In October, officials of Ocala, Fla., unveiled plans for the Ocala Business Park at Ocala International Airport/Jim Taylor Field. The 1,300-acre airport, relocated to its present location from downtown Ocala in the 1960s, was established with 600 acres set aside for future development of a business park, and municipal leaders say the future is now. The city has been improving the access roads and other infrastructure at the airport, and a control tower is expected to be commissioned at the non-tower field by the beginning of next year. The airport has been declared an Enterprise Zone, one of the few in the state located at an airport, and rent subsidies and grants are available to businesses that set up shop at the airport.
Also, businesses building there are exempt from the impact study process, which
can require a year and cost as much as $1 million, according to Ocala officials.
Ocala Business Park includes 121 acres of mixed-use commercial land, 444 acres of distribution-industrial land and 113 acres of flexible space that can be used for expansion of aviation operations or aviation- dependent businesses. To accommodate its growth, the city wants to lengthen the primary 7,400-foot runway to 8,400 feet, though that’s at least five years away.
But Ocala is taking a long-term view and estimates that over the next 25 years the airport could grow to provide 4,000 jobs.