Gateway to West Florida
The FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance is setting the stage for development in Pensacola
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Partners in Business
FloridaWest couldn’t get very far without local partnerships. The city, county and private-sector board members are deeply involved in supporting the alliance’s mission on a day-to-day basis.
“We are the acting agency on behalf of the city of Pensacola and Escambia County. That’s what they fund us to do, is to do economic development work on behalf of this area,” Luth said. “Outside of that, we could not be successful without Pensacola State College and the University of West Florida, the Escambia County School District that has the career academies, and George Stone Technical Center. The Workforce Escarosa Center, our employment office here, is a big partner in the success of what we do. And then, obviously, our utility partners. That’s how we build our team, using all those things that go into the success of a business.”
Billed as “Northwest Florida’s Industrial Campus,” The Bluffs is a 6,000-acre, master-planned development suited for industrial and manufacturing located just north of Pensacola. The Escambia River borders it to the east and the University of West Florida is to the south. The Emerald Coast Utility Authority, the community’s wastewater treatment plant, is located there, as is Ascend Performance Materials, a large nylon manufacturing company. The site features access to road, rail, barge and air service. There are more than 1,700 acres of developable land and enough space to house 60 new tenants and create 15,000 or more jobs.
“The Bluffs is a long-term strategic plan for those heavy energy-intensive type companies,” Luth said.
Gulf Power, the University of West Florida, the Emerald Coast Utility Authority, Ascend and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are collaborating with FloridaWest on the 20-year development plan.
“We are marketing and promoting the site, but we are promoting the site to your larger, heavier type of companies that would really be similar to what’s out there now,” Luth said. “We went through strategic planning and sort of a high-level master planning process this past year, and so what you see there from a marketing perspective is the outcome of the recommendations. Now it’s a matter of going back and beginning to implement that plan, which is furthering some of the infrastructure out there.”