Southwest Florida Economic Forecast for 2022 – Florida Trend

Melissa Seixas

President, Duke Energy Florida, St. Petersburg

“Since January 2021, natural gas prices have more than doubled after a number of single events that pushed prices up and drove supplies down. This doesn’t just affect utility companies, but a variety of industries that rely on natural gas.

Duke Energy manages our fuel and production resources in the most cost effective manner for our customers given current markets. Rising gas prices have led to an increase in coal-fired generation company-wide. We expect this trend to continue in the short to medium term until natural gas supply, demand and inventories rebalance.

Despite the temporary increase in coal use, we remain on track to meet our long-term carbon reduction goals. »

Real estate

Red Apple Real Estate, a New York developer, plans to build 400 Central, a $400 million, 46-story condominium in downtown St. Petersburg that, if completed as planned, will become the tallest city ​​building. The 1.3 million square feet. The tower will include 301 condos and a 223-room hotel with over 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The project will encompass an entire city block and include more than 50,000 square feet of retail and office space.


The Clearwater Beach Marina will undergo renovations estimated at $18 million. Repairs include upgrading its 160 boat ramps, replacing aging wooden pilings and rebuilding the marina’s water, sewer and electrical services. The marina was built in the 1950s.

Joe Necklace

President, Accommodation and Mainsail Development, Tampa

“The population boom in Tampa Bay and most of Southwest Florida has fueled an increase in housing demand and prices and attracted additional talent from California and other locations that don’t normally boost demand. growth in the area. This has led to connections and opportunities in other industries and has created a positive cycle of growth as our economy expands to support these new residents. Our hotels in the area were initially hit hard affected by COVID-19, but quickly rebounded as Florida opened up and both local and foreign travelers took advantage.

We were especially pleased with the success of our new Luminary hotel in downtown Fort Myers, which opened during the pandemic. The hotel is attached to the Caloosa Sound Convention Center, so we were understandably concerned that the lack of large group events would put us under water for a while. Fortunately, the opposite has happened, with the hotel knocking it out of the park with small gatherings, socials and new visitors, and more group bookings in 2022.

We are also developing an adjacent amphitheater in collaboration with the city which should be ready in the spring. We consider ourselves lucky to be in a region with so much to offer and strong economic prospects and are confident that the hospitality industry will continue to thrive as we approach 2022.”

Chad Loar

President, West and Central Florida Region, PNC Bank, Tampa

“The economic recovery from the viral recession in Tampa-St. The Petersburg-Clearwater region was stronger than the national average. After losing 172,000 jobs between February and April (2020), employment growth has been strong in the region. The professional and business services sector, which accounts for around 20% of total employment in the region, has shown resilience and weathered the COVID storm. Employment is now 13% above the pre-crisis level.

PNC’s fall economic outlook revealed that business owners are feeling optimistic about the near-term future of their businesses amid rising vaccination rates. Those who took part in the survey said that more than three-quarters of their workforce had been vaccinated and were the most positive about their business prospects. This includes expectations of higher demand, sales and profits as companies report lower employee vaccination rates.

Tampa-St. Pete’s construction sector has also been a strong contributor to economic growth over the past year, and employment in the sector is above pre-crisis levels. Very low borrowing costs, strong consumer balance sheets and strong demographic trends have supported housing demand in the region. The leisure and hospitality sector has grown significantly since the start of the pandemic, but non-farm payroll employment in the sector was 7% below pre-pandemic levels in August. The continued spread of the Delta variant and the labor shortage crisis weighed on the sector. Consumer spending on services and housing will support the economy in early 2022. Overall, Tampa’s economic outlook is bright.


Wingspan Development Group, a Chicago-based developer, is building a micro-apartment complex in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Tampa. The six-story project, called Niche, will have 83 units, each with less than 400 square feet of space. The micro-units will be equipped with mobile furniture that will allow the rooms to be reconfigured to allow the space to have a dual purpose: for example, a living room or an office during the day can be transformed into a bedroom at night. Niche, slated to open in 2023, will also have 168 traditionally sized apartments of up to three bedrooms. Rents will start at less than $1,000. The Omega condominium tower in Bonita Bay is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The 27-story project, developed by the Ronto Group, will have 67 units ranging from $3.9 million to $8.5 million. Collier County Commissioners have approved a slightly scaled-down version of the One Naples condominium development near Vanderbilt Beach. Southwest Florida-based Stock Development will build 140 units, up from 172. The project includes two 10-story towers and three five-story buildings.

Health care

Tampa General Hospital plans to begin construction this spring on a freestanding proton therapy center. The project is a partnership between Tampa General and the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, as well as Proton Therapy Partners and Florida Urology Partners. The proton therapy facility will be the first such facility in Tampa Bay. Moffitt Cancer Center plans to establish a 775-acre campus at Land O’ Lakes in Pasco County, where the National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center intends to expand 1.4 million square feet of research, manufacturing, office and clinical space.

Real estate

Components of the $3.5 billion Water Street Tampa project continue to open and attract residents and businesses to the downtown Tampa waterfront. Rapid7, a Boston-based cybersecurity firm, plans to open an office at Industrious, a co-working space in Water Street’s Sparkman Wharf. The company says it will hire 100 people and open a permanent office later this year. Fast, a San Francisco-based online payment services company, established an East Coast hub in the Water Street area last year. Residential developments include Cora, a 388-unit apartment building which opened late last year. Another residential tower, this one with 497 units and called 1050 Water Street, is due to open this year.

Corey McCloskey

Chairman, Naples Board of Realtors, Naples

“It’s no secret that Southwest Florida’s healthy real estate market has been one of the few bright spots of the pandemic in 2021. As remote work becomes the norm, the Southwest Florida is experiencing a boom in new residents, especially in the luxury sector. This, combined with historically low interest rates, means today’s homeowners are in much better financial shape than those of the early 2000s.

2022 appears to be working in the same direction as 2021, with housing demand cooling slightly due to factors such as the continued lack of supply in the resale housing market and potential rising interest rates.

Dr Ulyee Choe

Director, Florida Department of Health-Pinellas County, St. Petersburg

Lessons from the pandemic: “One of the positive aspects of the pandemic has been the strengthening of community partnerships, including hospitals, healthcare organizations, fire/EMS, county and county emergency management, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, among many others. With any other health event, I believe we are in a better position to mobilize partnerships and augment various resources.”

Keeping pace: “During the pandemic, DOH-Pinellas has tried to balance the staff needed for the COVID-19 response with the staff needed to maintain our other services. To that end, we have hired a number of additional staff to help with epidemiological investigations, vaccine outreach and call centers The biggest concern we noted during COVID-19 is that people were postponing needed health care due to concerns about the pandemic .

Future outlook: “I am cautiously optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, based on current trends and case numbers. Our monitoring unit continues to monitor trends. We must follow what is happening in the world because the majority of the variants of concern originate from outside the United States. It is also important to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as it has always been shown to prevent serious illnesses. ”

Bill Cronin

President/CEO, Pasco Economic Development Council, Lutz

“The demand for project-ready industrial properties has never been higher as the speed to market requires companies to make quick and informed location decisions while allocating valuable time to design, construction and opening of a new facility.

Pasco County has a site-ready program that assesses and certifies large tracts of land to prepare properties for industrial development and creates a portfolio of project-ready sites for targeted industries.

The Moffitt Cancer Center recently announced a 775-acre campus in central Pasco County. The project will be a first-of-its-kind medical campus in Pasco County and will include more than 16 million square feet of research laboratories, light industrial and manufacturing, general office and clinical spaces. The multi-year, multi-phase project will create approximately 14,500 jobs. Filling these many specialized life science positions has made developing a long-term talent pipeline solution for multiple industries a top priority for workforce partners across the county.

Tags: Southwest, Economic Outlook, Feature