As far as Hancock Bank Tallahassee Market President Emory Mayfield is concerned, the economic stars are aligning in a very positive way.
“I think we’re looking very strong in the Tallahassee market just as we are nationally,” he asserted, right after assessing the recent fractional hike in the Federal Reserve’s short-term interest rates as “a good thing.” “The economy is growing, we see consumers spending, unemployment is extremely low, housing prices continue to rise. Of course, the financial markets are wide open.”
What specific local developments does Mayfield think are most indicative of that upward trend?
“We’re seeing medical practices and construction companies that are buying new property and equipment. We are seeing locally owned businesses buy larger facilities in order to facilitate growth. We are seeing businesses looking to acquire other companies in an effort to fuel their growth and we’re seeing existing businesses looking to expand into other markets.”
Of course, there’s one component of the Capital City economy that seems to be expanding faster than just about any other; namely, the explosion of rental property construction, both in the Collegetown area around Gaines and Madison streets and elsewhere. Mayfield admits there’s reason for at least some concern there could be a bubble a-brewin’.
“I think as a banker you always have a little bit of fear, but I see lots of promising signs and I see a very healthy economy and as long as we continue to grow responsibly, then I see continued success for our area.”
Mayfield added his best advice is to temper the area’s enthusiasm for growth with a bit of caution.
“I do think that we need to be prudent in how we grow. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of 10 years ago. But I see all kinds of investment going on.”
Investment that ultimately he said would mean more private sector jobs for a city that has relied so heavily and so long on the public sector for its bread and butter.