It is an exciting time for Central Florida in terms of growth. In the past two years we have seen both new and existing industries expand in Lakeland and Polk County, bringing in additional jobs and new opportunities for the entire region. This new development will further cement Lakeland as the distribution capital of Central Florida.
In Lakeland, new industries include:
- Mission Foods – $27 million capital investment, 168,400 sq ft manufacturing facility
- Exel Logistics – 60,000 sq ft
- Matheson Tri-Gas – $40 million capital investment
- SteriPack – $7 million capital investment, 40,000 sq ft
- Xpedx – 20,000 sq ft
Existing industries that have expanded include:
- Publix Super Markets – 562,000 sq ft
- Rooms-To-Go – 310,000 sq ft
- MaxPak – 36,000 sq ft
- Forward Air – 65,000 sq ft
- Ole Mexican – 20,000 sq ft
- Lakeland Toyota & Lakeland Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge – 40,000 sq ft
Polk County has also seen its share of growth:
- Florida Polytechnic University – Florida’s 12th University
- LegoLand, – $150 million investment (1st phase)
- Coca Cola/Simply Orange – $99 million capital investment (totaling $450 million), 905,000 sq ft
- EcoGen – $200 million capital investment (1st phase)
Port of Tampa
The Port of Tampa, 25 miles west of Lakeland, is a vital link in the distribution chain. Upon completion of the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014, the Port of Tampa will become the shortest and most effective route for the distribution of goods from the Asian market to the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The port will quadruple the size of its existing terminal to 160 acres, and will feature Florida’s first on-dock unit train capability.
A dedicated Interstate Truck Ramp that connects the Port directly to Interstate 4 and the rest of the interstate highway system is currently underway.
CSX Railway System
Increased cargo volume at the Port of Tampa has many options for inland transportation, including the CSX Transportation rail system in the eastern U.S. that serves North America directly and through its connections with other railroads. CSX affiliate Evansville Western Railway is building an intermodal terminal at Winter Haven, about 20 miles east of Lakeland, that will be open for business in the first half of 2014. Future plans call for the development around the intermodal terminal of an Integrated Logistics Center, which would be a large transportation, logistics and goods distribution complex.