Orlando is not only the theme-park hub of central Florida, it is also listed as one of the most friendly cities. Competitive Alternatives 2016, the latest 2016 edition of the biennial KPMG series showed that the city is listed as one of the top three most cost-friendly cities to do business of the 31 large cities with populations exceeding 2 million that were analyzed. Coldwell Banker Commercial also released an annual ranking of the top commercial real estate markets for 2015, and Orlando ranked among the top metro area markets.
In 2014, Orlando’s metropolitan area attracted 62 million tourists, setting a record for a United States location. We are all familiar that Orlando has always been known as a worldwide holiday destination. After all, it is home of Disney World. Disney World alone has an employment rate of 74,000 people. It is the largest single employer in the Central Florida region. Orlando is also a popular second-home destination.
For commercial real estate developers and investors, the region is one of the top 10 locations in the country for business, with a growing population of over 2.3 million, and Florida’s tax-friendly offering. According to the Competitive Alternatives study, Orlando’s cost index is presently 94.4 compared to the United States national baseline of 100. The city also has the second-lowest labor costs, with low costs for both salary and statutory plans and benefits. Orlando’s low office lease costs are also an advantage, KPMG stated in its report.
The opportunities for capital growth for commercial real estate investors are there. Central Florida is also rapidly growing in e-commerce. Florida’s low tax has been attracting high technology start-ups. “If there’s an e-commerce business that’s getting placed in the state of Florida, it’s getting placed in Central Florida because of its interface of interstate highways and access to the entire state. Virtually every single user is looking for a hub in Central Florida,” Jared Bonshire of the commercial-real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Global companies such as FedEx and Amazon have been making a presence in the area. FedEx developed a 300,000 square foot center located in Davenport. The company is working in partnership with Amazon, completing a fulfillment center last year in nearby Lakeland.
Orlando is also undergoing a widening of Interstate-4. There is also expansion being conducted at Orlando International Airport, including the $1.8 billion south terminal which is due to be completed in early 2019 and a $3.1 billion Intercity train system.