Arthrex Inc. is moving forward with major expansions in both Collier and Lee counties, signaling commitment to its home base in Naples but also a need for proximity to Southwest Florida International Airport.
The medical device manufacturer, which recently has been at the center of controversy over economic development in Collier, will build a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing plant on 21 acres on Oil Well Road in Ave Maria. The company this past spring had announced it intended to do the expansion at Ave Maria and was working through issues. Barron Collier Cos. is donating the land to Arthrex.
In addition, the company is purchasing a 240,000-square-foot building on Daniels Parkway which will be renovated to become a centralized warehouse for the packaging and distribution of products to national and global customers. The new consolidated warehouse is in proximity to the international airport for ease in shipping, according to a company announcement.
“Consolidation of our packaging and distribution services will provide new space in our existing Collier County manufacturing facilities for expanding high tech design and production capacity for new surgical device innovations,” Reinhold Schmieding, Arthrex president and founder, said in a statement.
The projects represent a $35 million investment to the Southwest Florida market with an overall projected economic impact that exceeds $1 billion a year by 2016 to the state and national economy.
Based on earlier estimates, the Oil Well plant will create 150 new high-wage jobs that will be part of hundreds of other new jobs that will be created over the next three to five years.
Arthrex also remains committed to expanding its medical education capacity at its Creekside Boulevard campus in North Naples, which was part of an application for $2.2 million in economic incentives approved by the Collier County Commission in late June. Arthrex on Friday did not specify when that part of the project would move forward.
“The fact they are going to Ave Maria opens a whole new plan out there,” said Commissioner Jim Coletta, whose district includes Ave Maria. He learned a few days ago that Arthrex was moving forward at the Oil Well Road location and of its plans on Daniels Parkway.
“That gives them a little edge with shipping. The Creekside operation will expand. It’s just a matter of when.”
Commissioner Georgia Hiller, whose district includes North Naples, had cast the sole vote against the economic incentives for Arthrex, which put the Oil Well project in jeopardy for Lee County. She said Arthrex’s application for the incentives contained a falsehood because it did not disclose pending legal action, that the company did not own the Oil Well land and other issues.
Shortly afterward in an open letter to the Daily News, Schmieding called on Hiller to start representing the best interests of the community or resign.
Hiller could not be reached immediately for comment Friday on the company’s announcement.