242 243 WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA downtown core,private investment started to skyrock- et.And it’s reallygonewarp speed over the last five years.Almost all of the space downtown is currently occupied.So,wewent froma high vacancy rate to an extremely lowvacancy rate in the downtown core’s ex- isting buildings,but we also had newconstruction that started to come into the downtown core–specifically in themedical field.” Lyon agrees.“We are seeing a pretty rapid expansion in themedical capacityof downtown,”he states.“Win- ter HavenHospital,part of the BayCare system,just announced that it’s going to be starting a residency program,becoming a teaching hospital with 18 new medical residents focusing on familymedicine.So, that’s a newfacilityand another 35 or 40medical-re- lated jobs.Theyare also undergoing a $50million emergencydepartment expansion and reconfiguration. It has additional plans on top of that.So,we have a growing healthcare cluster in the downtown area.” The growth of themedical sector has spawned an offshoot of business support systems.“CertiPayPayroll just moved its headquarters to downtown,”says Lyon. “Theyhave close to 200 employees in that space.We’re also seeing lawfirmexpansion here.” Lyon adds that very little in thewayof inducement needs to be offered to entice businesses to locate in Winter Haven.“We’re not providing incentives to recruit businesses; theyare coming here because of the natural assets,”hemaintains.“We have awell-educat- ed population and access to quicklygrowingmarkets across Central Florida.Our fivemiles of underground fiber optic cable is available for businesses,with giga- bit speed connections to the internet,and eight miles of conduit that can have fiber pulled through it for ENGINEERS, SCIENTISTS, SURVEYORS, & PLANNERS | www.pennoni.com Clearwater • Delray Bearch • Miami Beach • Pensacola • Tallahassee • Winter Haven Pennoni specializes in building infrastructure and communities to make them better places to live, work, and play since 1966. We are proud to partner with the Winter Haven, FL Economic Development Council. additional expansion.Andwe’reworkingwith the Flor- ida Department of Transportation to install 25miles of darkfiber around the community.So,wewill have one of themore robust fiber networks in the state of Florida that ismunicipallycontrolled.” Another focal point for attracting business toWinter Haven is the newCSXCentral Florida Intermodal Lo- gistics Center (ILC) that came online in 2014.“It’s 1,250 acres total,”says Lyon.“350 are dedicated to a CSXrail terminal,where theymove over 600 containers a day –rail to truckand truck to rail.Surrounding that are 930 acres of warehousing andmanufacturing loca- tions.There is a 407,000-square-foot building currently located there that houses theNestlé Corporation,and we’re activelymarketing that for additional expansion. We can house up to 8,000,000 square feet.So,we have a longway to go in terms of seeing that completed.” Planning for future business expansion alsomeans planning for future residential growth–and Lyon says that the room is there: “There are still infill opportu- nities,both lot by lot,as well as existing sub-divisions that haven’t yet been built out.So,there are lots of available plots of land for residential development,