Haines City, the third-largest city in Polk County with just over 18,000 residents, is rapidly becoming a hub for medical services in eastern Polk County and western Osceola County.
Commercial properties along U.S. Highway 27, a major thoroughfare running north-south through Polk County, are enjoying a boom in construction and business, due in large part to Legoland
Florida's impending opening in October 2011. Haines City
is just north of Winter Haven
, where the new theme park will be located.
According to Allison Beeman, director of the Haines City Economic Development Council
, much of the growth along the Highway 27 corridor has been attributed to the medical industry, particularly the Regional Medical Complex located at 40100 US Highway 27.
"Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center
is the anchor of the complex, which is a five-story regional hospital with a fifth floor that will be completed by January 2012," says Beeman. Class-A Medical Office Building called MedEplex is currently under construction on a site immediately south of the hospital, and a full-service rehabilitation and fitness facility called "HealthPlex" is also under construction on the same site. And there are about 50 medical offices that have opened within a two-mile radius of Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center."
Beeman says Polk State College has purchased property that will house a Northeast Polk County Campus on the same property on which the Medical Office Building and a rehabilitation facility will be located.
The growth around Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center is related to a contract RERC Strategic Advisors proposed for Polk County
government, introducing an economic development strategy for the area. It identified the new $150 million Legoland Florida theme park, Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, high-speed rail, the CSX Multi-Modal Center and the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex as the major cornerstones of a regional strategy for the corridor.
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Allison Beeman, Haines City EDC