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MAITLAND, FL-Locally based CED Cos., has hired Marketplace Advisors Inc. to identify development opportunities in mixed-use town centers and main street redevelopment projects throughout Florida. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed.

David W. Marks, president of Marketplace Advisors, tells GlobeSt.com his firm will especially be looking for sites that could be developed or redeveloped for lower-cost, work-force housing. He calls that residential category “a vital economic component that is often overlooked by community planners.”

Marks says demand for quality work-force housing in Florida is “high and growing.” If that demand isn’t met, “I think it’s going to create some real problems for the economy,” the former Trammell Crow Co. vice president says.

“Lifestyle and cost of living are two of the principal engines that drive Florida’s growth industry,” Marks tells GlobeSt.com. “People want to move to Central Florida because it costs less to live well here than in Cleveland, for example. Growth demands, especially here in Florida, have driven the cost of home ownership out of the practical reach of low-income working families, but low-income working families are one of the big reasons why it costs less to live well in Florida.”

The consultant adds, “Florida’s economy is largely service-based. If we want to continue to reap the benefits of a lower cost of living and a better lifestyle, we need to look for ways to provide adequate housing for the people who work in our restaurants and retail stores.

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