This column was prepared by the CEP and recently ran in Expansion Solutions magazine. It describes why companies are considering relocating to the Ocala Metro.
If the Ocala Metro is not on your company’s search radar, it needs to be! Located at the crossroads of the Florida peninsula, the Ocala Metro is crossed by I-75 and is met by US Hwy 301 and just north of the Florida Turnpike. These intersections create the connectivity to service Florida’s 22 million and growing population as well as providing ease of access to the lower Southeast United States.
Is logistics important to your business? The all important one-days truck drive (6-hours each way) reaches 34 million people when centered on Ocala. This is a 39% premium over the I-4 corridor and connects Atlanta to Miami. This is key logistical fact is a primary reason companies like Amazon, AutoZone, Chewy, FedEx Ground, McLane, and Dollar Tree have opened new distribution facilities in the area in just the last few years.
Ocala prides itself on delivering facilities and permits almost as quickly as we can speed your logistics. Expediting permitting is not only a goal but a standard operating procedure with local governments committed to partnering to ensure your spending time and capital on actually constructing facilities and not battling city hall. Shovel ready sites in the Metro are truly that – shovel ready. With nearly 2000 acres of fully infrastructured, ready to develop industrial sites, your business can find the site it needs today.
Looking for an existing facility? Currently, the Ocala Metro has nearly 4 million sq ft of spec and build-to-suit industrial in the works. From rear-load multi-tenant space to 1 million sq. ft. of premium cross-dock with interstate frontage, your next building is already in development in the Ocala Metro.
But don’t think we are only about moving products. The Ocala Metro is unique in Florida with its strong manufacturing base. Nearly 10% of the local workforce is employed in manufacturing making everything from fire engines to cake sprinkles, missile control systems to laminated glass and everything in between. Key growing sectors in the manufacturing space include food and beverage and medical device.
This diverse and growing economy is one reason the local workforce continues to grow. The Ocala Metro’s population currently exceeds 370,000 people and is one of the 15 fastest growing metros in the nation. You may think Florida is for retirees (and we love our retirees) but the fastest growing segment locally is 30–39-year-olds. The growing economy along with plenty of sunshine and no personal income tax makes the Ocala area a natural for relocating talent from throughout the nation and world.
Finally, the Ocala Metro is not only growing but it is stable. The logistics and manufacturing sectors coupled with the health care, IT, and equine communities (did we mention we are the Horse Capital of the World®?), and you can see why the local unemployment rate is well below the state and national averages. In fact, the Ocala Metro is one of only a handful to grow jobs through the pandemic. The more jobs we grow, the more people relocate to this community, the more opportunity for you to find your next workforce.
But don’t just take our word for it. Come visit (in person or virtually) and see for yourself. Learn more at OcalaCEP.com.