Group (TTRG), a business unit of Indianapolis-based Thompson Thrift, purchased the 13 acres with plans to construct approximately 50,000 square-feet of single-level, multi-tenant retails space.

Some names you can expect to see at the location include First Watch, Tire Kingdom, Firehouse Subs and Encore Nails.

Developers believe the rapid growth of Cape Coral, combined with a location that sees more than 30,000 cars traveling past each day, makes this a great opportunity.

The “spine of the Cape” is an important part of getting the commercial tax base into double digits, said EDO Business Recruitment/Retention Specialist, Nita Whaley. Currently, around 8 percent of the city has been developed with a “commercial” tag. The EDO hopes to hit the double digits in three to five years.

One of the area’s largest recent land sale deals also took place earlier this year when Highway 17 Industrial LLC purchased the 53.71 acres at 2707-2801 Pine Island Road for $2.5 million. SFI Eagle Land LLC was the seller in the transaction.

Future plans for the site have not been announced at this time.

The site was purchased on a 1031 Exchange, meaning it will be at least a year until work can begin.

There also is an Enterprise Car Rental facility under construction about a half mile east of Santa Barbara Blvd. Heading further west, Tractor Supply has broken ground on a new retail store just west of Chiquita Boulevard and across from the German American Club.

According to the EDO’s newsletter, an independently owned farmers market is scheduled to break ground in early 2021 with a 48,000-square-foot market across from Aldi’s just east of Chiquita Boulevard. Island Pearl is also in the planning stage at the northwest corner of Pine Island Road and Burnt Store Road.

“The vast majority of lands available for new development are either located west of Chiquita Blvd to Burnt Store Road or east of Northeast 24th Avenue,” according to the EDO. “With less than 300 acres of undeveloped sites remaining, the City’s Economic Development Team is eager to work with developers seeking to deliver industrial flex, supply chain industry, office, mixed-use and retail centers to the Corridor.”

Chiquita Apartment Investors, LLC recently purchased a 20-acre site at 3514 Chiquita Blvd. S. in the Cape from Newcom Real Properties, LLC for $4,000,000.

According to the seller, the buyer plans to address multi-family needs by converting the unimproved parcel to a Class-A apartment complex with nearly 320 units. Development is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2021, with an estimated delivery of third quarter 2022.

“This new project will be a great addition for the Cape Coral community,” said LandQwest Land Division Director, Michael Price, ALC. “The City has a big need for new housing, as the demand for residency increases. We are excited to see this new project take shape”

Noguera was pleased with the purchase as well and expects future developments in the area going forward.

“Developers of multi-family and mixed-use projects continue to be drawn to the Cape from outside of Florida, including New York, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and others,” Noguera said. “With a population about to eclipse 200,000 by the end of this year and growing at a clip of more than 2 percent annually, more developers are drawn to the Cape. The Cape at Savona with 319 units near this planned development along Chiquita Boulevard has done surprisingly well during these challenging economic times. We expect the same for this Chiquita Development as well. With these beautifully manicured developments, fellow employers continue to expand — such as Mercola and Insite Managed Solutions. We expect these trends to continue into 2021.”

–Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj