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Lee County Economic Development Incentives

Lee County FIRST Program  Business expansion and locations; cash reimbursement based on performance agreement; targeted industries; >125% of county average wage; 75 new jobs over three years; major capital investment; inducement

Lee County Job Opportunity Program (LCJOP) For High Value Jobs   Business expansions and locations; 10 + new jobs; $2,000 – $6,000 per new job; targeted industries; >100% of county average wage; cash reimbursement of approved expenditures; also used for 20% match to State QTI; inducement

Industrial Development Revenue Bonds   Tax-exempt bonds; provides a source of long-term, below-market-rate financing; allows certain types of business opportunity to finance facility construction and related cost at an interest rate typically two or three percent below conventional financing rates

Enterprise Zone

  • State tax refunds and credits for businesses located in the EZ; additional City of Fort Myers and County incentives
  • Lee County Change of Use Impact Fees
    Waived (expires Dec. 2014)
  • Fast Track Rezoning and Permitting
    Expedited process for projects identified by Economic Development as “economic projects”

Lee County welcomes the opportunity to discuss options in detail and your business requirements.

Glen Salyer, Executive Director
Economic Development Office
[email protected]


  • Change of Use Impact Fees
  • Amended Land Development Code
  • Utilities and Fire and Rescue District

Change of Use Impact Fees

  • May be waived

Amended Land Development Code

Amended certain provisions so special exceptions and variances can be processed by resolution instead of ordinance

Utilities and Fire and Rescue District

Committed to:

  • Comprehensive and coordinated permit/plan review processes to facilitate timely issuance of building permits and plan reviews
  • Facilitate initial coordinated meeting with business owners to answer questions pertaining to rules, regulations and procedures
  • Set-up a coordinated inspection procedure for all building permits, sites plan inspections/reviews
  • Establish a staff designee from each entity as EDC contact person

For more information visit:

  • Cash Incentive Program
  • Impact Fee Deferral Program
  • Road Impact Fee Waiver Program

Cash Incentive Program

The Cash Incentive Program provides reimbursement to targeted businesses for certain expansion or relocation expenses. It provides incentives of up to $3,000 per job created with wages above the average wage, and $1,500 per job that equals the average wage. One requirement of the Cash Incentive Program is the creation of at least 5 new permanent full-time jobs, with 75% of the new employees current or planned Cape Coral residents. Applications for this Cape Coral, Florida Cash Incentive Program are available at the Economic Development Office.

Impact Fee Deferral Program

These Florida incentives defer certain impact fees for target sectors for up to 10 years. Commercial and industrial shell buildings are also eligible for deferrals.

Under this program the City defers payment of road and utility capital improvement impact fees for new commercial or industrial building projects. Impact fees are charged to property owners to defray the incremental costs for public infrastructure. The length of the deferral is based on the type of business, the number of jobs created by the business, and how many of those jobs employ Cape Coral residents. Apply through the Cape Coral Economic Development Office.

The Shell Building Impact Fee Deferral is also available to property owners of shell buildings, which are usually built as speculation. Shell building impact fees may be deferred for up to 36 months or until the issuance of permits for interior completion, whichever is earlier. The Shell Building Deferral Application can be made through the City of Cape Coral’s Department of Community Development.

Road Impact Fees

Cape Coral’s new road impact fee incentive program became effective in April 2011 and will stay in effect until September 1, 2012. The incentive suspends road impact fees for any business moving into an existing building. That means if a business with a higher-impact use moves into an existing building, they would not be charged an added road impact fee. Cost savings for businesses could be significant.

Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency

Technical and financial assistance for exterior commercial building renovations and new construction projects
For more information visit: Cape Coral Business Incentives

  • Fort Myers Impact Fee Waivers
  • Fast Track Plan Reviews and Permitting
  • Development Concierge Service
  • Advanced Demographic, GIS Mapping Service, and Business Marketing
  • Enterprise Zone (EZ)
  • Community Development Block Grant
  • Local Brownfield’s program
  • Purchasing & Contracts
  • FEMA National Flood Insurance Program
  • Fire Department Service Level
  • Harborside Event Center and Downtown Event Promotion
  • Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (FMCRA)
  • Southwest Florida Enterprise Center (SWFEC)

City of Fort Myers Impact Fee Waivers

  • Water (Waived in Enterprise Zone)
  • Sewer (Waived in Enterprise Zone)

Fast Track Plan Reviews and Permitting

Expedited process for projects identified as “economic projects”.

Development Concierge Service

Service for projects identified as “economic projects” to provide concierge service through email tree communications, on-site consultations, external agency referrals, and cross-department coordination to rapidly respond to development requests.

Advanced Demographic, GIS Mapping Service, and Business Marketing

  • Project specific data and mapping services through economic development GIS layers, demographic data, and consumer trend data.
  • Shops QA micro-website business directory service. Provides web-based directory from City website to all businesses in the City. Provides businesses an interactive micro-website for information, marketing, coupons, directions, and mapping.

Enterprise Zone

State tax refunds and credits for businesses located in the EZ. Designated by the state of Florida, an Enterprise Zone is an area targeted for economic revitalization. By investing capital and creating jobs in a Zone, a company can become eligible to receive valuable tax and business incentives from the state. There are six specific tax credits available:

  • Job credits for hiring Zone residents
  • Community tax contribution credits for cash and specified good donated to eligible sponsors
  • Property tax credits up to $50,000 for new or rehabilitated commercial construction
  • State tax refunds for business machinery and equipment used exclusively within a Zone
  • State tax refunds for building materials
  • Utility tax exemptions (municipal and state)

The Lee County Enterprise Zone is ten square miles in central and east Fort Myers, concentrated in the areas of Palm Beach Boulevard, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and U.S. 41


Community Development Block Grant – Economic Development Incentives

Provision of loans and grants to businesses and organizations to benefit low-to-moderate income residents through commercial rehabilitation, job creation, job retention, micro-enterprise development, job training, and small business loans.

Local Brownfields Program

  • City has 3 locally designated brownfields districts that qualify projects for State Brownfields Tax Credit incentive.
  • City uses EPA Brownfields Assessment and Clean-up grants to assist in the redevelopment of private and public properties.


Purchasing & Contracts

  • Local vendor preference for City businesses and continuing contract program.

Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (FMCRA)

  • 14 Redevelopment Districts designated in Fort Myers.
  • Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – Tax rebates available to return percentage of property taxes paid for redevelopment projects.
  • Landscape/Façade Matching Grant
  • Business Development Grant
  • Marketing assistance through website and downtown directory, ombudsman and technical assistance for redevelopment projects, and business property location assistance.
  • Fort Myers Film Commission – promotes film activity at City locations.
  • Enhanced Municipal Service Levels – Decorative lighting, promotional signage, parking, police patrols, and storm water credits.

Southwest Florida Enterprise Center (SWFEC)

  • Business incubator that provides leased space to entrepreneurs for office and warehouse needs. Tenants are provided business services for administrative services, meeting space, and technical assistance.
  • Entrepreneurial school is offered to individuals interested in developing a business plan and learning how to start a business.

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System

  • City CRS program participation reduces flood insurance rates for City businesses and residences by 15%.

Fire Department Service Level

  • City Fire service level provides a City-wide ISO rating of 3. The low rating is factored into commercial insurance policies to reduce rates for businesses and residences located within Fort Myers.
  • Enhanced fire services that provide incentive for commercial and industrial facilities to locate in Fort Myers include ladder truck service, technical rescue team, regional WMD primary response team, County hazardous material team, advanced life support service, and GPS closest unit response technology.

Harborside Event Center and Downtown Event Promotion

  • Harborside – riverfront event center for large conferences, trade gatherings, meeting space, and special event or product promotions.
  • – promotes events and downtown businesses.
  • Downtown Event Promotions – City provides $141,500 annually to promote 14 special events that attract over 250,000 visitors to Fort Myers annually.
  • Free day-visit and event dockage at Fort Myers Yacht Basin.
  • Out-parcels for convention hotel and restaurant/multi-use development adjacent to new water detention amenity site in the Downtown riverfront. Offsite storm water credits available with approval to reduce on-site design costs. The basin is designed to promote special event and economic activity.