From the CEO

New developments in Palmetto will attract business investment, diversify tax base | Indicators

By Sharon Hillstrom -

Special to the Herald-Tribune

October 30, 2023

Private and public sector investments are stimulating new momentum in Palmetto on the north side of the Manatee River. A new hotel and convention center expansion to the east, improvements at a marina to the west, transportation improvements, and a major city park are catalysts to revitalize the city’s riverfront and downtown.

Already a popular event venue, the renovation and expansion of the Bradenton Area Convention Center at U.S. 301 and Haben Boulevard will expand the facility’s meeting and banquet capacity, add two outdoor event spaces, and connect the convention center to the new Palmetto Marriott. The eight-story hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2024, will include 252 sleeping rooms, a rooftop lounge, a full-service spa, a ballroom, and outdoor special event flex space.

The long-awaited combination of an expanded convention center with a flagship hotel will provide opportunities to host larger and more varied events. The expanded convention center is expected to generate an economic impact of $25 million annually, according to the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The city is improving the connection from the convention center property to the west, where Palmetto’s downtown commercial district is located. A fully functional traffic signal at U.S. 301 and Seventh Street West will allow safe and easy access to and from the hotel and convention center.

Two blocks south of Seventh Street, between U.S. 301 and Business 41/Eighth Avenue West, is the new Connor Park, which is part of the city’s trail system. Located at 505 Fifth St. W., this lovely park is filled with over 600 plants native to Florida. The park’s 51 acres are designed to filter stormwater before potentially harmful runoff reaches the Manatee River.

Further west along the riverfront is Safe Harbor Regatta Pointe marina. The city-owned property has been operated since 2019 under a multiyear lease with Safe Harbor Marinas. Safe Harbor took over day-to-day operation of the facility, including the marina and substantial upland commercial components of the property. With two full-service restaurants, a fuel dock, a ship’s store, a member pool, and many complimentary commercial tenants, Safe Harbor Regatta Pointe brings together upscale Florida casual amenities with breathtaking views of the Manatee River.

By the end of 2023, Safe Harbor Marinas will have invested over $8 million dollars in capital improvements, according to Matt Albert, vice president of construction for the company. These enhancements have increased community access to the commercial tenants, improved the overall marina member experience, and continue to position Safe Harbor Regatta Pointe as one of the premier destinations on the Manatee River.

Throughout Palmetto you can see evidence of investments from city, county, state, and federal funding sources, along with private investment. According to Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, “Our City Commission and staff have worked hard to determine what projects are most appropriate for various locations. We listen to the diverse voices of city residents, respond to and incentivize market interest from private sector investors and developers, and pursue grants from state and federal programs. Ultimately, we proceed with what is best for the city as a whole.”

The city’s efforts are helping to stimulate more business investment, which is key to creating a more robust tax base to fund necessary infrastructure and services, instead of relying so heavily on residential property taxes.

Said Albert, “Safe Harbor is proud to be partnered with the city of Palmetto. We understand our investment in the marina attracts other upland commercial investment in the area. As John F. Kennedy popularized, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ Economic prosperity in the Palmetto downtown and riverfront area benefits all members of the community.”

Positive change is coming to the city of Palmetto, and we’re glad to see it. We believe the city, its residents, and private sector investors can maintain the charm of this riverfront gem while enhancing the city as a place where people want to live, work, and play − now and for future generations.

Sharon Hillstrom is president and chief executive officer of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (BradentonAreaEDC.com). She may be contacted at info@bradentonareaedc.com or 803-9036.

2024 Economic Forecast Presentation

2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 1
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 2
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 3
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 4
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 5
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 6
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 7
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 8
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 9
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 10
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 11
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 12
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 13
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 14
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 15
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 16
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 17
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 18
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 19
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 20
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 21
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 22
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 23
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 24
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 25
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 26
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 27
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 28
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 29
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 30
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 31
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 32
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 33
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 34
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 35
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 36
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 37
2024 Economic Forecast - Slide 38
Slide1
Slide2
Slide3
Slide4
Slide5
Slide6
Slide7
Slide8
Slide9
Slide10
Slide11
Slide12
Slide13
Slide14
Slide15
Slide16
Slide17
Slide18
Slide19
Slide20
Slide21
Slide22
Slide23
Slide24
Slide25
Slide26
Slide27
Slide28
Slide29
Slide30
Slide31
Slide32
Slide33
Slide34
Slide36
Slide35
Slide37
Slide38
previous arrow
next arrow
Slide1
Slide2
Slide3
Slide4
Slide5
Slide6
Slide7
Slide8
Slide9
Slide10
Slide11
Slide12
Slide13
Slide14
Slide15
Slide16
Slide17
Slide18
Slide19
Slide20
Slide21
Slide22
Slide23
Slide24
Slide25
Slide26
Slide27
Slide28
Slide29
Slide30
Slide31
Slide32
Slide33
Slide34
Slide36
Slide35
Slide37
Slide38
previous arrow
next arrow

Contact Lauren

Lauren Kratsch

Lauren Kratsch

Senior Director Business Relations

Assistance for Local Companies Seeking to Export

Getting started and overcoming obstacles – The EDC’s partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service will help your business start off on the right foot. If you already are frustrated by previous attempts to export, the EDC and its partners will help you get on track.

Expanding your markets – Working with Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, we assist local businesses connect with state-sponsored trade missions to foreign countries. Looking to ship by sea? The EDC experts at Port Manatee provide advice and access to global business relationships.

Grants and financing – Federal and state programs may be available to help reduce the cost of exporting your goods or services.

Assistance for Foreign-Based Companies

Our sophisticated approach to business recruitment is underpinned by our innate desire to provide essential services to companies entering the U.S. market. Because fostering a diverse business climate and community is important to our mission, we believe no question or ask is too big or too small. Below is a quick snapshot of the services and assets.