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Punta Gorda Business Growth Opportunity at IMPAC University

Charlotte County Economic Development Office Looking to Acquire Site


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The former site of IMPAC University, located at 955 W. Retta Esplanade in Punta Gorda, has been vacant for some time, since owner and successful businessman James Irwin committed suicide in 2009.  The Charlotte County Economic Development Office and the Enterprise Charlotte Economic Council recently announced their plans to purchase the lavish 55,000 sq. ft. facility for $2.5 million, a sum far lower than the asking price when this piece of Punta Gorda real estate was on the market over a year ago. They plan to put in a business incubator for young professionals and retired business people looking for a soft spot to launch their business idea. The CCEDO and ECEC plan to pay for this property with the taxpayer’s money acquired from the sale of land to Cheney Brothers Distributing Inc. for the construction of a food distribution warehouse that would be the single largest creator of jobs in Charlotte County history.

A few steps must be taken before this plan is finalized, however. The contract for the purchase of the IMPAC University site is awaiting approval from the judge in charge of Mr. Irwin’s estate and also from the Charlotte County Commission. The zoning of the property must also be changed to allow a special exemption of having a business incubator in the facility. A special exemption can take up to 90 days to be approved by the city of Punta Gorda’s zoning department. The contract for the purchase of the facility would be delegated to Charlotte County, who would pay for the property with money from the sale of land to Cheney Brothers Distributing, Inc. Charlotte County would then lease the property back to the Enterprise Charlotte Economic Council for $1 a year, who would in turn rent out office spaces to fledgling companies. If all goes well, the purchase could be complete by the end of this year.

Check out our post on the latest Punta Gorda business growth opportunities and find out what businesses are coming to Charlotte County!

Do you think that this business incubator plan is the best option for the former IMPAC University site? Give us your opinion in the comments below.

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