Manufacturing, logistics and healthcare all have promising futures here amid the state’s economic strength
Tampa Bay’s industrial sector is healthy and could be even more robust in the future. The outlook here is bright as opportunities abound.
To better understand this, let’s take a look at what we mean by “industrial.” The term encompasses a great deal of the commerce that goes on all around us. It includes manufacturing, of course, which most people think of when they hear people talk about the industrial sector. But it also includes logistics and supply, all the interconnected activity related to the transport of goods. Healthcare and life sciences are under the industrial umbrella as well. It’s a broad swath of our economy.
The Florida picture
We get a clearer picture of why the industrial forecast is so positive when we consider the state of Florida itself. If the state were a country, its economy would be the 15th largest in the world. Florida is the third most-populous state, with 21.5 million people. Since 2010, its population has grown by 14.6 percent.
A primary factor in the state’s growth is its status as the No. 1 destination for relocating Americans. Where there are more people, there’s an increased demand for goods and services. It’s worth noting that Florida has managed to add manufacturing jobs in an era when some other states are hemorrhaging them.
Transportation a factor
Among the factors that make Florida so economically strong is its transportation network. We have many major ports on the east and west coasts. The CSX rails, along with others, crisscross the state, allowing for the free flow of goods. The highway system is excellent, as interstates 4, 10 and 95 link up large regions of Florida. The rail network and roadways also help areas farther inland receive an abundance of supply, despite their being outside the ports.
Healthcare and life sciences
Florida has excellent hospitals and top universities, which help attract businesses in the fields of healthcare and life sciences. That includes large companies that produce vaccines and cancer drugs, perform cardiac research, and provide anything else critical to human health. Traditionally located in cities such as Boston and Philadelphia, these industries are ripe for operations in the Sunshine State. The state’s economy and its overall desirability are more than enough to attract such companies and their Ph.D. employees.
Tampa Bay’s cost of doing business
Traditionally, the economic powerhouses of Florida have been Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville. But there are factors lifting Tampa Bay into that exclusive group. One is the lower cost of doing business here compared to, say, Miami. The Miami economy is the largest in Florida and many businesses eye that market to set up shop. But in the final analysis, you’ve got to make money. Rents are high in Miami, making it an expensive place to live and conduct commerce. A lot of people are discovering that Tampa and the surrounding areas are both affordable and economically vibrant.
Availability of land and good governance
One enormous advantage the Tampa Bay area has is the availability of unspoken-for land. In such cities as Miami, land is scarce and, therefore, at a high premium – there’s simply no room to expand in many cases. But in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, there are still plenty of parcels open for new construction.
Local governments in the Tampa Bay area also play a major role in bringing in new businesses. Very often, they’re willing to cooperate with brokerage teams and relocating companies to foster new economic activity.
So there’s good reason to be optimistic about Florida at large and, specifically, the Tampa Bay area. It’s a great place for industry. A great place to live, too.
Sudhir “Sid” Bhatt, Senior Advisor
SVN | Commercial Advisory Group