The Hertz world headquarters is being built near the Rapallo community in Estero. / Andrew West/The News-Press
This is a view of the site near U.S. 41 & Williams Road in Estero where Hertz will be building its headquarters. / Terry Allen Williams/The News-Press
Help on the web
Southwest Florida Works and the Fort Myers Regional Partnership have launched a website to help assist family members of Hertz Global who will be relocating to Southwest Florida.
Any area businesses that might have a job opening and would consider looking for talent within the Hertz Family Relocation Assistance Program is asked to visit SWFLWorks.org and click on the Hertz Family Relocation Assistance Program portal.
They can also contact Peg Elmore at
Hertz Global Holdings is moving its world headquarters to Estero, where it will also have a showcase retail center. Hertz is also leasing temporary office space in North Naples. Some other facts:
• Founded: 1918 with a dozen Model T Fords.
• Stock: Trades on the New York Stock Exchange as HTZ. Its 52-week range is $10.22 to $27.75. The stock is trading near that high, closing Thursday at $26.86.
• Market capitalization: $10.75 billion.
• Advertising: “Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat” in the 1960s; O.J. Simpson racing through airports in the 1970s and 80s; and in the 1990s, catchy commercials featuring customers who were disappointed when they found out there is Hertz, "and there's not exactly."
The Hertz people are coming — and the builders and real estate agents who rent or sell near the company’s new world headquarters site in Estero are already feeling the effects.
The giant vehicle-rental company announced May 7 that it’s building a 300,000-square-foot office building at the southeast corner of Williams Road and U.S. 41. It has been in Park Ridge, N.J.
Now the intersection is ground zero for the Hertz employees who are already taking company-sponsored tours of the area.
“When we first heard, everyone started going crazy,” said Al Speech of Select Real Estate, who’s president of the Bonita-Estero Association of Realtors. “ ‘We’ve got 700 houses we can sell’ and so forth.”
The company said it is spending $50 million to build its headquarters and bringing at least 700 jobs paying an average salary of $102,000.
Hertz employees aren’t allowed to talk about their plans and they’re using the company’s relocation agent, Prudential Florida Realty, in their house hunting.
But agents representing sellers are already getting bites from Hertz employees, Speech said. “The day before yesterday I was at lunch at Chick-fil-A and there was a Realtor with a Hertz potential buyer.”
As they start to shop, the Hertz people are entering a market that has already seen a severe downturn starting in 2006 plus a slow recovery that’s just recently started to take off.
Even the downtrodden home rental market has turned around, Speech said. “I put one on the market three days ago, 1,950 square feet, three bedrooms. I’ve had 26 calls.”
So what will happen next with the Estero market as the market heats up?
Michael Timmerman, a Naples-based senior associate with Fishkind & Associates, an Orlando-based economic consulting firm, said that as the Hertz workers move in, “The demand for homes there will increase and that’ll have a positive effect on pricing.”
But, he said, “It’s not going to be 700 jobs on Day 1” when the new headquarters opens, and not everyone will be staying close by their new offices.
“They’ll be looking at a lot of different things other than how close it is to work,” Timmerman said, such as: “Where they are in their employment and life cycle, and obviously what their income will be.”
An employee making $100,000 a year, for example, could get an apartment in a Pelican Sound high rise or a condominium in Rapallo, which is adjacent to Hertz and well within walking distance.
At nearby Mirasol at Coconut Point, where builder D.R. Horton is putting up condominiums that start in the high $100,000s, the relocation is already being felt, said Jonathon Pentecost, Horton’s city manager for Southwest Florida.
But, he said, the long-term effect can’t be gauged yet. “We are happy to have already sold homes to Hertz employees, but it is still a little early to comment on the effect of Hertz in the local housing market.”
The total effect on the area won’t be known for years, Timmerman said: When a big company moves in, it’s likely followed by companies that provide products and services.
Christine Ross, president of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, said that for some employees, house hunting is part of a process to decide if they want to move here at all.
“People are happy with the variety of housing,” she said, but that’s not the whole story. “I think they’re also trying to decide if the move will be right for them.”
One big concern that’s emerging is “jobs for lagging spouses,” Ross said: they need a job here, but don’t work for Hertz.
The chamber has established an online job bank to match the new workers with suitable employment in this area, she said.
Speech said he doesn’t expect the newcomers to be tightly clustered in the communities around the headquarters, and that’s a good thing because of needs such as schools and where the spouse works.
For anyone from out of town, he said, “The first thing I do is take them into the office and show them this huge map. And I say, ‘It’s going to be more important to you later on that you live in the area you want to live in rather than the home itself.”
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