By: Butch Swank
I received the information below from John Talmage, head of the Lee County Economic Development office. Our Southwest Florida Business Alliance had a luncheon recently, and John was our keynote speaker. He went into great detail about the abundance of development, and literally, the seventy business owners and managers at the luncheon didn’t want to leave because there was so much great news to hear. So, please read below, and I hope this news makes your day like it did mine!
Lehigh Acres has seen an increased level of activity over the last three years. There are 38 active developments within the Lehigh Acres Community Planning district, which together represent an upcoming 2,645,134 commercial sq. ft., 438,400 industrial sq. ft., and 8,012 residential units. There have been approximately 1,500 new residential structure permits issued within the last six months to begin construction in Lehigh Acres.
NOTABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PIPELINE: SR 82 & BLACKSTONE CORPORATE PARK
Planning of 576,400 SF of commercial and 350,000 SF of industrial space. Tibbetts Lumber Co. Truss Plant Expansion: Six lots totaling 8.5+ acres to allow for truss assembly/storage expansion. Savannah Lakes Expansion: Mixed-use planned development approved for 1,468 single-family residential units and 100,000 SF of commercial frontage along Homestead Road S. Sunniland Town Center: Mixed-use planned development approved for remaining 810 single-family residential units and 100,000 SF of commercial space.
Increased commercial activity will benefit from the rapid pace of residential infill development occurring within the Lehigh Planning District. New multi-family investments in the area represent over 1/3 of all new housing units being planned in Lehigh Acres. They are expected to transform the area from a historic bedroom community with sparse small-scale retail into a larger commercial hub with increased employment opportunities, significant retail expansion, and a higher presence of professional services being offered.
The early result of this growth is witnessed by the rapid development of many small-scale commercial additions within the last two years, such as a new Synovus Bank, Panda Express, Waffle House, Dollar General, Starbucks, Aspen Dental, Rick Johnson Auto, three new Self-Storage Facilities, and more. Five new shopping plazas can be found in various stages of planning, attempting to consolidate lots for future commercial development along major roads within the center of this large community.
Local services are also being expanded, with Key Foods and El Corazon Supermarket recently opening along Lee Blvd and Gunnery Road. Lee County has purchased space along Homestead Road to build office space for various government services. Lee Tran is adding a Park & Ride Facility, and local parks are seeing expansion with new sporting facilities and lands purchased. The Lee County School District is planning on adding a new technical college in Lehigh Acres, joining the Donna J. Beasly Technical Academy to provide adult education opportunities.
The Alico Road Extension Capital Road Project, connecting Alico Road to Sunshine Blvd., began in 2022 with a five-year completion date. The 6,600+ acre Kingston Development to the immediate South of Lehigh Acres is also expected to completely change the eastern landscape of the county, with the project planning to build a major arterial road connecting State Road 82 to Corkscrew Road. The aim of these projects is to connect residents to major employment centers, increase capacity for commercial construction located servicing Lehigh Acres, and address commuter times for the rapidly growing community.
To get involved, contact the SWFL Business Alliance at 239-470-5611 or go online at www.swflbusinessalliance.com