Hertz Corp. has its headquarters in Park Ridge, N.J. The company is moving its headquarters to Estero. / Peter Carr/The Journal News
Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- Rental
car giant Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is building a showcase world
headquarters in Estero - a Tuscan-style 300,000-square-foot office
building with car rental and sales operations.
Hertz CEO Mark P. Frissora
told The News-Press in an exclusive interview Monday that after a
rigorous nine-month selection process, "It was kind of an easy decision:
Everything pointed to Lee County."
In exchange for approximately $19 million in economic stimulus money from Lee County, the state and FPL, Hertz will
relocate from its present headquarters in Park Ridge, N.J., spending
$50 million to build its headquarters and bringing at least 700 jobs
paying an average $102,000.
officials hammered out the agreement with the Lee County Economic
Development Office and Enterprise Florida, a public/private organization
that helps facilitate corporate investment in the state.
The headquarters building will go on 34 acres that Hertz has the option to buy at the northeast corner of U.S. 41 and Williams Road, Frissora said.
is a major victory for our state," Gov. Rick Scott told The News-Press
in an exclusive interview. "What happened just reinforces this state is a
great place to do business. Lee County is a great place to do
said that although he and Scott have homes in Naples, they didn't know
each other before the negotiations for the relocation began and the
headquarters' proximity wasn't a factor.
could be further from the truth," Frissora said. "I certainly have the
money to buy a condo in Miami and anywhere else."
More to the point, he said, was Southwest Florida's workforce, prospects for growth and major tourist and airline industries.
Also important to the decision, Frissora said, was that Hertz is in expansion mode - having merged last year with Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
was a quality-of-life issue, he said: Getting talented Dollar Thrifty
workers to relocate to New Jersey would have been a tough pitch. As many
as 120 Tulsa employees may move here, and possibly some from European
operations in locations such as Dublin, Ireland.
said he uses the state's charms in his tireless efforts to bring jobs
here. "I sort of tell everybody, 'Why in daylights wouldn't you live in
our great state?'"
helpful that a lot of CEOs have places in Naples, he said, but really
it's a matter of staying focused on the task. "I make these cold calls
on CEOs all the time and every once in awhile they pay off big."
that the decision to move here has been made, Frissora said, the
complicated logistics of transitioning to the new location begin.
officials are looking at three potential locations for a temporary home
while the permanent one in Estero is built. "I'm trying to find
something halfway economical," he said.
of those is the old Gartner Inc. building in Gateway, vacant since
Gartner moved out of the 63,200-square-foot facility last year and the
subject of a foreclosure lawsuit filed last week by Wells Fargo Bank
against owner Lexington Fort Meyers LP.
By the first or second quarter of next year, the temporary headquarters should be housing about 200 employees, Frissora said.
Hertz is hard at work creating an ambitious new headquarters complex
that will include car leasing and sales operations.
will allow the company to tweak the way it does business, Frissora
said. "It'll allow us to experiment," perhaps with the leasing of
Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
builder hasn't been chosen, but he said the plan is for a Tuscan-style
building that will fit in with its neighbors. "I don't think they wanted
to have some big concrete and glass palace that would stand out as some
kind of clumsy albatross."