Job Market Strengthens as Large Employers Move to Polk County
In 2012, approximately 1,700 jobs were created in Polk County, bringing the average unemployment rate down from 11.6 percent in 2011 to 9.7 percent. As several companies announce their expansions or grand openings in Polk County, the economy is expected to continue improving, unemployment rates are expected to continue declining and construction starts on new homes in Polk County will continue to rise.
So what companies are coming to Polk County? Here is a list of upcoming companies who are expanding or will soon call Polk County home:
Amazon: After months of speculation, Amazon recently confirmed that it will in fact open a warehouse in Lakeland. The internet-retailer’s one-million square-foot warehouse will create 385 jobs with an average annual wage of $35,830 and benefits totaling $9,422 per worker annually. Out of those 385 jobs, approximately 248 of those jobs are expected to be full-time. Additionally, hundreds more seasonal jobs will be created during the holiday season. The warehouse, which will be located at 1760 County Line Road, will focus on large items such as kayaks and televisions. In addition to the Lakeland location, Amazon will open a second warehouse in nearby Hillsborough County.
O’Reilly Auto Parts: Scheduled to open the doors to its newest distribution center in early 2014, O’Reilly Auto Parts is expected to bring 300 to 400 jobs to the Polk County area. Located at 3300 County Line Road, the distribution center will be 350,000 square feet with a 7,200 square-foot retail store located within the distribution center. O’Reilly Auto Parts is one of the top five auto parts retailers in the United States.
Colo5, LLC: Independent data center operator, Colo5, LLC, recently opened its second facility in Lakeland in October 2013. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Colo5, LLC protects a company’s IT infrastructure from sabotage, theft, hardware malfunction, viruses, man-made and natural disasters. Over the next three years, Colo5, LLC will create approximately 60 high-paying technology jobs. From its Lakeland center, Colo5, LLC will be able to service much of Central and South Florida including Orlando, Miami and Tampa Bay.
Draken International: Draken International is expanding by 60,000 square feet at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. During the expansion, Draken International will create 55 jobs and invest nearly $6.7 million in capital in the Lakeland area. Draken’s fleet of more than 50 planes is the largest fleet of privately owned tactical aircraft in the world and provides training support to all branches of the military, as well as the Department of Defense.
Streamsong, The Mosaic Co.: In 2012, The Mosaic Co. debuted two golf courses and a clubhouse in its first phase of the luxury resort, Streamsong. Recently, the resort officially opened to guests and with 216 guest rooms, the resort is expected to create a total of 200 new hospitality jobs in Polk County. Streamsong is located on 2,300 acres of reclaimed mining land that is located five miles west of Fort Meade.
Legoland: Legoland Florida in Winter Haven announced on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 that it will be building a 152-room hotel on its property which will open by 2015. Since opening its doors in 2011, Legoland Florida has expanded its offerings twice to become Legoland’s largest theme park. The addition of the hotel will shift Legoland Florida from a single-day attraction to a multi-day destination. The increase in local tourism should help to boost not only Legoland Florida, but the entire Winter Haven economy.
CSX Intermodal Terminal: While Legoland is expected to continue to create jobs as it turns into an overnight attraction, CSX will perhaps provide the biggest employment opportunity in Winter Haven. When the new terminal opens its doors this year, it will create 200 jobs, but over the next decade CSX is expected to bring 6,000 to 8,000 jobs to the area. While it remains to be seen how much CSX will expand into Polk County, there is plenty of room to grow with its initial 300-acre business park and another 900 acres located nearby if necessary.
Saddle Creek Logistics: Following a contract with Tervis tumblers, as well as other contractors, Saddle Creek Logistics will be expanding by 230,000 square feet in Lakeland. Largely providing repackaging and light manufacturing services, Saddle Creek Logistics’ expansion will create 50 additional jobs in Polk County.As employment is directly related to the housing market, it is expected that the Polk County housing market will continue to strengthen as the companies expand or open doors for the first time in the area.
At Highland Homes we currently build Central Florida new homes in several cities throughout Polk County including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Mulberry, Bartow, Auburndale, Lake Hamilton and Davenport. With more than 30 stylish home designs to choose from, affordable pricing from the low-$100,000s and an abundance of design options available in our Personal Selection Studio, you can build the perfect new home for your needs and budget, in a top Central Florida location.
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