October 18, 2016

Kia, Murdock Village, economic development

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Charlotte Sun Staff Reporters

Two events, two big steps forward on economic development. Saturday’s grand opening of the new Fuccillo Kia of Port Charlotte generated a huge amount of excitement. Charlotte County is now home to the largest of Billy Fuccillo’s four Florida Kia dealerships. The 70-acre site off U.S. 41 just south of the county line features a 50,000-square-foot showroom, administrative center and service bays. Mr. Fuccillo expects to create up to 250 jobs at the dealership. Charlotte County’s Community Development, Utilities and Public Works departments and the Economic Development Office worked closely with the Fuccillo Automotive Group on the project’s permitting, utilities and infrastructure.

With its aggressive marketing campaigns, we expect the dealership to bring thousands of people to Charlotte County, many of whom may never have been here and will bring plenty of business to other county stores and restaurants. Earlier in the week, the County Commission accepted a letter of intent from Private Equity Group, which has a plan for a 452- acre, mixed-use development in our Murdock Village Community Redevelopment Area. The action opens a 30-day window for other proposals after which the county can proceed with negotiations on the sale of the property. PEG’s proposal calls for a variety of market-priced homes: single-family, townhomes, villas, condos and rental apartments.

“In addition to 2,400 residential units located within picturesque neighborhoods surrounding lakes and connecting to trails and amenities, the mixeduse community plan includes 200,000 square feet of village-style retail and commercial uses and a 150-key hotel,” according to a fact sheet produced by the company. PEG is based in Fort Myers, where it has invested and developed land, operated businesses and built commercial properties and residential communities for more than 30 years, according to the company.

This proposal is in the earliest of stages and there is much work to be done, but as we have shown with the Cheney Brothers distribution center, Babcock Ranch, Western Michigan University and the Fuccillo Kia dealership, businesses are finding Charlotte County to be a welcoming, proactive and cooperative partner. For an article we submitted to the Florida City and County Management Association last month, Babcock Ranch President Rick Severance said, “In my career, I have yet to interact with a county as positive and accommodating as Charlotte County has been with respect to the building approval process. They have been proactive in their communication and training with each of our home builders, they have been forward thinking in terms of their use of technology and have been a true pleasure to work with.” That’s a wonderful vote of confidence in our approach to economic development.

And we’re just getting started. Word is getting out about doing business in Charlotte County and we still have a number of irons in the fire. Stay tuned.