Central Florida farmers pull up roots to make room for massive warehouses

by Florida Properties Group on 10/6/2021

Small farms edged out of prime real estate by larger warehouses

Ken Suarez, FOX 13 News
LAKELAND, Fla. – There is a flurry of activity right now at Mid Florida Nursery, which sits on the Polk-Hillsborough County line. Every day, workers are loading ornamental plants, trees, and shrubs on trucks.

After being in the same location on County Line Road for years, the nursery is relocating to Polk City where land is cheaper. That is going to allow the nursery to quadruple in size.

There is another reason for the big move. The owners, the Rumph family, saw the writing on the wall.

“Our neighbors just built a 500,000-square-foot distribution center next door,” explained Chris Rumph, whose parents built the nursery from the ground up. “Not long after that, we started to get some phone calls and decided to move.”

They, like many of their neighbors, got an offer from developers that was hard to refuse. The developers plan to build another distribution center.

They are popping up almost elbow to elbow along County Line Road.

“Having land near I-4 is like having beachfront property,” said Ashley Cheek of the Lakeland Economic Development Council. “That property will just become more valuable for companies who want to relocate to Central Florida.”

A lot are. Polk County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the entire country.

County Line Road is a choice spot for many big businesses because it is sandwiched between I-4 and State Road 60, two main arteries in the state.

It is also literally right around the corner from Lakeland Linder International Airport, so companies can ship goods in and out easily.

Mega companies such as Amazon and Home Depot have taken note and have set up sprawling operations on County Line.

Cheek says as more heavy-hitter businesses set down roots on County Line, other big businesses will catch the buzz, and presumably do the same.