Public-private Partnership for economic development
Florida Statute regulating Public-Private Partnerships
Public-Private Partnerships are an excellent tool for Economic Development. The City of Fort Myers understands the elements of a successful project include economic feasibility, community goals, and site capacity. This shared vision has resulted in the implementation of successful public-private partnerships.
Entering into a public-private partnership is just that, public. First and foremost, the private partner needs to be prepared for a transparent process. This basic tenet of public scrutiny should precede all other steps that the developer will take. As a practical matter, public purpose must be served and it can include economic development, job creation, preservation or creation of open space, and contribute to the health, safety, and general welfare of the community. The developer should have already underwritten the market to determine interest in their project. The City will want substantial background information.
Establishing feasibility includes clear-cut goals, designing the use of a public-private partnership, which is implemented with public approval.
The City of Fort Myers can facilitate and assist with execution in many ways, including infrastructure investment, financial assistance, or public financing. Here are some good examples of the implementation of partnerships recently.
In 2018, in a public-private partnership, the Southwest Florida Collaboratory opened as a co-sharing space and as a location to generate collaboration. This project was a catalyst for new development and bridges the divide between the traditional downtown, the Dunbar community and provides the added value of investing in the area. This is a great example of having the foresight to provide additional meeting and tenant spaces with a focus on high-tech and low costs. There are additional opportunities planned to spur additional redevelopment in this Opportunity Zone and New Market Tax credit area.
In 2020, along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River, the Luminary Hotel and Caloosa Sound Convention Center opened their doors to the public. Using Federal New Market Tax Credit, Tax Incentive Funds, and the assistance with a parking garage from the City of Fort Myers, area business benefit from this improved site. Additional events and people, generates revenue for area businesses. The state legislature awarded funds to improve access at Centennial Park for an ADA compliant park. An Amphitheater will provide additional entertainment to be enjoyed by the public along the river.