When the state of Florida and Lee County announced they had lured Hertz to move its corporate headquarters to Estero in 2013, they surely didn’t know they were getting two companies for the price of one.
HercRentals, an equipment and heavy machinery rental company, was spun off from the rental car giant earlier this year as its own publicly traded firm.
“We are the third largest rental company in the world, and we are proud to say that our operations are based here in Bonita Springs,” CEO Larry Silber said. “Bonita Springs will play a vital role in our future.”
Governor Rick Scott visited the company’s field operations center – they don’t call it a headquarters – on Thursday.
“We don’t call it an executive headquarters because our executives are just overhead,” Silber joked. “So everybody you see here are really here to support our 280 branches.”
In 2014, when Hertz moved to Estero, the equipment division had 42 employees come with it. Today, HercRentals employs 460 people in Florida, 220 of them in their Bonita Springs office, and plan to add another 40 to 60 next year.
“More than 450 Floridians have found great jobs thanks to HercRentals’ decision to invest in our state,” Scott said. “I look forward to their continued success in Florida.”
The governor has been pushing the state legislature for more support on bringing companies like Hertz to Florida through state incentive programs. The deal that brought Hertz from New Jersey saw the company get a total of $19 million in incentives and tax breaks, $4.4 million of it from Lee County.
During this year’s legislative session, the legislature rebuffed Scott’s request for $250 million to fund Enterprise Florida, the vehicle through which many of these deals have been completed.
At an Enterprise Florida board meeting in September, Scott said the organization would simplify its focus, and that he would ask for $85 million when the 2017 session begins in March.
While at the event, Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman announced a decision this week by the county to remove a filing fee charged to contractors for getting their state contractors’ licenses on file with the county.
“Get this, they spent hundreds of dollars to prove their competence to the state to work as a builder, plumber, or electrician anywhere in the state,” Hamman said. “Then they come to Lee County and we charge you a $25 fee just to file your state license away.”
Herc’s expansion in Bonita Springs has been part of a strong growth period in Bonita Springs. Mayor Peter Simmons said Thursday that the city has seen commercial space more than double, rising by 132 percent since 2014, and employment inside city limits increase by 107 percent.
The state’s jobs report is set to release later this morning.
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