ESTERO, Fla.-Hertz announced Tuesday it will move its headquarters from New Jersey to Estero, putting the company in the heart of a key travel market.
Up to 700 jobs will shift to Southwest Florida over a two-year period. According to the company, more than 2,000 Hertz and Dollar Thrifty workers will stay in New Jersey, including about 150 employees from the current headquarters in Park Ridge. All other Park Ridge workers will keep their current positions at the new headquarters in Estero.
"Florida is the center of the U.S. travel and tourism industry," Hertz chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora said. "This move enables us to be closer to leisure and business customers, as well as many travel and association partners."
The new headquarters is scheduled to be completed by early 2015.
The local construction firm of Owen-Ames-Kimball has expressed interest. The company has built several headquarters, and is widely known in Fort Myers for its construction of Harborside Event Center.
"Being local is an important element. I think they'd be very well-served to go with a local firm, both for design and construction really. It would certainly make the process a lot smoother," President David Dale said.
Dale said the Hertz project could mean hundreds of local construction jobs.
Existing real estate in the Estero area could also get a boost. The developer of Rapallo at Coconut Point, a luxury home community near the Hertz site said the addition of a Fortune 500 company could increase property values and mean more permanent residents in an area that relies heavily on seasonal residents.
"It's going to mean maybe a little more waiting time at restaurants in the fall and in the summer," developer Jim Wallace said.