FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

Home > Business > Economic Development

They say change is inevitable, and in Winter Haven change is not only certain but celebrated! This is best represented by the community’s most recent economic development additions of LEGOLAND Florida and the CSX Integrated Logistics Center.

Seven months after the opening of Florida’s newest theme park, LEGOLAND Florida, unveiled its first major expansion – LEGOLAND Water Park providing 200 additional jobs. LEGOLAND Florida has become one of the City’s largest employers with more than 1,200 employees, which will increase as it continues constructing its first themed LEGOLAND Hotel on the property.

The Central Florida Intermodal Terminal Facility opened in April 2014 and is in full swing.  At build-out, the the Integrated Logistics Center will create 8,000 new jobs and more than 5 million square feet of development.

So the obvious question…why Winter Haven?  Why did these projects – each being an economic development home run - end up in a community of 36,000 people in Central Florida?  The short answer is synergy - the combined benefits of location, infrastructure and a business-friendly environment. 

In addition, a renewed partnership between the City and the business community was born with the creation of the Winter Haven Economic Development Council.  We encourage you to visit the Council’s new website at

See for yourself what makes Winter Haven so special.  We invite you to put our team to the test.


(July 2014)

The tracks in Winter Haven continue to be laid for a robust future as the Central Florida Intermodal Logistic Center economic engine continues to shape Winter Haven into THE hub of logistics activity. City Manager Deric C. Feacher completed the City’s obligation by signing Closing Statements June 30, 2014 to sell 532 acres (Parcel 2A) of City property to the GEM Development Team for the construction of an Integrated Logistics Center (ILC).  The final closing was July 2, 2014 when the buyer completed the process by signing final closing documents. The property, which is adjacent to the Intermodal Logistic Center in southeast Winter Haven, was sold for $8.516 million, and construction begun in January 2015 on a 407,400 square foot building. Zoning for this property allows for construction of about 8 million square feet of warehousing. Parcel 2B, which includes the remaining 400 acres is anticipated to be purchased in about 18 to 24 months, once required mitigation of wetland impacts are finalized as indicated in a Section 404 permit of the Clean Water Act.  City Manager Feacher commented, “The City is looking forward to a long-term productive partnership with the Development Team and the companies this project will attract.”

Michael Mullen with the GEM Development Team said the location and population within the Central Florida region are keys for success of the ILC project. "The demographics here were some of the best I have ever seen anywhere in the country," Mullen said.  "I've done very large logistics parks like this before and they typically resulted in thousands of new jobs. I'm definitely a believer or we wouldn't be making this investment."

Winter Haven City Manager Feacher also stated, "This is the beginning of a new future for Winter Haven, Polk County and the State of Florida.  A strong economy is the goal of every community.  By combining the state-of-the-art Central Florida Intermodal Logistic Center and a high-tech Integrated Logistics Center in a planned location, the state is now set for significant impact and opportunity in this region. The special way of life our residents already enjoy will be improved through an increase in high paying jobs establishing Winter Haven as a prominent location for enhanced business, tourism, and quality living.  It's a great time to live in Winter Haven, Florida where our enriched and diverse opportunities paired with our unlimited potential serve as a benchmark for others to emulate."

City of Winter Haven Construction Projects

For a list of construction projects that the City is working on, please click here.

Brownfield Area

With the passage of the Brownfield Redevelopment Act in 1997, Florida established a model for overcoming the barriers to brownfield redevelopment. The Act was created to enable the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and other regulatory agencies to assist in the reduction of public health and environmental hazards and to incentivize the reuse of these lands.

The designation of a brownfield area allows for certain state and federal economic incentives.

  • $2,500 per job corporate income tax credit.
  • 50% state loan guarantees for primary lenders for site rehabilitation and development costs.
  • sales tax credit for building material purchases.
  • 50% voluntary cleanup tax credit applied against Florida corporate tax.

The designated area location in the City of Winter Haven is located west of US Highway 17, east of Lake Shipp, and south of Avenue R, SW.  The area is approximately 20 acres.  Click here to view map of the area.

Core Improvement Area

Resolution R-07-30, adopted by the City Commission on July 9, 2007, established the Core Improvement Area within the City of Winter Haven and approved an inter-local agreement between the City and Polk County providing for the waiver of certain impact fees.   The core improvement area:

  • Consists of 1,505 acres
  • Consists of approximately 3,774 parcels or 25.5% of the total parcels in the City.

To view Resolution R-07-30, please click here.

To view a map of the Core Improvement Area, please click here.

Enterprise Zone

An Enterprise Zone is a specific geographic area targeted for economic revitalization.  Enterprise Zones encourage investment and economic growth in distressed areas by offering tax advantages and incentives to business locating or expanding with the zone boundaries.  Winter Haven's Enterprise Zone was established in 2012 and contains 2,283± acres and approximately 15,808 residents.  The Winter Haven Enterprise Zone encompasses all of the downtown area as well as several surrounding neighborhoods and includes the main north-south commercial corridors through the City.

The local incentives include, but are not limited to:

  • Fast track permitting and site plan review.
  • Business Tax Receipt fees reduction.
  • Impact fee waivers and reduction.

To view a map of the Enterprise Zone, please click here.

Business Tax Receipts

Below is a list of some of the businesses that have recently received a Business Tax Receipt in the City:

Name Type Address

Sal's Garage - car lot


101 E Central Avenue

Who's Next Auto Detail Automotive 100 E Central Avenue

Elite Fitness Gym


6296 Cypress Gardens Blvd

Kinann M. Grocery Store and More Retail 1428 1st Street North
Spa G & Boutique Service

144 Avenue B SW


Below is a list of some of the commercial projects that have been approved, are under development, and/or were recently completed within the City limits of Winter Haven. 

Approx. No. of Employees
Chipotle/Aspen Dental 802/804 Cypress Gardens Boulevard          0.80
Zaxbys 7450 Cypress Gardens Blvd          1.45
NE corner US Hwy 17 & Avenue O, SW

Legoland Ice Cream Parlor

1 Legoland Way

Winter Haven Integrated Logistics Center

Logistics Parkway
Humane Society 3195 Dundee Road          4.7  
O'Reilly Auto Parts 2020 US Highway 17 North           1.25  

Economic Development Plan:

Creation of the City's Economic Development Plan is complete! 

Click here for the Winter Haven Economic Development Action Plan August 8, 2011

At a City Commission meeting held February 16, 2011, additional input from the City's elected officials was gathered.  Take a look at the PowerPoint presentation from the meeting: Economic Development Presentation - City Commission Meeting_2.16.2011

Presentation to the City Commission on May 9, 2011 Target Industry Analysis Presentation

Presentation to the City Commission on April 11, 2011 Economic Development Presentation City Commission Meeting 4.11.11.  Document to be presented to the City Commission on June 13, 2011 Economic Development Assessment Document CC Meeting 06.13.2011

The Landings Economic Impact Analysis, by Gordon Kettle, Economics instructor, Polk State College and Webster University

For more information, contact 291-5600.







Merle Bishop

Growth Management Director

Winter Haven City Hall

451 Third Street NW
Winter Haven, Florida 33881
Phone: (863) 291-5600




City Hall:  451 Third St. NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881    tel: (863) 291-5600


© 2014 City of Winter Haven, Florida.disclaimer | site usage policy | contact us