After months of speculation and political theater, Arthrex recently announced it would expand in both Collier and Lee counties.
The Naples-based manufacturer of arthroscopic and orthopedic surgical equipment says it will build a new facility on Oil Well Road in eastern Collier County and buy a warehouse near Daniels Parkway in Lee County, spending $35 million on the effort.
Collier economic development boosters must be breathing a sigh of relief, even though they lost out on the warehouse and distribution facility to Lee County. The news could have been much worse for Collier because Arthrex is one of the largest companies on the Gulf Coast with $970 million in revenues in 2010 and more than 1,500 employees.
Arthrex Founder Reinhold Schmieding suggested he might expand his company outside of Collier after being slighted by Naples politicians and industry recruiters who tried unsuccessfully to recruit The Jackson Laboratory of Maine with $240 million in state and local incentives last year. Lee was widely considered among the top prospects for the Arthrex expansion after Schmieding opposed the Jackson Laboratory subsidy.
In the end, it appears that Collier’s industry recruiters persuaded Schmieding to stay in the Naples area, particularly after Jackson Laboratory abandoned its efforts here. It helped too that Barron Collier Companies donated 21 acres for the expansion.