- February 4, 2021
As Southwest Florida’s economy has recovered from the mid-2000s housing crisis and blossomed into one of the most robust markets in the U.S., one real estate developer in particular has tailored its services to meet a growing demand for space.
Since its formation in 2015, Seagate Development Group has emerged as one of the most active builders in Lee and Collier counties, with a handful of current projects valued at roughly $100 million.
The Fort Myers-based company’s current pipeline includes a new 150,000-square-foot global headquarters for cancer researcher NeoGenomics Inc. and a 60,000-square-foot North American headquarters for distributor Scotlynn USA.
At the same time, Seagate also is constructing a 35,000-square-foot distribution center and office on behalf of Rice Insulation & Glass; a 45,000-square-foot warehouse for White Cap Construction Supply; and a large project connected to EmCyte's 30,000-square-foot headquarters.
And while Seagate has been focused on build-to-suit projects, the company also has gotten increasingly into more speculative, ground-up development.
Rice Insulation’s four-acre project, for instance, kicked off the 40-acre Alico Trade Center business park Seagate is developing.
“There’s not a lot of space on the market here, and since people generally have an optimistic view of Southwest Florida and where the region’s economy is going, they’re investing in their own real estate,” says Matt Price, a Seagate co-founder, principal and its CEO.
To streamline its development process and meet customer needs, Seagate has also brought design and some engineering services in-house. Price says accentuating “design-build” services alleviates owner stress and reduces the number of parties involved in a project.
Seagate is developing both NeoGenomics’ $60 million headquarters, White Cap’s project and Rice Insulation’s building as design-build projects.
“It takes a lot of the onus off the owner, and provides them with one point of contact,” Price says. “The building process is typically fairly stressful for any company, so to an extent, it relieves that pressure from them.
“Some companies aren’t able to manage the development process in-house, and others just aren’t comfortable doing so,” he adds. “They’d rather focus on their own business, understandably. We’re finding that in today’s world, as companies are increasingly busy, having a reliable team in place for their real estate projects is becoming more and more valuable.”
Price acknowledges that being a “one-stop shop” also has advantages — financial and otherwise — for Seagate, as well.
“When we handle the interests of all the parties, we can better make sure that everyone is pointing in the same direction,” Price says. “We’re pretty good at solving problems for people.”
In addition to its current slate of projects, Seagate has also completed development and redevelopment projects for Gartner Inc., Conditioned Air, Emcyte, Terrasmart, Comcast and others, according to the company’s website.
'When we handle the interests of all the parties, we can better make sure that everyone is pointing in the same direction. We’re pretty good at solving problems for people.' Matt Price, Seagate
Price believes the secret to the company’s success lies both in the results it’s generated but also in the corporate culture that Seagate has adhered to over the past six years.
“In a tertiary market like ours, it’s important to do the right thing all the time,” Price says. “That’s been our staple from the beginning. We try to be straight up with everyone and we think people respect that. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, so if someone, asks one of our clients if they trust Seagate, we hope the answer is yes based on our performance.”
Going forward, Seagate expects to complete the projects in its current pipeline — both Scotlynn and NeoGenomics are close to obtaining their certificates of occupancy — and add businesses to the Alico Trade Center.
Price says Seagate is currently negotiating with six potential users that would take down about half of the remaining acreage in the business park, or about 18 acres.
To expedite the process, Seagate has tapped commercial real estate brokerage firm Lee & Associates’ Fort Myers office to help find future tenants.
Price says the company also is eyeing projects in Charlotte County, to the north of its home base, as a potential territory to develop in.
If or when that occurs, Price says Seagate will carry with it the same values that have propelled the company in Lee and Collier counties.
“Results are certainly important, but how you treat people, to us, is equally important.”
(This story was updated to reflect the correct spelling of Scotlynn, how many years Seagate has been in business and the project it's working on for EmCyte.)