Orlando Economic Partnership Efforts Drive Strong Results in Orlando Business Development

The Orlando Economic Partnership begins the 2017-2018 fiscal year on strong ground after seeing significant results in the area of Orlando Business Development. The Partnership recorded 27 company project wins in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2017 stimulating more than $770 million in capital investments and 4,271 projected new jobs. Company relocations and expansions created 2.4 million square feet of newly constructed space added to the region.

“The results in capital investment are the strongest in our entire history of doing economic development in the region and we saw the second strongest results in the amount of square footage occupied by the companies we worked with,” said President and CEO Tim Giuliani. “We are extremely proud of the work of our staff, our board of directors, investors and partners who all played an important role in attaining these outstanding results.”

The Partnership’s work is focused on building broad-based prosperity in the region by not only helping companies expand but assisting them in the creation of jobs that offer a path to success for employees. This can include positions that provide compensation packages with tuition reimbursement, health insurance and career training.

Of the 27 project wins, 19 were new-to-market companies and eight were expansions of existing companies in Orlando Business Development. Here are some project highlights in the Partnership’s targeted industries:

  • Arrow Sky Media LLC, a digital technology firm, relocated its headquarters from Nashville to Orlando. The company plans to create 114 new, high-wage jobs and make a $2.9 million capital investment over the next three years. The company will become an anchor tenant in downtown Orlando’s Creative Village.
  • Constant Aviation, a company that specializes in airframe and engine maintenance, major repairs, avionics, interior refurbishment, paint, parts distribution and accessory services, is locating in Seminole County adding 75 new jobs and making a capital investment of $1.9 million in the region.
  • Holiday Retirement relocated its headquarters from Oregon to the Orlando region creating 157 new, high-wage jobs. Holiday Retirement operates more than 300 retirement home communities across the U.S.
  • KPMG LLC is building a 55-acre, 800,000-square-foot learning, development, and innovation facility in Lake Nona in the City of Orlando. KPMG expects to create 80 new, high wage jobs in Orlando and make a $430 million capital investment – the company’s largest capital investment ever.

Financial incentives were approved for 11 projects (less than half) of the companies assisted by the Partnership. The remaining companies received expedited permitting and workforce hiring assistance. Among them was Amazon.com, Inc., which will open a new fulfillment center in Orlando Business Development creating 1,500 new, full-time jobs. The 850,000 square-foot fulfillment center will feature Amazon Robotics. The site, located in Lake Nona, is under construction and will open in 2018.

Amazon offers a benefits package with the potential to improve employees’ career paths by offering 95 percent tuition reimbursement upfront for its team members to go to college and a comprehensive health plan. “This is an example of a company contributing to the region’s broad-based prosperity by offering exceptional entry-level opportunities that offer future growth for an employee,” said Sean DeMartino, the Partnership’s Co-Chair (FY ’16-’17).

The region’s diverse workforce, talent pipeline, strong infrastructure, collaborative approach to community building, and the ease and low cost of doing business were among the top factors cited by company executives who chose Orlando.

“I think we can credit the Partnership’s award-winning regional business brand, “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.” for our results,” said Co-Chair Robert Utsey. “Our message that Orlando is a great place to do business is being heard by executives around the nation and the world.”

Thank you: Orlando Economic Development Commission

Join Evelyn Pilchick For The Childrens Miracle Trail Ride November 11th


Join Evelyn Pilchick for the Childrens Miracle Trail Ride benefiting Children’s Miracle Network on November 11th. This will be Evelyn’s 5th year of participating!

The funds raised will help Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children purchase Medical Equipment, Fund Research, pay for uncompensated medical care, and provide advanced medical treatment.  Any donation to this awesome cause is very much appreciated!

The ride is on Saturday, November 11 at Lake X in Saint Cloud.

The Kenneth Kirchman Foundation is a charitable organization that owns a 10,426-acre ranch in St. Cloud, Florida, known as “Lake X,” for the purpose of educating the public (particularly children) about Florida’s ecology and wildlife and is the location for Childrens Miracle Trail Ride.  As the surrounding areas become increasingly populated and infringe on undeveloped areas in Florida, the public is losing familiarity with nature.  The Foundation seeks to address the problem of the public’s ever-increasing disengagement with nature by providing first-hand educational experiences to enhance public awareness, especially among children.

The Lake X Property is one of the most unique tracts of land in all of Florida and includes a 1,400 acre lake surrounded by pristine forests and unspoiled wetlands.  The property was originally purchased in the mid-1950’s by E.C. Kiekhaefer, founder of Mercury Marine Outboards. 

 Mr. Kiekhaefer wanted an added sense of security and anonymity to the property and as a result, named the property “Lake X.”  Ken Kirchman purchased the Lake X Property from Mr. Kiekhaefer in 1984. Having grown up in Florida on Lake Okeechobee, Mr. Kirchman knew the value and importance of preserving the natural beauty of Lake X and set a goal atypical of most landowners:  to keep Lake X the same as it was 100 years ago.

Please contact Evelyn Pilchick for more details or click here help with a donation.

Orlando is No. 1 City for Recreation for Second Year in a Row

For the second year in a row, Orlando ranks No. 1 city for recreation in Wallethub’s best cities for recreation list. San Diego, Las Vegas, Tampa and Atlanta followed behind, respectively, to complete the top 5. Based on the premise that staying active is good for your health AND your wallet, Wallethub compared 100 of the largest U.S. cities to determine the cities that best enable recreational activities. Cities were evaluated across four categories – cost of living, quality of parks, accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities and weather – using 44 key metrics, such as food festivals per capita, average fitness club fee and share of population with walkable park access.

With a bounty of performance arts centers, theatres and festivals, a rising foodie scene, a plethora of public parks as well as world-class teams and athletes, Orlando’s latest ranking as a city for recreation comes as no surprise to its many residents. In fact, in the heart of downtown Orlando resides one of the most iconic parks in the state: Lake Eola Park. Downtown residents can often be seen walking, running and biking around Lake Eola just inches from the commercial district of downtown Orlando.

“There’s so much to do here. So many places to eat, so many places to entertain. Family that never came to visit you, will when you live in Orlando. That’s what made this place so great, it’s really brought my family together. I love Orlando and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” says Angie Brown, Vice President of Meridian Appraisal Group and current Orlando resident.

This ranking follows a plethora of similar rankings for Orlando including most desirable place to livebest city for foodies, and most pet-friendly city.

If you’re looking for a fun place to live, learn, work and play – look no further than beautiful Orlando, Florida.

Jobs, Fewer Loan Defaults Boost Orlando’s Draw, Report States

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Orlando’s rising employment rates and waning commercial mortgage delinquencies during the last year made the region one of the nation’s leading markets for growth and investment, according to a new study.

The four-county area, including Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, ranked fourth nationally for its business climate during the last four quarters, according to a report released Wednesday by the analytics firm Trepp LLC. Orlando ranked behind Seattle, Las Vegas and Atlanta in the measurement of economic growth and commercial real estate investment, said Sean Barrie, research analyst for Trepp.

During the last year, Orlando’s population grew 2.5 percent and unemployment was 3.9 percent, with 42,800 jobs added during the last four quarters, Trepp’s report stated

Orlando’s ranking was not surprising to Marcel Arsenault, who oversees the investment management company Real Capital Solutions, based in Colorado.

“We concur 100 percent. Orlando has wonderful in-migration from Puerto Rico and elsewhere, and it benefits from the ‘Great Drain’ of companies leaving New Jersey,” said Arsenault, who studies business cycles of property types throughout the country. Last week, he showed an audience of real estate journalists the advisory emails he sent in 2005 predicting a sharp economic slide, which materialized starting a year later as the Recession.

Underscoring his views, Real Capital Solutions earlier this month purchased Maitland Forum with more than 284,000 square feet at 2600 Lake Lucien Drive, Maitland, for $15.4 million and Park Center with more than 127,000 square feet at 2500 Maitland Center Parkway for $6.8 million, records show.

Maitland stands as one of the biggest turn-around markets in the region, said Chris Owen, who oversees research for Cushman & Wakefield in Florida. Vacancies for Maitland-area offices diminished from about a quarter of available space to a tenth during a three-year period that ended in early 2017, the real estate brokerage reported. Relatively affordable office rents, particularly when compared with downtown Orlando, have boosted activity there, he added.

Owen cited another factor considered by companies scouting cities for call-center and back-office locations: Orlando residents are often “accent-neutral” and can communicate easily with customers nationwide.

Trepp cited Orlando’s rising appeal in part to businesses relocating from expensive markets with higher taxes, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Trepp researchers referred to Orlando and other top cities in the ranking as “18-hour cities” — they may not enjoy the same round-the-clock cache as larger cities but are heading in that direction.

Trepp also cited Florida’s lack of state income tax.

Orlando businesses are not without some credit problems, although commercial mortgage delinquencies dropped about a half a percent to 2.18 percent during the year-long period. Trepp reported.

Thank you:  Orlando Sentinel

Amazon Plans to Create 1,500 Jobs in Orlando

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Amazon.com, Inc. will open a new fulfillment center in Orlando creating 1,500 new, full-time jobs. The 850,000 square-foot center will be a highly technological workplace featuring Amazon Robotics. The site, located in Lake Nona, will open in 2018.

“We are excited to join the Orlando community, creating more than 1,500 full-time jobs at our new fulfillment center,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations. “We very much appreciate the state and local elected leaders who have supported Amazon’s arrival in Orlando and we look forward to bringing more jobs and investment to the state in the coming months.”

Amazon employees will pick, pack and ship small items like books, electronics and consumer goods to customers.

“I am proud that Amazon has chosen the Orlando area as the best location for their new fulfillment center. Amazon is already a major job creator in Florida, and we’re proud that they are continuing to invest in our state and create new opportunities for our families,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Today’s announcement is a reminder of the important role of Enterprise Florida and local economic development agencies who have worked to market our state so we can outcompete other locations for these major jobs wins.”

Amazon has created more than 4,000 full-time jobs in Florida since building its first fulfillment center in the state in 2013. The new fulfillment center will bring Amazon’s workforce in the Sunshine State to more than 9,000.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Amazon to Central Florida, and look forward to this legendary innovator becoming a part of our community,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “We’ve worked hard to expedite permitting and other County functions in order to get this new type of fulfillment distribution center – including Amazon Robotics and a significant investment in technology – up and running. This is a huge win for Central Florida and a wonderful opportunity for our entire community, including the 1,500 employees who will join the Amazon team and all those who will benefit from Amazon’s well-known commitment to the local community.”

Full-time employees at Amazon receive highly-competitive pay, health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans and company stock. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families.

“Florida’s business climate continues to beat out other states, and we are proud to see Amazon choose the Orlando area for a new fulfillment center,” said Mike Grisson, interim president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “The workforce, infrastructure and overall business friendliness in Florida lead the nation and this is apparent as our economy continues to grow.”

Amazon also offers full-time employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, over 10,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.

“Amazon’s decision to select Orlando for its next major investment is a tremendous win for the Orlando region,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “It says a lot about our status as a major employment hub in the United States when a global leader in ecommerce chooses to add more than 1,500 new jobs in our community. Amazon is a great addition to our region with programs that provide full benefits to employees while also encouraging workers to further their education and improve their skills through a tuition reimbursement incentive.”

“OUC is proud to be part of the team that brought Amazon to our community,” said Roseann Harrington, Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Community Relations, Orlando Utilities Commission. “Working together, we’re helping companies make a power move to Orlando where the payoff is greater reliability, better rates, deeper connections to our community and a greener future. We look forward to serving them and their employees.”

The project is being developed in a partnership between Seefried Industrial Properties and an affiliate of USAA Real Estate Company. Tavistock Development Company entitled and sold the property, and will develop the infrastructure for the project.

Orlando Economic Development Commission

Orlando Ranks No. 2 Top Metro for Job Seekers

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Indeed researchers analyzed the job postings of the 50 metro areas with the most postings on Indeed.com and Orlando, not surprisingly, finds itself second on the list of top metros for job seekers. Indeed evaluated four key considerations in the job hunt: local job market favorability, average salary adjusted for cost of living, employers’ score for work-life balance and job security/advancement opportunities in Indeed’s review database.

What does Orlando have to offer on top of our blue skies and warm weather? Per Indeed’s research, Orlando offers some of the highest scores for work-life balance, job security and advancement, as well as performing 98% higher than other cities in job market favorability.

While Orlando is best known for our large leisure and hospitality industry presence, the trade and transportation industries follow closely behind. And with the recent opening of BRIDG in Osceola County, growing number of startup tech companies planting roots in Orlando and tech companies relocating and expanding here, the opportunities for job seekers are diverse.

With a thriving tech scene, supportive business community and a climate that caters to a quality work-life balance, we are sure to see Orlando continue to stay on top in years to come.

Orlando Economic Development Commission

Orlando Labor Market Insight

Millennials are Searching for Orlando Real Estate

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The Orlando metropolitan area ranked No. 3 on Realtor.com’s list of top home buying hot spots for older millennials

The Orlando metropolitan area ranked No. 3 on Realtor.com’s list of top home buying hot spots for older millennials (25 to 34 years old). That age group represents the largest age demographic of prospective home purchasers, according to monthly surveys conducted by Realtor.com.

The Orlando metro area saw 1.18 times more Realtor.com listings page views from millennials than the national average. These “hot spots” attract the large group of home prospective buyers either due to a strong local economy, relative affordability, or both.

Orlando has been exploding beyond its internationally renowned theme parks, and millennials are paying attention. As the No. 2 fastest growing metro (Forbes), Orlando is increasingly on the radar for millennial home buyers considering where to put down roots.

Orlando Economic Development Commission

Realtor.com Data

Orlando ranked No. 2 fastest growing metro in 2017 by Forbes

Orlando Among Top Cities for Millennials

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Orlando is one of the top three cities for millennials, according to a new report from Realtor.com.

The average share of the 25- to 34-year-old population in the U.S. is 13 percent, but in the top markets, the average share is 14 percent. Salt Lake City came in at No. 1 on the list, followed by Miami and Orlando. No other Florida metros made the top 10.

“High job growth in markets such as Orlando, Seattle and Miami, and the power of affordability in places like Albany and Buffalo are making these markets magnets for millennials,” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for Realtor.com. “But what really stands out is that all these markets already have large numbers of millennials, which translates into strong populations of millennial home buyers.”

Here’s what Realtor.com had to say about Orlando:

  • The draw: Downtown Orlando is becoming a hot area and offers easy access to public transportation, shopping and dining, as well as a proximity to many jobs.
  • Millennial hotspots: Thornton Park, located just east of downtown has also become popular among millennials who are looking to live in a unique historic neighborhood with cobbled streets and lined with bungalows.
  • The stats: Millennials account for 14.6 percent of the total population in Orlando. Homes are affordable here and only require 34 percent of income. The unemployment rate is below the national average at 4.4 percent.

To come up with its rankings, Realtor.com analyzed the 60 largest markets in the U.S. and compared the share of millennial page views in each area to the national average. Markets were ranked based on their comparison to the national average. Page view data included in this analysis covers the period from August 2016 to February 2017.

Here are the top 10 markets:

  1. Salt Lake City
  2. Miami
  3. Orlando
  4. Seattle
  5. Houston
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Buffalo, N.Y.
  8. Albany, N.Y.
  9. San Francisco
  10. San Jose

Orlando Business Journal

Orlando Leads Nation in Job Growth

The release of preliminary January payroll employment data by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity indicates that Orlando continues to lead the state and nation in job growth into 2017.

Orlando is adding more than 1,000 jobs per week across a broad-base of industries. The professional and business services industry, which includes legal, accounting, computer systems design, management and administrative services had the largest net gain with 13,200 new jobs, outpacing the region’s leisure and hospitality industry. Construction employment grew the fastest with 10.4 year-over-year percentage change. Only the information industry, which largely covers media-related industries, recorded a contraction in the previous 12 months.

Florida businesses created 262,200 new jobs in the 12 months ending January 2017 and 54,600 of those jobs were in Orlando. With only 11 percent of Florida’s population, the Orlando metro is adding more than 20 percent of the state’s new jobs.  Not surprisingly, one out of every three leisure and hospitality jobs created in Florida was in Orlando.

Orlando Job Gains

In January 2017, Orlando held the number one spot as the fastest growing job market in the country with an employment base of at least one million jobs. Orlando’s year-over-year job growth of 4.6 percent outpaced competitive southern metros including Dallas, Atlanta and Austin.

Orlando Payroll

RE/MAX 200 Realty Agent Mike Rance Makes a Difference in Seminole County Communities

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Busy real estate professional makes time to help others recover from Hurricane Matthew

Seminole County, Florida, February 2017  RE/MAX 200 Realty agent Mike Rance was recently recognized for making a difference in our Seminole County communities for helping with the massive clean-up efforts following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.  Mike received awards from the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association and the Seminole County Board of Commissioners for leading ‘The Chainsaw Gang’ to work alongside emergency officials removing fallen trees following the storm.  Mike was honored with others who helped restore operations in Florida after Hurricane Matthew, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, during a ceremony at the Universal Hilton this February.

“Storms like this can have a large impact on residents and homeowners in local areas where we all live and work together,” said Mike. “When I saw an opportunity to jump in and use my tools to help my neighbors and communities get back to normal I was happy to get involved.”

While finding time to help others Mike also earned another award in 2016.  At the RE/MAX 200 2017 kickoff meeting this January, Mike was announced as the top producing real estate agent in the company completing 60 transactions in 2016!  “Mike is living proof that you can achieve personal success and still find time to make a positive impact on people around you,” said Kevin Acker, Broker-Owner of RE/MAX 200 Realty. “I am extremely proud to have Mike represent our company in the community.”

Mike Rance REMAX 200 Realty

For more information about Mike Rance, or RE/MAX 200 Realty, please visit MetroOrlandoProperties.com or call (407) 629-6330.

Visit Mike’s Website

Florida Emergency Preparedness Association