Cape announces business investment zone
The city has branded the area surrounding the forthcoming Veterans Clinic as the “Veterans Investment Zone”, or the VIZ, in hope of attracting office and medical parks, assisted living facilities, retail, hotels and light industrial development.
The Cape Coral Economic Development Office will hold a public forum in November to reach out to people interested in business opportunities within the roughly half-mile zone, though the area has no official boundaries.
EDO’s Christy Vogt said it was crucial to brand the area to let people know the zone is open for business.
“We thought that with the clinic on the way, what better name to anchor the area?” Vogt said. “We want developers to know there is already a government entity and a medical entity within the area.”
City council recently approved a number of land use changes near the forthcoming VA Clinic in hope of fostering that growth.
The Army also is eyeing land across from the clinic for a reserve center, and Vogt said there are three companies that are “serious” about locating within the zone, though she could not name the companies due to confidentiality agreements.
She said the EDO and the city will do what it takes to attract business to the VIZ.
“The city will bend over backwards if an entity wants to come in there and it’s not zoned properly, as long as it’s appropriate to be in that area,” Vogt said.
Councilmember Bill Deile, who has worked to help bring the Army reserve center to Cape Coral, said there still is a possibility that Africa Command could relocate to Cape Coral, too.
Deile said the VIZ will help to create “synergy” and “momentum” in the area.
“Those are the two things this creates,” Deile said. “We need any momentum that shows the economy is coming back, at least in that area.”
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said the area’s potential could one day drive the need for Cape Coral’s very own I-75 interchange, and develop the city’s northern climes as a economic development destination.
“This will help any and everything we can put along the North Del Prado Corridor,” McGrail said. “And we’ll validate the need for that interchange at the I-75 and the Del Prado extension.”
The EDO is hoping the VIZ Forum will attract not only potential business but veterans as well.
Christy Vogt said there also could be plans to link the VIZ to the under-development Veterans museum eyed for downtown Cape Coral with a trolley system.
“We’d like to see the veterans come to the forum and see what their new facility is going to look like,” Vogt said, adding that VA renderings and representatives will be on hand at the event.